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INDIANA UNIVERSITY MEDIA CONFERENCE


November 10, 2014


Kevin Wilson



COACH WILSON:  Back to our Penn State deal here quickly, not by any means happy that we lost our fourth straight.  I think we've got some good effort, for sure, with playing hard, playing physical.  I thought it was in all phases, even if the offensive stats weren't good.  Lot of receivers down field, blocking their tails off.  Linemen coming off the ball.  I thought their effort was pretty good in the kicking game as well.  So I appreciate their effort.  I think it's good to see.  Something to build on.  Going on the road here for two games and to finish up our last home game as far as playing hard down the stretch and continuing to build on that.
I had several guys defensively play very, very well.  We gave up the one big play.  Had a couple of stops in the scoring zone, limiting the score, holding some field goals; it gave us chances to stay in the game, a chance to win the game.  It was great to see.  I think we had eight, nine players that we thought played well enough to what we consider winning grade at multiple positions.
We thought several guys did well, and we honored several guys here:  Zack Shaw, who plays outside and splitting time with Nick Mangieri, was our most productive player on the edge.  Played very, very well.
Greg Gooch, not just because of the interception he had, but was involved in a lot of plays.  He's a freshman getting better and better, good to see.  He made one critical play that gave us a chance that we didn't do anything with but it was a huge play in the fourth quarter but played well.
Mark Murphy, not just because of the one pick.  That was a heck of a play.  Nice to see.  But, again, was consistent all day.
Timmy Bennett, outside was outstanding at a lot of pass break‑ups in coverage and run supports.¬† So those four guys, Zack Shaw, Greg Gooch, Mark Murphy, Timmy Bennett.¬† And a lot of other guys complemented as well.¬† It was a solid defensive outing.¬† Good to see.
Offensively, still struggling a lot.¬† We threw it a lot more as far as our attempts.¬† Had a hard time getting our run game going whether inside or outside.¬† We tried the option about and had a turnover.¬† G scheme played outside, didn't work too well.¬† Couple reverses but it was tough sledding inside.¬† 60‑some yards passing.¬† I think we had about 36 true pass calls by the time you take the scrambles in and all of that.
Had three guys play very, very well.  Our one player of the game, we only recognized one guy, was Ralston Evans.  Played very hard.  Led our offense in knockdowns.  He and Dan Feeney were very good.
Another guy I thought played hard and very well was Anthony Corsaro flying around.
So I thought our effort was pretty good but production was very, very poor offensively, and of course that's easily seen.
Kicking game, like several games, I don't know if we had anything as far as a strong performance by one individual, except we did recognize the special teams block, the field goal blocked, that Bobby Richardson had.¬† We recognized him as our player of the game.¬† Again, that play kept points off the board.¬† That play with one minute left still has us in the ballgame at 13‑7.¬† That is a play that happens early in the second quarter.¬† But that stop when it's first and goal, and that block by Bobby was huge, and we recognize him.
Scouts of the week on offense, Ricky Brookins is your running back.  We got in here players that walk on.  Defensively Garrett Libertowski and Arthur Jones, so that's our stuff from last week.
Disappointed with the loss.  Liked the way the guys fought.  I appreciate that.  Had a great chance.  Had lot of opportunities across midfield, and no points several times for the O.  Good to see the defense play solid.  We have seen that.  We want to build on that though and consistently continue to get that this week against Rutgers, who is a different offense, and will challenge us in ways.  Want to keep building on that and get our offense back on track.
Rutgers this week, they're 5‑4. ¬†As we travel to Rutgers, I think they're expecting a large crowd, nice crowd.¬† About 50,000 there.¬† There will be a lot of energy in their building.¬† You watched when they played at home against Penn State and Michigan, it's been jumping and electric, and a good atmosphere.¬† The Wisconsin game, bad weather didn't have the same kind of injury, but they've been open.¬† They were at Nebraska two weeks ago, so it's been a while.¬† So I think they're expecting a great crowd and energy.
For us, it's a road test.¬† We need to get back to winning.¬† It's tougher on the road.¬† The energy you've got to bring, the toughness that you've got to bring, and it's something that we've been stressing to our team that we need to get some wins.¬† We need to get it on the road.¬† It's a sign of building our program, and we want to continue to improve and finish strong.¬† Coach Flood does a great job.¬† Lot of respect for Coach Friedgen, offensive guys.¬† They play hard defensively and they've lost some games.¬† They've played a tough Big Ten slate and lost to some good teams.¬† At the same time, they're 5‑4, they'll be excited to try to get their bowl victory.¬† We're looking to get back on track and get number four and finish this thing really strong.

Q.  With the running game is it just a matter of trying to shorten the game a little bit or did you see something in Penn State that you felt you could exploit coming up the middle?
COACH WILSON:  As far as?

