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Indiana University

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Indiana’s Tre Roberson runs during the second half of Saturday’s game against Missouri in Bloomington.

Bye at right time for struggling IU

– Third-year coach Kevin Wilson and the Indiana football program will use the bye week to re-evaluate its 2-2 start heading into Big Ten play.

Third-year coach Kevin Wilson’s squad was seen by many to be a bowl team this season, which means at least a 6-6 record. The team was framed as having a potent offense, a young but talented defense and more depth and size than at any point in Wilson’s time with the Hoosiers.

“That game was played Saturday was opposite of how we knew we needed to play it,” Wilson said Tuesday of the 45-28 loss to Missouri.. “We did not play the game on our toes. Our offense was on its heels with no run game, and they attacked us. Defensively, we didn’t attack them. We allowed them to get rhythm. They attacked us.”

With that in mind, the bye week ahead couldn’t come at a better time.

IU gets a week to rest injured players, realign its goals and do some self-scouting before opening Big Ten play Oct. 5 in Bloomington against Penn State. The Hoosiers are at Michigan State the following week, and then at Michigan, before another bye week.

The segmented season appeals to Wilson, and this two-week prep period in particular will be helpful for a team that didn’t meet its nonconference goals.

“We’re just going to get back to the drawing board this week and Penn State week and get ready to go,” redshirt sophomore quarterback Tre Roberson said after the loss to the Tigers. “We got eight more games left, so we’re just going to get going on these eight games and start focusing and getting ready.”

As junior cornerback Tim Bennett said, there’s no fixing the fact that IU is 2-2 right now. The Hoosiers will need to go 4-4 in the Big Ten to make their way to a bowl game, and that big picture, along with the short-term goal of consistent improvement, is the focus now.

“We’re just taking it one step at a time, not looking at this game as if we took a major step back,” he said. “We’ll reevaluate ourselves, try to get better.”

One of the priorities this week, Wilson said, is to get the players to learn how to turn great practice snaps into great in-game snaps.

“Had a coach today show 25 clips from preseason and 25 game clips,” Wilson said. “He said which looks better? Preseason. Take your practice to game.”

Wilson and his staff will also look at their own calls and reevaluate the playbook offensively and defensively to see if blitz packages, coverages and blocking schemes can be improved.

“What are we good at? What are we not good at? What can we do to help this guy? What can we do to play other players?” Wilson said. “You got really a chance to reflect and analyze.”

smorrison@jg.net

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