Fresh off what I’m sure was an eye-opening spring practice and heading into a very important fall camp, new Indiana football coach Kevin Wilson seems to be doing pretty much everything he can to get his program out of the basement of the Big 10. Whether it’s new uniforms or scoring the best quarterback prospect in the country, the guy seems to have his stuff together.
Which is why I’m definitely a fan of Wilson’s on-air fight with some local radio guys in Indianapolis, even if the whole thing has been a bit overblown thanks, in part, to the radio hosts’ own attempts to play this thing up.
Not that Indiana is Oklahoma or Alabama, but this crap would never happen to Nick Saban or Bob Stoops. No radio host who ever wanted a coach like that on his show again would be cracking jokes about how his school never scored on them or whatever the hell (former Illinois player) Jack Trudeau was trying to say. Trudeau could even have been kidding around because Wilson had been on the show before, but the coach chose not to take it that way.
Wilson was on the other station, 1270 WNDE, which is completely Indy-centered in its coverage, so you can imagine how narrow their focus is (Colts, Colts, Colts, Pacers, Indy Car, Colts, baseball). The only national show that station airs is the Jim Rome show and the rest of the guys are predictably awful. Read this article from the Indy Star and watch the video at the bottom especially closely.
Notice how the one host, “Zakk” I guess, never says they were kidding around before the interview and lays on the condescension toward Indiana and Wilson in the aftermath of their pre-interview antics. Trudeau, on the other hand, plays dumb and acts like he never made any jokes about Indiana sucking and says they “weren’t going to rip the guy” even though he already had ripped the school. He later says his kids attend IU and that he “go[es] to games” just to be even more of a victim even though the confrontation was mostly his fault. That’s how you know they were doing it to be jerks, not having fun with a guy they know.
“Zakk” even throws in a “go Ball State” at the end because he is just so shocked (shocked!) that Wilson didn’t graciously accept their ribbing and free local radio exposure by playing along. And for the record, there is no way their show is “national” like they claim.
Maybe Wilson snapped a little too easily and could have been more creative in his revenge for the Illinois jokes Trudeau made, but the point remains: no one is going to screw with Indiana football anymore. It’s a little like a mini-bulldog barking at a pit bull at this point, but the point had to be made.
Besides, Wilson is a well-known red ass already, and it’s obvious “Zakk” and Jack wanted to try and antagonize him and/or play it off as some good-natured ribbing to see where it went. If that’s how they want their names in the paper, then so be it.
But it’s probably not going to be a huge story since, as they say themselves, Indiana doesn’t get much national exposure. But what they do have is a huge alumni base and I don’t think Jack Trudeau is going to feel as comfortable in the crowd this year at games with his kids after this mess.
As one of those alums, I couldn’t be happier. This never would have happened with Bill Lynch, Terry Hoeppner, or Gerry DiNardo (the three coaches since I attended and graduated from IU). They’re all much too nice (Lynch and Hep) or wouldn’t have bothered to call into a radio show (DiNardo).
If Indiana is ever going to be a respectable football program, they have to get every inch of respect they can get. This is yet another positive step for Wilson’s tenure at IU.
Now hopefully they actually win some football games at some point. That’d be cool.