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August 30, 2014

Kevin Wilson


COACH WILSON:  I thought game one to get a W, I thought Indiana State did a really nice job just the way they tried to put things together.  In the first half, I think offensively they did a good job dinking around, slowing the clock down, snapping it late, making the game a little short.  I think first quarter we had like three or four minutes.  It wasn't because we were trying to go fast by any means, high octane.  They did a good job of milking us.
We had the fumbled punt which gave them three, and we had the pick in the second half which gives them 7.  So great play by Nate trying to keep it inbounds and Simmi coming back to tackle.  We did give up the touchdown here, but they get ten points off turnovers.
Defensively early a little out of whack.  But as it went going on, they got settled down.  Offensively we had a hard time getting Nate going, but they were dropping 8 and kind of playing the perimeter.  With the line we've got and the running backs, it's one of the reasons the run game was good.  We've got to do a better job getting him in rhythm to start with young receivers.  Sometimes the spacing in depth is looking a little funky to him, and I think he had a hard time trusting and cutting it loose on a couple throws.
But good start.  They came out of this one healthy like they came out of camp.  Lot of things to work on.  You make a lot of strides week one into week two, so now we're going into an open date.  We'll have a lot to look at and grow from and have a real good challenge the next week going to Bowling Green and then up the road.
So appreciate fan day to day, Labor Day weekend with the weather.  Those guys kind of hanging with us.  Felt the building was good, and the band was catchy.  So decent day, lots to build on.  Lot more positives than negatives, lot of young guys playing, so like a lot of things we saw, got a lot to work on.  Questions?

Q.  What about your thoughts on defense and the way they played?
COACH WILSON:  Again, I'd like to see us‑‑ I thought sometimes we lost some containment with the quarterback in the pocket.  But as we went on, we got better pressure later in the game.  We tackled well for the most part.  Didn't see a lot of missed tackles.  Had some negative plays.  We need to tighten our coverage up a little bit.  We had our hand on the ball, got the ball on the ground and did get some turnovers out of it.  But they're better, they're more athletic.  It's still a start.  It's not close to what it can be and ought to be, and not just from there.
You can always see numbers and say wow this number looks good, this number looks bad from the stats side.  Just to me, it was a good start, but I think they've got a ways to go to really be a good game day defense.  Really cutting it loose and trusting the more they play and getting used to the scheme and get used to the calls and each other and the adjustments, the better they'll be.  So good start, but I think they're a long way away from what we're going to see as the year goes on.  I expect them to continue to keep spiking the right way.

Q.  Was the play calling down a little vanilla on purpose in the first game of the season coming into a bye week?
COACH WILSON:  I don't know.  We just had a hard time against them.  They did a nice job defensively actually just making some adjustments that was different than last year, so I think we just had a hard time getting a feel of where some of the zone rotations were, what was going to be open for that.  We took some shots.  We took some shots down the field.  Some of the times we were scrambling it was some shots down the field.
But the run game was going well enough.  We rode that probably a little bit more, but their structure was a little bit softer defending the perimeter, and it gave us a chance to get a lot of hats on hats and give the backs some creases.  We didn't manage a couple of scoring situations real good.  I don't know if I'd call it vanilla.  Just kind of where we started and where it is, I think or toned down whatever.

