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October 18, 2014

Kevin Wilson

Michigan State – 56
Indiana – 17

COACH WILSON:  Just got worked a little bit the second half by an outstanding team.  28‑14, decent first half.  They helped us out.  Let them off the hook there with a third down play I think it was.  They go down make it 21‑17.  We only gave up one more score.  Third quarter started, we had a couple chances, some stops.
First couple drives back and forth, not much happened.  In the end we didn't do anything offensively other than just a couple runs.  Kind of got worked and tired.  Defense kind of wore out in the fourth quarter.  Disappointed we didn't get a couple stops by the defense at the end.
Thought we had good prep, good work.  Liked the way it started.  Just wasn't good enough.  That's a good team.  Congratulate those guys.  Got to keep plugging, keep pushing these seniors to get this thing going.  Open date is at a good time.  We will kind of collect our thoughts, get moving and finish strong as we can.

Q.  What happened to Chris Covington?
COACH WILSON:  Sunday practice, gimping around.  Checked it out.  Looked stable.  We did an MRI late Monday.  Finally got the results.  We were able to practice knowing that.  But, you know, found out late Monday afternoon.

Q.  What do you know about Jason Spriggs?
COACH WILSON:  Took a hit head on.  He had movement.  Head movement, being very precautionary and making sure.  Was conscious, breathing, but just had some upper neck pain.  Took a step and fell down.  But he did have movement in his forward extremities.  So that's a positive.  But at the same time we'd like to do x‑rays.  That's all we know right now.  Keep praying for him.

Q.  What were the issues with Zander in his first start?
COACH WILSON:  We had a good of practice now.  Every time you're playing a really, really good defense, has a tremendous package, does it well.  We need to try to continue to throw it a little bit, get it downfield.  Didn't have the ball a ton.
Now with the open date we have some time.  You can't change a lot when you've got right guards that have been doing things for weeks and months, receivers, whatever.  You've got to play to your team's strengths.
He had a couple days.  Now with the open date, not that we make radical changes in what we're doing.  What was he, was 5 of 16.  Needed to take the ball down the field some.  Had a couple good shots.  Again, he had a good week of practice.  Practiced well, threw it around well in practice.
But again, you're playing against Michigan State that brings a lot of pressure.  Great third down package.  Challenged every receiver out there.  They make you work for everything.
He just had a tough day.  The only thing I didn't like about him was the ball loose.  You know, a little young.  That's one of the reasons why he was third because he's a little careless with the football.  As we go, we got to get past that.
We'll keep bringing him along and Nate will keep playing it up.

Q.  Couple new guys on the O‑line, left guard and center, right tackle.  Injury related?
COACH WILSON:  Ralston Evans has been playing really good.  But coming off a knee injury from a year ago, you know, kind of buckled on him in practice the other day.  He came back, was with us Thursday, Friday.  It's kind of wear and dare.
Had a significant, significant knee injury his freshman year.  His is just a little bit of stamina.  (Indiscernible) played well, but one of our strongest leaders and best guys.  I thought (indiscernible) has been awesome at center.  Just thought left guard needed to pick up there.  Thought Jake Reed at center and Collin Rahrig, might have messed it up there, but Rahrig was playing good at center.  Didn't think our left guard was playing well.  Thought Rahrig at left guard and Jake Reed would be a better combination than Jake at center, the guys we have been playing there.

Q.  17‑14, go in and gamble on the play, get 68 yards.  Amazing how quickly the momentum changed.
COACH WILSON:  It did.  Again, like I say, I think we were there.  I think that was a third down play or second and long.  Second down play, I believe.  But missed it.  They got points.  We didn't manage the next drive and gave them 28.
I think I made a couple comments.  It's 14‑10, it's 17‑14.  We're playing a good team, we're playing with them.  Playing some young guys, got a little adversity.  Guys need to stay positive.  I thought there was a stretch there where maybe I think we didn't execute cleanly.
Now, we came out at half and got a stop.  Offense didn't do much.  I think we got another stop.  Offense didn't do much.  Finally they got a couple drives and kind of worked us.
There were a couple chances to handle them, we weren't good enough to do so.  They made a couple plays, and that's why they're a good team.

