o when news about the possible departure of now former OU offensive coordinator began to leak out, I thought it might be interesting to reach out to a fellow SB Nation blog and get an Indiana fans perspective on Kevin Wilson becoming their new head football coach. John over at The Crimson Quarry was gracious enough to spare some of his time and answer a few questions for Sooner fans. He also posed us some questions as well, so make sure to keep checking over at The Crimson Quarry to see our responses or just to read about what it's like to actually have a basketball team that doesn't make you want to stab your eyes out. We'd like to thank John for taking the time to do the Q&A and despite some Sooner fans (who me?) not always being happy with KW, I think most if not all wish him the best of luck and massive success at IU. I do have just one friendly piece of advice for John though. Never, and mean never, do you want to compare yourself or your program with Oklahoma State. That's just good life advice, free of charge! So with that, here is our Q&A.
CC Machine - I know you kind of broke it down on your site, but what are your initial impressions of Kevin Wilson for our readers?
The Crimson Quarry - As noted on my site, I liked him. I think it's obvious that we won't lose his services to ESPN, but he came across well. In many ways he reminded me of former IU coach Bill Mallory, with his gruff, intense demeanor. As I'll mention below, even though he has no direct ties to Indiana, he has spent time in the Midwest at Northwestern and Miami of Ohio. IU's ties to Miami are pretty strong. IU's only Rose Bowl coach (John Pont), our most successful postwar coach (Bill Mallory), and Wilson's old friend Terry Hoeppner, who seemed to be moving things in the right direction before he died, all were former Miami coaches. Those ties, plus the overall success of the Hayden Fry/Bill Snyder/Bob Stoops coaching family, give me some optimism. I'm behind him until I'm not.
There's more after the jump, so clicky the linky!
CCM -Are IU fans excited about this hire?
TCQ - Most IU fans are cautiously optimistic about the hire. Certainly, there are some fans who wanted someone with head coaching experience, and others who wanted IU to shoot for the stars. Still, most that I have talked to about it like the hire. The Stoops pedigree means quite a bit, and his strong professional and personal ties to the Midwest make it a more natural fit than might initially have been thought. Of course, I'm talking about IU fans who care about football. Many IU fans are so pessimistic and browbeaten about IU football that they have completely checked out. Changing that is one of Wilson's major tasks.
CCM - What are you most optimistic about Wilson being able to improve upon?
TCQ -I don't know if there is any particular area. IU's major trouble spot over the last decade has been defense, and obviously Wilson is an offensive specialist. Still, I was encouraged by what he said about the DC being the most important hire he would make, and I am hoping that he will find a way to establish better fundamentals on all three units.
CCM -Would you like to see him bring any other coaches from the OU staff with him?
TCQ -I don't have any strong opinions on that. It's important that he find a staff that he can work with. If that involves bring coaches from OU, or retaining some already at IU, or doing a national search, or some combination thereof, it's fine with me. I'm going to judge Wilson based on the bottom line, not how he chooses to get there. Certainly, given the quality of OU's program, I would be comfortable with anyone he might bring.
CCM - What are your short term expectations? Long term?
TCQ -Short term, I'll try to be patient. He will need time to install his system and there's always a risk of attrition. IU's defensive talent level is pretty low. On the other hand, the talent and experience at the offensive skill positions is good, although not a single QB on the 2011 roster has started a game. I won't be suicidal if he doesn't get IU to a minor bowl game in his first couple of years, but given IU's fairly light non-conference schedules (the toughest game in the 2011 non-conference schedule is a home game against Virginia), I don't think it's impossible. My hope would be that we begin to see some progress in the win-loss column by year three. Long term, I don't think IU ever will become a national power or perennial conference title contender. On the other hand, I don't see any reason why a good coach can't do something along the lines of what Joe Tiller did at Purdue--consistently qualify for bowl games and make some noise in the conference title race once or twice a decade (that's roughly what Bill Mallory did at IU from 1986-1994). To put it in more familiar terms for OU fans, I don't think any coach can do at IU what Stoops has done at Oklahoma, but I do think it's possible to do something along the lines of what Les Miles and Mike Gundy have done at Oklahoma State.