Year Two of the Kevin Wilson football coaching era has begun and here are a few things we know:
1) Nobody is guaranteed a starting position after a 1-11 season, including quarterback Tre Roberson.
2) The defense has to get better, starting with getting stops on third down.
3) Defensive back Lawrence Barnett, a former Bishop Luers standout, is one of three players suspended for a game because of unspecified violation of team rules. Another player, receiver Jay McCants, was kicked off the team for a violation of team rules.
4) IU has just signed junior college cornerback Tim Bennett. He's set to compete for playing time this season.
5) Student and overall season ticket sales are up despite last year's poor record.
Welcome to a new program optimism that carries this priority from Wilson -- nothing has really changed "until the scoreboard changes." In other words, until the perennially struggling Hoosiers win.
"It was really a commitment to train, to prepare, to mature and to be a better football player," Wilson said.
Glitches remain. Barnett, wide receiver Kofi Hughes and safety Forisse Hardin were all suspended for a game
Wilson didn't go into specifics of the suspensions, or about McCants' dismissal, during Thursday's media day session. He did say, as he has in the past, that “The best players are held to the highest standards” and that players know “when they're on thin ice.” He also said dismissals come after multiple problems.
Barnett started nine games and played in 11 last season as a sophomore. He totaled 46 tackles, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
Hughes led IU in receiving last season with 35 catches for 536 yards and three touchdowns. Hardin had 17 tackles and one interception. McCants caught six passes for 54 yards.
The 5-9, 181-pound Bennett had 50 tackles and one interception for Ellsworth Community College in Iowa last season. He will have three years of eligibility remaining.
While Roberson emerged as the starter last season, and enters camp as the No. 1 quarterback, newcomers Cam Coffman and Nate Sudfeld will have a chance to earn playing time. Coffman is a junior college transfer. Sudfeld is a true freshman who arrived on campus in May.
“When you're a 1-11 football team, there's no job safety,” Wilson said. “There's nothing etched in stone.”
The Hoosiers opened preseason camp on Thursday with 105 players on the roster, including 18 walk-ons. Two players -- safety Shaquille Jefferson and receiver Logan Young -- have left the program.
“Both have indicated they plan to transfer to another school to continue their careers,” Wilson said in a university release. “They leave IU in good standing. We wish them the best.”
Freshman defensive end Adam Kranda has yet to report to camp. Wilson said Kranda is “dealing with a private matter.”
“It is our intention to work with him to have him here in the near future,” Wilson said. “He has a bright future and will be a valuable piece on our defensive line.”
Running back Matt Perez, tight end Paul Phillips, linebacker Ishmael Thomas and tight end Jordan Jackson will miss camp because of injuries, but are expected to play this season.
“They're not ready to compete at this time,” Wilson said. “We look forward to getting these men back on the field as soon as possible.”