Big Ten Takeaways: Wilson leaves Indiana amid troubling questions

Just when it seemed like Indiana football was in a reasonable place, this happens.

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Indiana coach Kevin Wilson, awaiting a second straight bowl bid at a school where that’s good stuff, resigned Thursday under a weird cloud. Athletic director Fred Glass was delicately handling questions about whether Wilson was pressuring players to return from injuries too quickly.

Glass kept talking about ``how you are a leader’’ and ``honest disagreements about how you go about that’’ and ``philosophical differences.’’

This spoke the loudest, though. Despite guiding the Hoosiers to back-to-back bowls for the first time in 25 years, Wilson accepted a $542,000 buyout, his base salary for next year. A guy who has five years left at $2.5 million doesn’t do that.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]

Although this sounds similar to Illinois’ Tim Beckman, who was fired, there’s no evidence yet that it goes so far as to fall under the label ``player abuses.’’

Glass said an Indianapolis law firm hired by the athletic department concluded the players were treated properly.

It’s never a good sign, though, when an AD hires lawyers to check up on his coach.

In other words, it wouldn’t be surprising if players’ lawyers begged to differ down the road.

Indiana immediately named associate head coach/defensive coordinator Tom Allen, 46, as its new coach and gave him a six-year deal. Allen has risen rapidly through the college ranks since departing Indianapolis’ Ben Davis High School in 2006. After coaching at four small schools in five years, he moved from Ole Miss (defensive position coach, 2012-14) to South Florida (defensive coordinator, 2015) to Indiana this season.

In other words, Allen could be a really good hire. Or he could be in over his head. All things considered, though, the positives outweigh the negatives. Young guy with track record of success, and he hasn’t been around Bloomington long enough to be tainted by whatever Wilson did or didn’t do.

Under Wilson, IU often had a potent offense, but usually struggled on defense, a problem area that Allen improved.

Can he keep it going? That’s the next question.

A quick check of Wikipedia shows that Allen now becomes the first branch on Wilson’s ``coaching tree.’’

The speed with which Wikipedia updates its information never fails to impress me. Which is why I always donate a few dollars to this amazing digital encyclopedia. If you’re looking for a worthy cause, their year-end drive is on.

As for Wilson, 55, this vague dismissal under a dark cloud apparently will make it easier for him to move on to another football job—as an offensive assistant whose responsibilities do not include players' medical status.

I never really understood why he took the Indiana job in the first place. He was a highly regarded offensive coordinator at Oklahoma, and had to know Indiana was a tough place to enjoy football success.

He leaves IU with a record of 26-47, including 6-6 regular seasons the last two years.

Good luck to Allen. In a division that’s head-and-shoulders (and chest and belly button) the best in the nation. . . Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Michigan State. . . he’ll need it.[/membership]

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