Preview 2017: Kevin Wilson Left Indiana Loaded For Tom Allen
There were a lot of problems with what happened in the Kevin Wilson era, but he cranked up a loaded team.
No one’s saying there was anything good about the way the Kevin Wilson era ended, or why it ended, or what happened, or how the players were supposedly treated to cause the abrupt departure and separation.
Except, that Wilson made Indiana football pretty good.
Of course there’s no room in college sports – or anywhere – for the abuse and mistreatment that allegedly went on under Wilson. And, of course, it’s possible to win football games while always treating the players with respect and caring for their safety.
So don’t take any of this as praising how the sausage was made, or assuming that it’s the reason for the success. But the culture of Indiana football did change, and the team did win and go to two bowl games.
Wilson was open and honest from the start about how IU needed more talent and needed to do things differently, and after four years of struggling. All of a sudden the defense got good, and the team started winning.
So now it’s up to Tom Allen – who had a lot to do with the rise of IU, too – to try keeping Indiana football on an upward trends after decades of being nothing more than a reason to pass the time before the basketball season started.
Now it’s up to Allen to take all the positives about the Wilson era – the toughness on D, the explosive O, and the ability to at least be competitive with the big boys – and try to do more with it.
Fortunately, the pieces are in place to do that.
Again, not saying anything was okay about the allegations against Wilson, but it would’ve been interesting to see what he could’ve done with the team that’s been building and building and building for this point. This was the year it should’ve all come together under Wilson, and now it has to happen under Allen.
Offense hasn’t been any sort of an issue over the past few seasons, but it wasn’t quite as devastating last year. With a tremendous receiving duo in Simmie Cobbs and Nick Westbrook for veteran QB Richard Lagow to work with, and a decent group of options at running back working behind another good line – consider that a major step that IU reloads now up front – the attack is in place to do more.
In each of the last few years, it was said that the IU defense was the best it’s been in a long, long time. This year’s defense is going to be even better.
Everyone is back in the secondary, the linebacking tandem of Tegray Scales and T.J. Simmons should be special, and the front line should be good enough. Throw in the return of both kickers, plenty of options for the return game, and depth across the board, and now it’s on for IU.
So it all comes down to coaching.
There’s no reason for Indiana to shoot for anything less than a winning season, and maybe a few massive upsets along the way. There are rightful expectations, and now Allen has to meet them.
The Kevin Wilson era will be forever known for the things that went wrong, but give him this – the wheels are in motion now for Indiana to become a football school.