Indiana Hoosiers basketball reinvigorated its passionate fan base this season, employing an entertaining offensive style.
Passion for Hoosier football has never approached that for the basketball team — not even close. But head coach Kevin Wilson is wise to take a page from the hardwood Hoosier playbook and promoting an uptempo, high scoring style on the gridiron.
Indiana finished 4-8 last season, but showed tremendous improvement from Wilson’s abysmal first season. IU went 1-11 that season and scored just 21.4 points per game. After a year running the potent, spread offense Wilson oversaw as coordinator at Oklahoma, Indiana went for over 30 points per game in 2012. The Hoosier passing offense was tops in the Big Ten Conference at 311.2 yards per game.
Along with its improved efficiency, IU was much more competitive on a weekly basis. Four of the Hoosiers’ losses were by a combined 10 points, including a wild, 52-49 nail-biter against undefeated Ohio State.
Expect more next season, Wilson hinted in a radio interview.
Wilson appeared with Brandon Gall on SiriusXM’s College Sports Coast to Coast Wednesday night, and shared some insight onto preparation for his third season at the helm of Indiana football. Defining the team’s spring practices is a quarterback competition between Cam Coffman, Tre Roberson and Nate Sudfeld.
All three saw significant playing time in the Hoosiers’ 2012 campaign. Coffman was the most active, throwing 15 touchdowns and 2734 yards. He also threw 11 interceptions, a problem Sudfeld didn’t have. The big freshman tossed seven scores and just one turnover.
Roberson brings the added element of rushing ability. He went for 133 yards and three scores on the ground last season.
Wilson said the goal is to have a clear-cut starter, but he added he feels confident in the ability of all three. Perhaps as importantly, any of the trio will play behind one of the Big Ten’s most experienced offensive lines.
Whomever is taking snaps come the Hoosiers’ Week 1 date against Indiana State, IU should be entertaining. The team’s taken on the identity of its coach, who has provided his own brand of entertainment away from the football field recently.
His first pitch at an IU baseball game was one of the better efforts this spring — certainly more so than Denard Robinson’s pitch at a Detroit Tigers game this week. Wilson had fun with the experience, even teasing at the quarterback controversy.
Wilson also live-tweeted the selection of teams for the Indiana spring game, set for Saturday. The Big Ten Network is airing a delayed broadcast on Monday at 7 p.m. ET.
Other Hoosier teams have not been lacking in exciting quarterback, though. Ben Chappell had an outstanding senior season in IU’s final season under Bill Lynch, but it wasn’t enough to get the Hoosiers on the right side of .500. Wilson’s challenge this season is parlaying the Hoosiers’ entertaining offensive style into the program’s first bowl bid since 2007.