Q.  Talk about your running backs and how hard they ran the ball today?
COACH WILSON:  They did good.  Talk about being physical and we talked about the guy with the ball can be a physical player too.  So you don't have to let them hit you, you can hit them when you're running with the ball so to get behind your pads.  It's good to see, because a lot of times we don't do the tackling where you don't really tackle them.  So with Tevin having played and D'Angelo being a senior, it's nice to get Myles and Devine out there and get those guys busted out and get their feet wet as well.
But Coach McCullough, a pretty good player in his own right kind of by playing effort, kind of coaches that way.  You'll say you've got a good line or they're all back.  You've got to give credit to Fuchs and Michael Cooper, because so many times they're back side and reach blocking.  That is the guy that Pops those runs for Tevin instead of two or three.  It goes 6, 8, 10.  Sometimes they're point of attack.
So when you have a good running game, you think your line played well, and typically a lot of times it's perimeter blocking and back side tight end blocking makes the run game go.  So you throw the ball well and the line didn't block, and sometimes it's great pass protection.  Our protection could have been better today.  But I think the backs, there is some experience, and we'll play four or five of them.  We're going to need two or three.  Again, it's nice when you think about it's A.T. day, so I think Tevin's numbers were fifth most in school history, and the rushing total was seventh most.  So little something for Coach Mallory and Coach Anthony to be proud about.
So we talked about that.  We were representing a great era and a great coach, and we didn't get it done.  We talked about we're going to wear that I and put that 32 AT on your back, it represents a group of guys that really played hard.  You can tell he wanted to, but he really played hard.  It was nice.
I thought we started for the most part, we played hard.  Wasn't pretty.  We've got a lot of things to coach and clean‑up.  A lot of things to figure out as coaches to put them in better situations, and lot of things these kids can grow from.  But when your team's physically playing hard, it's hard to be mad.  Like I say, it was a close game, but I was kind of having fun with it.  It was nice to see those kids battle it out a little bit.

Q.  You said it was by design or you thought this week was going to be by design to play the freshmen.  I think you played at least nine.  Can you talk about that?
COACH WILSON:  Yeah, again, a lot of starters back.  But what you've got is you've got some competition so (No microphone) what it does, is that is the competition the defense lacked, and the offenses had with receivers, and linemen, and quarterbacks and everybody fighting to get on the field as running backs.  Hopefully that's a sign that we can really push these guys because I think if we do this the right way these kids will have a hard time sitting back.  They've got to have great habits in their preparation and work and go out and perform well.  So it's nice to have a lot of experience.  But we've recruited well.  We're recruiting to a good school.  We ought to recruit good players and we've got some young ones and it's kind of nice to get them going today.

Q.  What do you like about Wynn picking up where he left off and taking it to another level?
COACH WILSON:  I'm sure he could have played more if he wasn't so tired, so I've got to get his winning up.  But you know, ten yards a pop, you know.  Now you're going to say next week he might have 8 yards and play a better game because all of a sudden the box is loaded.  The ball gets in the perimeter and gets down the field, so those numbers get skewed around.
So he's a legitimate player.  He's one of the better players in the league, but he can't do anything without those guys around him.  End of the game I saw some of the receivers really battling and blocking their tail off for him.  The line was pretty solid.  We talked about that, because we talked about Anthony's success was also due to a bunch of linemen and nobody can remember those five guys that played really hard for three or four years and those tight ends.
So I'm sure when you talk to Tevin today, he'll be very complimentary of the guys that played for him and his back‑up that came in and kept the pressure off the team and kept it going.  He's a good teammate and one of the better players in this conference.

Q.  Nate ran the ball ten times today.  I'm guessing you'd like to see him run less?
COACH WILSON:  Yeah, sometimes when you drop it's not there, we have to look at our plan.  It wasn't a lot of technically designed stuff.  He did manage it for the most part pretty well, not trying to get hits.  He did miss a couple things on scrambles.  So we've got some stuff to take off, but it was nice to see him protect the ball and protect himself.  We made one poor decision, a passing game that cost us a turnover.
But other than that, I just think he had a hard time seeing it.  I don't think we did a good job of game planning for him.  We've got to do a better job for him and he'll be fine.

Q.  Simmi, how important was he to the offense today?
COACH WILSON:  He made a big play or two and he's got to make a couple more.  He also ran some routes that were depth.  And it's amazing.  We told him today, you're a freshman, and we say you're going lineup on the kickoff return team on the 35 but you're going to be on the 25.  Or we say run a 6‑yard route and all of a sudden it's 12 because you get just a little out of whack.
I think all those guys are far from being players.  J‑Shun is also very good.  We've got Dom out there in the end.  Those three players start at higher level than some of our other senior players or players have started.  But we'll see how far.  They're not as good as those guys yet.  They're starting in a nice place for freshmen.
Again, I don't have a problem playing freshmen, and I don't see it as an excuse playing freshmen, there are just some growing pains you go through and you have to live with it.  I didn't like the first punt return.  I didn't like the Devine's carry on the 3‑yard line coming out.  Like, what are we thinking?  At the same time, when you're parents you've got to let your kid drive the 12 hours to the beach.  I didn't much like that, but we did.  And we've got to put them freshmen out there and they've got to go play and squeeze the ball.  So it was nice to get Simmi going, but those guys have a long way to go.