Q.  Are you okay with a player making an aggressive play on that?
COACH WILSON:  You got to.  If you miss, you miss.  Our deal is we can't be passive.  Again, same as Zander.  Zander can be foolish.  There's a smart way of playing football.
We'll look at it.  Maybe he needs to be in better position.  Catch and tackle, catch and tackle.  I mean, if we swing and miss, it's better than not swinging at all.
As a young player, he'll learn from that.  But he went for it and missed it.  To say he's wrong, we didn't fault him on that.  We're trying to build some confidence and aggressiveness.  I think you start questioning a kid for going after it, you get them playing on their heels.  As we are trying to build our defense, some of these young guys in the offense, we're talking about being aggressive.  Michigan State is an aggressive football team.  We had to be.
I thought in the first quarter, quarter and a half, we were playing good, aggressive football.  As the offense didn't execute, the defense got tired, they wore us out in that great second half.

Q.  Do you feel it's an open competition between Zander and Nate this year for the starting job?
COACH WILSON:  I don't know.  Again, they're both threes and fours for reasons.  We got to keep bringing them along.  At the same time they're different.  Zander, again, had a great week of practice.  You've got to learn.  You can say you got it, but you fought against one of the best teams in the country.  That was your first start, first game.  Hey, really comes a really good team at you.  He jumped into some deep water.  At the same time with that, we'll see how quick he can grow from that.
He's been the best.  But, I mean, to me, competition's always what you want.  You keep pushing for it.  Again, Nate is out, Covington is out.  It's those two guys right now.  Danny Cameron, who we signed late, with the situation we had, he's the next one.  That's where we're at.

Q.  You finished with 11 yards passing or something like that.  What do you need to get to?
COACH WILSON:  As much as we can.  We were taking shots down the field.  We got to.  Again, there's not a throw he can't make.  He's a smaller guy.  So, again, a couple times we had some shots up where they were blitzing, getting into their single‑height coverage so the ball is going outside, scrambling.  Sometimes the protection broke down, whatnot.
I mean, to say it's a number.  I don't know if it's any number.  What do we have here?  33 rushes, 16 passes.  That's one out of three.  So you can say, Hey, give it to your runningbacks more.  But you're 1 of 12 on third downs.  Defensively we're 10 of 16.  We just didn't get the stops.  And offensively we didn't make any.
Same thing last week.  Last week we had 60 plays.  In the last two weeks we're averaging 55 plays a game, 54 and a half.  When you get opportunities, you get stops.  The way you get opportunities, you convert on third downs.
To me, we'll keep pushing it.  I mean, we had a couple good runningbacks in a solid line.  We'll run the ball.  But with our style and personnel, we can't be just a one‑dimensional team.  We have to keep throwing it and (indiscernible) for our offense to work.

Q.  (Question regarding the defense.)
COACH WILSON:  Well, they all are, though.  They were last week, Iowa.  You know, this team won't give up hundred yard backs.  Last week was the first time got 200.  What we're looking for is consistency.  That's what we need in the passing game is consistency.  When you're 5 of 16, we had two long runs.  Tevin had one really long one.  Shane had the long reverse.
So you got some numbers that say, Hey, you ran for a couple hundred yards, but it's two plays.  You have to have more consistency in the fours, fives and sixes.  We got to figure that out.  Our receivers got to keep coming.
Today we had Shane back in the slot with Isaiah being out, with (indiscernible) being out.  We went with him and Shane.  We did that to get Dom Booth and Simmie Cobbs all the work they could get outside to start playing those guys a lot more.
I think it was Dom's first start.  Little bit of move today.  With the injury to Isaiah Roundtree, instead of him and J‑Shun, we thought we needed Shane and J‑Shun inside.  That was to bring along Simmie Cobbs and Dom Booth, keep pushing those guys.  Got some young cats we'll keep playing with.
But we got some seniors between Rahrig or Bob Richardson or Flow, Murphy, Tim Bennett, D'Angelo Roberts.  We got some good seniors.  We need these guys to hang in there, keep it up, keep coming.  We're sitting at 3‑4.  Open date is at a good time.  Got a good schedule remaining.  We got to see what we can get out of these guys and finish strong.

Q.  (No microphone.)
COACH WILSON:  He tore his ACL, which is what was reported yesterday or this morning.

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