Yesterday, Jon started things off on a high note giving a Cocktail Party Preview of Indiana, thus giving us the unofficial kickoff of full football coverage here at Off Tackle Empire. One of the newer elements to B1G 2012 is the Smartest Guys in The Room. We will be breaking down the Head Coaches, coordinators, and interesting coaches in the conference. Our goal is to answer questions about their backgrounds and try to figure out how they got here. We'll dive into what makes them tick? How are they qualified? Are any of them going to turn into an OTE Meme? By answering these questions and filling you in with some information, hopefully all of us will have a bigger picture of who the men on the sidelines are and why we should care.
Today we will be starting with Kevin Wilson and his Merry Men. While Indiana's recent coaching tree has not really fired up the fanbase like the Hoosier Administration would have liked, it's hard not to appreciate what Wilson is trying to do. Whether or not it will work is up for debate, but after researching this guy, it seems like he's going to at least try and make a run of it.
The Head Coach - Kevin Wilson
With one year under his belt, Kevin Wilson is best described as a work in progress. Coming to Indiana via OC stops at both Oklahoma and Northwestern, Wilson seemed to be a high profile hire by the preeminent cellar dweller Hoosiers. Unfortunately for Wilson, his high flying, fast-paced, acrobatic spread offense made famous by Sam Bradford and others did not turn into a lot of wins for the Indiana Hoosiers last year... and by not a lot of wins, I mean one win... total - a tough win against the mighty Bulldogs of South Carolina State. They're in the MEAC in the FCS, so there's that.
Still, it would be unfair to look at his coaching job last year without giving his entire body of work some credit. Wilson is an Offensive Mastermind. Under both the late great Randy Walker and Big Game Bob Stoops, Wilson was allowed to create and proliferate the spread offense into a dynamite weapon. Wilson had 22 draftees at Oklahoma of which two were Top 5, and he definitely was a big part of Oklahoma's run of dominance in the Big XII and nationally. He uses complex WR formations and he blends the Read Option with Vertical Passing. Needless to say, his coaching pedigree is solid, and after winning the 2008 Broyles Award for best assistant, it was only a matter of time before somebody picked him up. With a solid understanding of B1G football, Indiana seemed to be a good move, but as mentioned before... well, this year should be better.
But the question still remains, was Indiana a good move? Following his nominations and win for the Broyles Award, Wilson was highly sought after. He probably could have any job he wanted if he waited. With that in mind, he was pulling in close to $400k at Oklahoma, and was poised to either take over a great job or at least have the means to make a run at a school that was once prominent. Instead, he took Indiana. Now, I mean no ill will to our brethren in Bloomington, but even as a newcomer, I understand that Indiana football is not a destination school. It would be like Nebraska in basketball, only potentially in worst shape because at least Nebraska has money to pretend to spend on basketball.
On the other hand, from every article you read and interview you listen to, Wilson seems to be the man for the job. Sure, he might be kind of a punk (nicest possible word here), and he might not really have a lot of friends in the media (understatement). Oh, and of course there's that whole weird thing where he took his staff to the WWE for a night, but I have to admit, doing research on Kevin R. (no idea what that stands for) Wilson makes me appreciate his fire. He seems to really be a product of his mentors, and he really enjoys wide open football. Also, he's pretty damn good at coaching spread offenses that will confuse the crap out of an opponent, so long as he brings in the right athletes which I think he's on the path to doing. While we joke around about his short leash at Indiana, that isn't really even fair to bring up. Wilson deserves time considering what he walked into, and I believe that he has the smarts (and team of coaches) to do something fun in Indiana... like win a game against a FBS school.
"I don't like being on hold while guys crack jokes about our program."
This was such a weird story. Apparently some sports show was ripping on Indiana with him on the phone. He didn't like it and took the chance to tear into them and hang up. They might not have liked it, but he certainly endeared himself to the team and fans.I like the fire it took to go out there and rip into the local guys. Great work. If you don't know the story, you can find a linky here.
Coach Wilson loves shortening his 'Great' to 'GR8'. This might be the most obnoxious twitter trend of all the coaches.
Gr8 Work Yesterday. Gonna Scrimmage Tom @ 11. Open Practice. Westside Stadium Gates Will be Open. Come Check It Out!!Go Hoosiers!!— Kevin Wilson (@IUCoachWilson) March 30, 2012
The Name Game
When you Google Kevin Wilson, there are over 10.6 Million results. The first is an author who wrote a book called, "The Family Fang," which the NY Times says, "packs a wallop."
Normally there are only two of these at a school. Indiana is a little different and decided to split duties at both the Offensive and Defensive Coordinator position.
Seth Littrell - Offensive Coordinator
Came to Indiana via Kansas, Texas Tech (under Leach), and Arizona. Known for helping to proliferate the spread offense. Do we have a trend here? Seriously, though, this guy is good. Indiana basically got a coup in getting a guy who gave Leach a running game and Brother Stoops in AZ a passing game.
Twitter: Yeah, he doesn't seem to have an account. That's lame. How is he going to keep up with Gunner... oh, that's right.
Unresearched O/U on years it will take to be a head coach: 4.5
Kevin Johns - Co-Offensive Coordinator
Via Northwestern, Johns is the QB coach for Wilson. I really couldn't find a lot more information, but I know that it helps that he was a holdover from the last staff. I did see that he has a Bachelor's in Mathematics, which I appreciate because there is no way I could have done that without literally going crazy. So, good for him, right?
Twitter: If he did, he definitely would wax poetic about the beauty of Bloomington.... He also believes Chicago is a big city.
Unresearched O/U on years it will take to be a head coach: 9.5
Mike Ekeler - Co-Defensive Coordinator
Via Oklahoma, LSU, and Nebraska, Ekeler has the background to be feisty with his defenses. According to Wikipedia, Ekeler, as a player, was the only K-State player to be named captain by Bill Snyder. Also, I miss Mike. Come back to Nebraska... You were a great fit and could have been Defensive Coordinator this year. I trust Papuchis, but you were the man. Oh, um... I just got a little carried away there.
Twitter: What is with these guys? Don't you know that 16-22 year old people only talk on the Twitters? GET WITH THE TIMES!!!
Unresearched O/U on years it will take to be a head coach: 6.5
Doug Mallory - Co-Defensive Coordinator
Via a bunch of places including LSU, Doug Mallory is actually a journeyman. He did start his coaching career back in 1988 with the Hoosiers, went to Army, Western Kentucky, Indiana, Maryland, Oklahoma State, LSU and New Mexico, and is back. He's a Michigan graduate, and he really knows the lay of the land. His secondaries at LSU were one of the linchpins for their run of successes in the late 00's.
Twitter: @TheHoosiersDougMallory (not really) (seriously, this is lame that no one has Twitter)
Unresearched O/U on years it will take to be a head coach: At this point, he seems poised to be an assistant for life.
All pictures of the coaches are from www.iuhoosiers.com. Apparently they decided a yearbook approach would be an endearing way to introduce you to their coaches. I mean, anytime you can use an awkward JCPenny's style background, you take that opportunity, right?
TUESDAY | Coaching Expose
WEDNESDAY | Hoosier State Potluck
THURSDAY | Indiana's Path to Six Wins
FRIDAY | Keeping the Enemy Close