News From Terre Haute, Indiana

August 3, 2012

IU football seeks improvement

Andy Proffet
Tribune-Star Correspondent

BLOOMINGTON — Indiana University athletic director Fred Glass said it best on Thursday.

“I’m glad we’ve got our obligatory transition year under our belts,” Glass said at IU’s football media day.

The Hoos-iers opened fall camp on Thursday — the first Big Ten school to do so — looking to improve from last season’s 1-11 record in Kevin Wilson’s first year as head coach.

Glass isn’t ready to set a specific number of wins for Wilson to reach in Year Two.

“I think it’s always dangerous to try to quantify improvement,” Glass said. “I think it’s a bit of a cop-out for an administrator to set some objective number.

“I’m looking for improvement; we’ll measure that in a variety of ways. Wins and losses are important, we’re not going to ignore that, but we’re going to be patient, understand we’re building a program. That’s why I gave Kevin seven years.”

Wilson, though, was more blunt when asked if improvement will be measured by wins and losses.

“That’s it. That’s it,” he said.

And for all the talk of how Indiana’s defense must improve, Wilson noted it’s just as critical that the Hoosiers score more points.

“For us to win, we’ve got to score points,” he said, noting that it’s going to take a team effort — the defense forcing takeaways, the kicking game putting the offense into position to score points — to make it happen.

The team effort extends to abiding by team rules. That didn’t happen for some key returning players.

Receiver Kofi Hughes, cornerback Lawrence Barnett and safety Forisse Hardin will be suspended for one game this season for violating team rules, and wide receiver Jay McCants was dismissed from the team for violating team rules.

Hughes was Indiana’s leading receiver last season while Barnett was seventh in tackles.

“We have things we stand for, believe in, those things are explicit,” Wilson said. “Representing our jersey means a lot to us.

“We’re not going to have a great team without trust.”

Running back Stephen Houston, IU’s leading rusher a year ago, admitted on Thursday that last year’s team had a lot of “grumbling.”

That’s gone.

“We got rid of the grumbling and mumbling,” Houston said, pointing out that he was guilty of complaining at times as well. “I had to let my ego go.

“We’ve come together as a team.”

It’s too soon to tell how good this season’s Hoosiers will be — “It’s one day in shorts. You can’t tell anything after one day in shorts,” admitted defensive ends coach Jon Fabris — but the first steps have been taken.

And Glass expects a lot of Indiana fans to check out the improvement this fall.

“We have our highest overall season ticket sales in 20 years, 1-11 notwithstanding,” Glass said. “I was holding my breath a little after 1-11 on how our public season ticket sales would hold up. I think there’s an understanding about what Kevin’s trying to build, there’s an enthusiasm.”