Q.  Why you did it so much.
COACH WILSON:¬† We had 36 passes and 37 runs, so that's not quite 50‑50 as far as play calls.¬† I think we had ten runs that were reverses, options or sweeps.¬† So 27 inside runs.¬† But the outside plays, you saw the option on the ground, and the second play of the game was speed option that lost two yards. ¬†So we didn't get outside either.
But we try to open it up and do a little more, be a little more balanced.  Now some of those passes are skewed because of some third downs.  We had 17 third downs and we ran it a few times.  But I think you had 10, 11, 12 passes, and of course right before the half we had four attempts at the first half at the end of the game.  Really, the thing to me is when you go back and look at it, fourth quarter we've guided it across midfield in good shape and dropped the pass on third down.  Tried a long field goal, we missed right, had a leg, and just missed it.
Came back the next drive after the turnover and threw three passes in a row.¬† First one was a boot pass that they pressured it.¬† We didn't execute.¬† Kind of throwing it hot, sort of tied it in the flat.¬† Second one was a mid‑range pass that worked several times that executed and didn't work.¬† Wasn't there.¬† And then 3rd and long we threw it.¬† So we threw three passes.
The next drive we run the ball and on second down we throw the pick.¬† Then we got it back.¬† We were kind of with two minutes and kind of threw it every time.¬† So we only had two rushing attempts in the fourth quarter.¬† Whether the inside run outside run, we could change some things.¬† We didn't run the ball like we needed to in the fourth quarter.¬† Had a chance to on one drive‑‑ well, we had a few more than two, but the last couple drives, the last three drives we had two rushing attempts and got behind chains.¬† But we were behind chains running it too.
We have a good defense.  First in the country in rushing D.  I think they've giving up 79 now.  But it was tough sledding.

Q.¬† Last week you had more physical practices.¬† Were you just trying to remind them‑‑
COACH WILSON:  I just felt coming off open day we talked about trying to stay fresh and not overdoing things.  We have been going a long time.  But I think we got so consumed with fixing quarterback and what the quarterback can do, we got away from the team playing hard and the team playing well for the quarterback.  Getting stops, playing well in the offensive line.  Running the ball more consistently, staying on schedule, et cetera.
So it was not by any means a negative mindset except just getting back to me where I felt we had kind of evolved with dealing with where we are that as a coach, make sure, again, our deal is getting better every day and things that we think that win.¬† Even though we've been no‑huddle in years past and had some success throwing it the last couple years, we always played good when we had some running game, we were physical running the ball, and our defense showed up and played good run defense.¬† In this league, no matter what your style is, shotgun spread, no‑huddle, huddle, a lot of tight ends or no tight ends, you've got to be physical in this league.¬† You've got to be physical in this game.
It wasn't by any means negative.  It was just to reemphasize the way we played when we played well earlier this year and had success.  That's been part of our play.  So the practices don't change, but maybe the points of emphasis.  I just felt we started emphasizing fixing problems instead of maintaining the culture that we thought we needed to win.

Q.  It seemed like you were rotating some different guys in there.
COACH WILSON:¬† Yeah, a little bit.¬† I think the only thing, Jason Spriggs a week ago still kind of nagging with the injury.¬† So we started Ralston and then Dimitric Camiel at tackle.¬† So those three guys handled the tackle.¬† I think Coach Frey has felt the last couple of weeks that the best combination was instead of having Collin Rahrig at center, and some guys playing guard‑‑ we liked Dan Feeney at right guard.¬† He's been awesome.¬† I think he and Ralston Evans had 18 knockdowns.¬† We had 27 on the O‑line, and two guys had 18.¬† So those guys led the way.
I think Greg felt that Jake Reed at center with Ralston at guard was the next best combination.¬† For most part that's kind of where we've been there.¬† Outside of Spriggs being a little gimpy with his neck‑shoulder deal and got limited on some practice stuff, it's kind of been those five or six guys.¬† Jake Bailey will play some, a little bit.¬† Wes Rogers play a little bit at guard.¬† But it's Reed at center, it's Rahrig and Feeney at guard, it should be Spriggs and Evans when Camiel gets in there at tackle right now.

Q.  (No microphone).
COACH WILSON:¬† I don't think so.¬† Nick Stoner at Michigan tweaked a ham, was limited, didn't do much.¬† Finally the most he did was warm‑ups.¬† Looked good, probably could have gone but didn't practice.¬† He's a track guy and kind of cold.¬† He thought he could go, but at the same time he started staying around.¬† We didn't want to put him out there and let it nag.¬† He looked very good last night, so I would expect him to be back in the mix.¬† He didn't have a pull as much as a track guy.¬† He got run up on a punt play at Michigan and didn't finish the Michigan game.¬† So he's a little gimpy.¬† I think he'll be back, and from there I think we're pretty good.

