Those inside the locker room believe things will change — if fans, boosters and administrators remain patient.
Players and coaches point out that only one defensive starter, safety Greg Heban, is graduating and that five of Saturday's starters still have at least two or three more years of remaining eligibility. Experience, they insist, will help as will the foundation laid by the 21 players who are graduating.
"We've just been working so hard at making this team accountable for their actions," senior receiver Kofi Hughes said. "I know that the wins and losses don't really show the production in how far this team has come, but I think behind the scenes, these seniors really set the standard really, really high and I'm going to be excited to see how this team does next season."
Both of this season's starting quarterbacks, Tre Roberson and Nate Sudfeld, return, though the third quarterback, Cam Coffman, is expected to transfer. All five linemen who started Saturday's season finale should return, too, along with starting running back Tevin Coleman. The Hoosiers will have another deep cadre of receivers, though junior Cody Latimer may leave early for the NFL.
If the Hoosiers are going to make a bowl game next season, Wilson acknowledges the defense must improve.
"Our goal is not to be competitive, our goal is to win and we weren't quite good enough this year," Wilson said. "It's my job to look at the whole picture of what we can do, and not make excuses, not point fingers anything but keep pushing to win games."