Ohio State Offensive Coordinator Kevin Wilson Focused on Current Job, Not Past in Return Trip to Indiana

By Dan Hope on August 28, 2017 at 8:35 am
Kevin Wilson isn't dwelling on the past as he prepares to return to Indiana for Ohio State's season opener.

Coaching at Indiana’s Memorial Stadium is nothing new for Kevin Wilson. Coaching at Memorial Stadium from the visiting team’s sideline will be.

It just so happens that Wilson’s first game as Ohio State’s offensive coordinator will be at Indiana, where Wilson was the head coach for six seasons until this past December, when he resigned from that post due to “philosophical differences” with the university. According to Zach Osterman of The Indianapolis Star, Wilson’s resignation came after multiple investigations regarding his treatment of injured players.

As he prepares to coach in his first game since leaving the Hoosiers, Wilson says his focus will be on his current job – and the responsibilities that come with that – despite the reminders of his past that will come from being back in Bloomington.

"I have a responsibility, an obligation to be ready to do my best for these guys and this team," Wilson said last week. "These kids have worked hard, and I owe these kids my best preparation, my best in focus. Because it would be so easy to get distracted. At the end of the day, I got a job to do. I got to do my job the best I can."

Wilson doesn’t seem to harbor ill will toward Indiana despite his unceremonious exit. His daughters still go to school there, and he says he still has "a lot of respect" for the players and coaches who were there with him, including his former defensive coordinator Tom Allen, who replaced him as head coach.

Leaving Indiana wasn’t easy for Wilson, as it meant leaving behind a group of players who he recruited and bonded with.

"You hug them all. You love them. That to me is the tough thing because you lost relationships with the kids you love, because those kids played very, very hard for us," Wilson said.

With that being said, Wilson is grateful for his new opportunity as a member of Urban Meyer’s coaching staff at Ohio State.

"It’s really been awesome being here, just being a part of our team," Wilson said.

“It would be so easy to get distracted. At the end of the day, I got a job to do. I got to do my job the best I can.”– Kevin Wilson

Wilson downplayed the notion that he would have an advantage of preparing for Indiana’s defense – or that Indiana would have an advantage in preparing for his offense – because he used to coach there. He says he adapts and adjusts his gameplan for his personnel and for each matchup, and he expects Indiana’s defensive coaches – all of whom were on Wilson’s staff – to do the same.

"Every week’s different, every year’s different, every game’s different," Wilson said.

Allen, who said he has not discussed Wilson’s return with his team, also downplayed that notion. He believes both teams will be playing a guessing game trying to figure each other out.

"This game's going to be about adjustments. Both sides. Everybody has to find what the other team's going to do, really, when the kickoff occurs and we start playing football. And then you've got to adjust," Allen said Friday in his pregame press conference. "But that's the chess match, and the strategic part of it that you're trying to figure out, is what's it really going to look like?"

Tom Allen was Indiana's defensive coordinator last year before replacing Kevin Wilson as head coach.
Tom Allen was Indiana's defensive coordinator last year before replacing Kevin Wilson as head coach. Greg M. Cooper – USA TODAY Sports

The one thing Wilson said he does expect from the Hoosiers, because of his knowledge of the players and coaches who are there, is that they will ready to give the Buckeyes a competitive game on Thursday.

"I know the way they’re coached, I know the way they’re prepared," Wilson said. "We’re going to get a tremendous challenge. I expect them to play well, I expect their team to play as well as they can."

Allen expects the same from Ohio State and Wilson’s offense.

"He does a great job and always has everywhere he's been," Allen said of Wilson. "So he'll have them ready, for sure."

Thursday’s game in Bloomington between the Buckeyes and Hoosiers is scheduled for an 8 p.m. kickoff and will be televised on ESPN along with six alternate "Megacast" presentations on ESPNU, ESPNews and ESPN3. 

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