Q.  After playing one game are you concerned about having a week off?
COACH WILSON:  Yeah, again, this is the calendar and schedule, I wouldn't be a fan if you only had one open date, for it to be early.  Sometimes you need it later just to catch your breath and from health concerns.  So what we looked at is we wanted to put this game as part of our preparation and have a plan to play well today, but kind of prepare through the open date week as part of our preseason process.
Like Indiana State, I watched those guys last year, they played hard today.  They always have.  They had a great plan today.  They gave themselves a chance.  I've got a lot of respect for their kids and their coaches.
But we didn't want to peak and then sit down next week and relax.  We were trying to get ready for what I think is a very strong six‑game schedule of a couple road trips.  I think we got three on the road going to Bowling Green, going to Missouri, and Iowa's in there and then coming home with Maryland as the opener and North Texas coming in and Michigan State.  So our deal was trying to take this game as a learning opportunity and not be in a preseason mindset, but have the mindset that we're ready for a really good six‑game stretch and to play the best we can and see how far we can come through preseason, through this game, through the open date.  It's what's going to be the meat of the schedule.
Some great teams are playing the whole schedule, but to have the toughness, and the health, and the maturity and now we play a game obviously a lot of things we want to polish, eliminate, grow.  Lot of things we need to gain on.  So I don't dislike it, but if it was the only one, I would hate it.  So I don't dislike it.

Q.  Richardson had three sacks today, can you just talk about him?
COACH WILSON:  He's had his best camp.  He's healthy.  He's had a little bit of a sports hernia kind of deal, and he's got that taken care of.  He's best preseason.  He's been one of our best.  It's kind of nice when you have seniors doing their best.  He's had a great preseason.  I think he's one of the better players.  I think he always has been.  But he's been a little gimpy and not as explosive, and hopefully he's going to have a very, very strong year.  I expect a lot of those guys up front to.

Q.  You had a 4th and 1 and a nice play screen pass.  Is there a reason you decided to go for it instead of trying a field goal?
COACH WILSON:  I thought it was a little long, into the wind.  Also mismanaged another 3rd and 4th down.  It was kind of at my discretion, so don't throw stones at Coach Johns.  Couple of stones from mine kind of going for it.  If we wouldn't have scored it at the end, we were going to go nice and make them go 99 instead of making it a 14‑point game.
So not that we're just trying to eat the clock up.  It's kind of hard to have a phenomenal 3rd and short or 4th down plan.  We're not sure what you're seeing, so we were maybe a little limited there as far as holding some things back, because you don't know where you're at.  You don't know how good those tight ends are, the big boy spread set, what you're passing and what you like.
We just didn't manage it well.  I actually think we should have kicked it when it was 4th and 4.  I think that was more than the 4th and 1.  Missed that one in my opinion.

Q.  Was that Chris as Quarterback in the game?
COACH WILSON:  Yeah, he's there.  We've been working him a little bit, and he played it a little bit.  He's coming off his knee, so he's almost full go clear.  So we snuck him out there to all a snap count.  I think as we go, it kind of came through the summer playing backer, but as we went through watching this and had a chance at one of our picnics to watch him throw the ball and our post practice deals just goofing around, thought he threw too good to play linebacker, so we snatched him over.  Defense got Laray Smith and offense got cut, for a player to be announced at a later date.

Q.  There were a couple of guys who started on the offensive line.
COACH WILSON:  I don't know if we got starters.  It would be Coach Frey.  To me you've got Feeney back, Ralston played great last year.  You've got Eckert in the mix, Kaminski has been more consistent.  Started last year after Dan got hurt and then he got a leg, Bernard Taylor, the senior.  No one's played poorly.  It's just a little bit of the competition that we're talking about.  Hopefully this team will stay humble enough that guys won't be concerned who is going out there first.  Lot of guys are going to play.
Same with the backs, same on defense, we won't worry about snaps and we can go out there and play as hard as we can for each other and get it cranked up for our fans.  I think it's not mind games and I don't think anybody's doing poorly, we've got nine linemen that started games and just some of those guys will get a chance to play.

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