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indiana HOOSIERS
August 21, 2012
Refusing to gaze in the rearview mirror, a coach is counting upon his young team's attention to detail to translate into wins
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August 21, 2012

Indiana Hoosiers

Refusing to gaze in the rearview mirror, a coach is counting upon his young team's attention to detail to translate into wins









IT'S HARD TO ESCAPE THE PAST WHEN IT HAS COME TO DEFINE you, and a steady dose of losing (one winning season in the last 17) has branded Hoosiers football a lemon. Last year didn't help: Indiana finished last in the conference for the fourth consecutive year and was the only FBS team aside from Akron to go winless against FBS competition.

That's where the team was. Second-year head coach Kevin Wilson is only interested in where the team is going. Wilson has revamped the culture around campus, emphasizing an approach that puts a premium on the journey, and not the destination. "We are most interested in the process," says Wilson, a longtime offensive coordinator at Oklahoma. "We can't be sloppy on or off the field. We need to do the little things right, and the rest will come."

There's reason to believe good things are on the way. Not only did the Hoosiers play better as the season went on (notably in a narrow November loss to Ohio State in Columbus), but they also did so with a team made up almost exclusively of underclassmen. One of the youngest teams in the nation, Indiana started 11 true freshmen last year, four of whom started the majority of the season.

That year of experience should especially do wonders for sophomore quarterback Tre Roberson. The first true freshman to start behind center for the Hoosiers, Roberson passed for 937 yards and rushed for 426 more over nine games (including five starts). Raw but talented, he has the potential to be one of the conference's biggest playmakers. New offensive coordinator Seth Littrell is sure to help Roberson mature. Last year as offensive coordinator at Arizona, Littrell orchestrated a passing offense that ranked third nationally.

The defense also has cause to be optimistic. Senior tackles Larry Black Jr. and Adam Replogle provide leadership up front, and an infusion of juco talent across the board—five new players will be in the mix this fall—should lead to marked improvements.

"We are interested in building a program that is built to last, and that takes time," says Wilson. "The bottom line is that laying the foundation comes first. Winning comes second."

the vitals

COACH Kevin Wilson (2nd year) 1--11 (0--8 in Big Ten)


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