Indiana University Football Loses Gunner Kiel and Momentum

While football season is just weeks away, the Hoosiers are preparing for another tough season in the Big Ten Conference. With the loss of top recruit Gunner Kiel, and only a single win last year against the South Carolina State Bulldogs (unless someone wants to count the wins that were taken away from JoePa) the Hoosiers are looking at this season as another rebuilding year. Yes students are excited about their football games, but they are more enthusiastic about the tailgate leading up to the game than the actual game itself.

Football has never been a big sport for the Hoosiers. We haven’t been to a bowl game in years (2007 to be exact), we haven’t been at the top of our conference in ages (1967), and we cannot seem to find the missing piece of the puzzle that gets us to a winning season. What is worse is that we had the piece of the puzzle in our hand, and then he decides to go another direction, a direction that wins. Even with the optimistic attitude and the “Win Today” slogan that was plastered everywhere including billboards throughout the state, Indiana still has not changed the attitude about football on campus.

Yes, Gunner Kiel was our Cody Zeller of the gridiron. Like Zeller, he would have done wonders with our football program, and fans would have come from miles around to watch. We would have had a top recruit and a new opening to some of the best recruits possible. As our quarterback he would have helped us recruit a whole new offense of top recruits that Wilson could have built his program around, which is what he did with Sam Bradford for Oklahoma as his head offensive coordinator. He was our golden goose, and he flew away, and with him left any hope we had for redemption this season and the next few seasons to follow.

For once the campus was on board with the football program and looking forward to seeing what Kiel would have done for us. Not only would students get the chance to tailgate before hand, but they would actually get to see the possibility of a winning team too. Students were talking about actually attending games, and not just using those Saturday’s as an excuse to tailgate. However, when Kiel repealed his commitment to Indiana, it was a bad breakup for everyone. Some sought comfort on Kirkwood, others decided to abandon ship and focus on basketball. Either way the school was hurt and had nowhere to turn to seek refuge.

Fast forward to this season. Now that the sting of Kiel leaving is gone and we are done licking our wounds, we prepare for the 2012 season. Kevin Wilson seems to be preparing too, in a big way. His faith in his team has Hoosiers believe that there is nowhere to go but up this season. He has been talking about his 3 quarterbacks (returning Sophomore Tre Roberson, the junior college transfer Cameron Coffman, and true freshman Nate Sudefeld and how he believes the success they have in the off-season will directly reflect their team this fall.

Wilson isn’t dwelling on Kiel and neither are we, we wish him the best with the Fighting Irish, and are focusing on our own game. Even last season the Hoosiers played well but just didn’t have enough steam to keep the momentum going. We have a lot to build on, but Wilson seems to be the coach for the job. He is a tough coach that demands the best and wants fans to be proud of his team. His Twitter account is full of positive reinforcement for his team and wants his fans to come support them.

Hopefully Hoosiers recognize the need for support and fans walk over to Memorial Stadium from the tailgate fields. The Hoosiers may surprise fans this season and pull away from a few teams this season. The beginning of their roster has three teams that the Hoosiers should compete with (Indiana State, Ball State, Massachusetts). Although that was said last season and we only managed one win.  We may not “Win Today” or win tomorrow, but with the Hoosier support we may win eventually and fans will want to be there when we do. So go check out a game (sober or inebriated- your call) and root for the Hoosiers. It may be a long season but with fan support, and a tailgate before the game it’s guaranteed to be a good time.


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