BLOOMINGTON -- Kevin Wilson pushes all available motivational buttons to elevate this Indiana football program, but sometimes that's not enough.
Sometimes you need someone from the outside who can show what adversity is really like.
For the Hoosiers this weekend, that someone was Perry Hunter, the former Henryville High School basketball coach. Henryville faced adversity on a monstrous scale from a devastating series of early March tornadoes that killed and destroyed, wiping out the southern Indiana town and severly damaging the school and gym.
So as the team prepared for Saturday's spring game and the end of spring practice, Hunter spoke about adversity and perseverance, about facing death and life's challenges.
“He got the whole team's attention,” Wilson said. “I have a lot of respect for those folks and what they're going through. It kind of puts things in perspective when our guys think they have it tough because we're making them get up to go to class on time or eating breakfast or come to work out.
“It was awesome.”
Saturday's football perspective saw tailback Isaiah Roundtree bust a 55-yard touchdown run, add a 35-yard run, plus a 1-yard TD run. He did this in the Mellencamp Pavilion after a storm forced the spring game inside after the first quarter.
Roundtree is a transfer from Morehead State and a former Lawrence Central High School teammate of quarterback Tre Roberson. He didn't play his one year at Morehead State and redshirted last fall for the Hoosiers because of NCAA transfer rules.
Saturday's performance generated attention from Wilson, a demanding coach who wants consistent production. He said it was Roundtree's only outstanding showing in 15 spring practices.
“I expect a lot out of him,” Wilson said. “He's been tweaked by an ankle and it was good to see him show. I believe he is capable. He hasn't had a consistent spring. It will be interesting to see if he has a good summer to have a foundation for the preseason and helping our team. It was good to see. It was not surprising. We expect to see that more consistently.”
The 5-11, 186-pound Roundtree rushed for 953 yards and 16 touchdowns on just 123 carries as a Lawrence Central senior. Saturday's effort didn't surprise Roberson, who had seen it before.
“He's always been like that -- fast, good hands, an ability to make big plays,” Roberson said. “He sees holes. That's his game.
“When he talked about coming here, I told him to work hard and show what you can do.
Roundtree is battling veterans Stephen Houston (who had a 40-yard run) and D'Angelo Roberts for playing time. Freshman Tevin Coleman will arrive this summer to join the mix.
“(Roundtree) can play in space and has speed,” Wilson said. “He lacks some size and strength. I don't know if he's an every down player. It's the same with Stephen. He's doing well, but is he an every down back? I don't know yet. There will be competition. Tevin Coleman will walk in here and look as good as anybody we have. It's not a great group yet, but we have some guys to work with.”
Saturday's highlights include Roberson connecting on an 18-yard pass to Kofi Hughes and a 17-yard pass to Cody Latimer, plus scrambling for 14 yards. Quarterback Cam Coffman completed a 25-yard pass to Jamonne Chester and a 35-yard pass to Hughes. Defensive backs Lawrence Barnett and Kenny Mullen, both former Bishop Luers standouts, had pass breakups. Barnett had three in a row in the first half. Kicker Mitch Ewald had five field goals.
When it was over the Cream defeated the Crimson 19-16.
“We missed a few tackles we haven't been missing,” Wilson said. “We let a few runs get out.
“But we're playing better team D. We're getting lined up cleaner. We're not busting coverages and assignments. We're getting more guys to the ball.
“Overall we kept it going reasonably clean. I thought it was a good day.”