Indiana and North Texas set to renew old rivalry
North Texas coach Dan McCarney understands how Indiana coach
Kevin Wilson operates.
Wilson’s rapid-tempo offense makes it tough to keep pace,
prevents substitutions and creates mismatches.
”They want you to be misaligned or to miss a play,” McCarney
said. ”They do dictate some of what you can do with your
personnel. So you better get lined up and get ready because they
will take advantage of that.”
McCarney has seen this before and he didn’t even have to pop in
tapes of the Hoosiers to remind himself.
All McCarney had to do is think back to the last time these
coaches were on the field together back in January 2009. Wilson was
Oklahoma’s offensive coordinator. McCarney was the defensive line
coach at Florida. The venue was Miami, site of the national
McCarney won that one 24-14.
With both coaches now in their first season at new programs,
McCarney is relying on his knowledge to help the Mean Green (0-3)
prepare for their first Big Ten opponent.
”You will see probably the fastest tempo you’ll ever see at a
North Texas home game,” McCarney said. ”You can do all you can to
simulate it. What we did at Florida was trying to have two scout
teams coming at you, and it still wasn’t enough to simulate it.
They almost make it impossible to match tempo because they are so
The Hoosiers (1-2) have certainly cranked things up since
In the season opener, the play clock rarely hit single-digits.
Since then, Indiana has been slightly more deliberate. The result:
Virginia needed an 11-point rally in the final 96 seconds to beat
Indiana in Week 2, and last week, Wilson finally got his first
Up next is his first road trip as Indiana coach.
And while this game won’t come with the high stakes from 2009,
both coaches think it could send a critical message about the
direction of their programs.
In McCarney’s case, he just wants to prove the Mean Green can
win in their shiny new stadium.
For Wilson, it’s all about changing the Hoosiers’ culture.
”I think this game is going to be a bigger challenge than
most,” he said. ”I’m excited to see can we practice hard after
success, can we take it on the road to North Texas.”
Road trips have been rather unkind to the Hoosiers in the
Since winning at Oregon in September 2004, the Hoosiers are 8-29
outside of Bloomington. And when playing beyond the state borders
or those states bordering Indiana, the Hoosiers have won only one
game during that span – Sept. 29, 2007, at Iowa.
Why would this week be different?
Well, the Mean Green haven’t won under McCarney yet and come
into Saturday’s game with the NCAA’s worst-ranked defense. But
Wilson points out that North Texas is the nation’s only team to
face three unbeaten opponents.
”To me, I look at their defense and I don’t think it’s the
worst in the country. I think that’s just a number put up by three
good teams,” Wilson said referring to losses against Alabama,
Florida International and Houston.
”It’s going to be a challenge for us, so I don’t think this is
a game where we just line up and here we go,” Wilson added.
The Mean Green have just eight wins since 2007 and are 12-96
all-time against BCS schools, and McCarney is trying to improve the
football program, its reputation and the team’s classroom
It’s all a work in progress.
But at least North Texas has receiver Brelan Chancellor, who
leads the nation with 226.7 all-purpose yards per game, and Lance
Dunbar, who is chasing the school’s career rushing record.
Will that be enough to keep Wilson’s speedy offense off the
McCarney knows it wasn’t easy for Florida, and it won’t be any
”I enjoy coaching against people I really respect and I really
respect Indiana and Kevin Wilson,” McCarney said. ”You know who
deserves to be head coaches and who should get those opportunities
and it’s good to see someone like Kevin getting that opportunity.
They’re going to come into this game believing they can win it, and
we’re going to come in here believing we can win it.”