Q.  How would you assess the ability of the wide receivers so far?  You elaborated a lot on the passing game and guys around (Indiscernible).
COACH WILSON:¬† Yeah, they do.¬† There are some opportunities.¬† You've got him, and they've all been here now.¬† They've been here from summer.¬† Of course we're limited in summer what we can do.¬† We can't go out there and coach them.¬† But they've got the summer development and preseason off.¬† There are sometimes when Fuchs is in the game and Stoner's not going, if J‑Shun was in for Shane Wynn, you'd have a quarterback, tight end and the three receivers that are all true freshmen.
So with that, we have time on task, and plays we don't make consistently.  The more those guys play, the better they're getting.  They're going to be great as we keep going.  But there is a lull between Shane, Nick Stoner.  And the next couple of classes haven't developed or aren't there, and there are some young guys, so that's kind of where it is right now.
They're doing okay, but they need to do better.¬† It's been a concern, and we will have been addressing how we're limited on practice time and reps, but how to get that thing developed and get it up to speed short term and long term, because we need to get it back up to speed.¬† Our ability to make one‑on‑one plays is not what it needs to be.

Q.  Do you expect to get Boudreau back?
COACH WILSON:  I don't know.  Now, again last night what we did at work didn't involve throwing.  We did some situation stuff.  And a lot of the guys taught young guys.  So we were doing game situations with offense.  And we had a two minute at the end of the first and second half and how to manage it better in four minutes.  So we did some stuff.  But we didn't throw, so I didn't see him.  Didn't address it last night with the trainer.  I guess we'll get a feel for it tomorrow.  But again, he can play.
Danny is looking pretty good.  I'd hate to lose his year.  But right now he'd be second based on Nate's availability.

Q.  The defense performance against Penn State, in order to sustain that what needs to happen?
COACH WILSON:¬† Well, again, each week you're getting different guys.¬† Penn State, like ourselves, has had some issues injury‑wise.¬† So not every team you're playing is the same just because you're playing.¬† It's match‑ups, your opponent, et cetera.¬† Those guys have won games up there, but our defense matched up.¬† It's a different match‑up this week.¬† So now because you've played well, that's a tough thing in college ball.
There are so many dynamics between running quarterbacks, option quarterbacks, multiple looks that it's adjustment every week, and it's two or three days to adjust, get lined up and get what you need.
They did play as hard as they've played.  Bobby Richardson played very, very hard.  Darius Latham up front played very hard.  Zack Shaw was very impressive.  Flo Hardin played his best game since he's been here.  Three tackles on the punt team.  It was huge.  It was great to see.  Guy's been out there.  He's had a chance to make some plays and sometimes hasn't quite gotten through with it.  Had a great week at practice.
So I really appreciate Murphy, Timmy Bennett, Flo and Bobby and some old guys.  Because what I like, Shane Wynn, some great practice guys, so that's what we need.  The old guys staying on track.  We've talked about it immediately after the game it was good to see and build on it.  Not that you're going to have the same deal, but the same kind of effort.
We had a great week of practice.  It was mentioned we had it a little bit more padded practice, or good on good.  It wasn't hard or negative, but just a little more emphasis on low pads or playing tackling, being more physical.  We're going to do that the remaining four weeks because in the Big Ten it's that way.  You've got to finish that way.  We've got two road games and a rival game, three to get you to six.  And they're all going to be tough.
So immediately after that game I congratulated them on their effort, toughness.  I didn't like the loss.  I also told them to suck it up because we're not going to go to the training room and get soft with three weeks left.  We're going to keep staying tough, playing hard and get this thing on track.

Q.  After a loss and staying fresh, has that developed the way you want it?
COACH WILSON:¬† If we're not careful are we staying fresh enough, and are you hitting enough?¬† It's a double‑edged sword and there is a balance.¬† I don't think we've underpracticed by any means, but we've had the injuries.¬† Got away from the hidden side.¬† Whether you are fresh or not, and you've played‑‑ now this would be what?¬† You've got nine games under your belt.¬† Two open dates is 11.¬† You've got preseason, 14, 15 weeks ahead.
Everybody's chipped up a little bit.  Everybody's got some injuries to deal with.  Doesn't matter how dynamic they are, it's a part of the game.  You've got to overcome that no matter what it is.
So we've done our part to keep the practice good.  But we've talked about the attitude and culture of practicing hard, playing hard.  We did it last week; don't like the result.  Did it again this week, and we need to change the result.

Q.¬† Is the quarterback change a recent change?¬† Is it a long‑term thing?
COACH WILSON:¬† We messed around a little bit in open date week.¬† Again, it's a lot to handle.¬† As a quarterback, he played quarterback three years in high school.¬† Basketball kid, it was an option‑zone read.¬† Throws it okay.¬† But when we looked at it back in preseason, we thought with the numbers and with Covington that maybe Chris was a little bit more of what we wanted.
Zeke can do it.¬† I don't know if it's long term.¬† Right now he's slated to be red‑shirted.¬† He is an emergency if we need it.¬† But it's so little time on task that it would be difficult to manage.¬† So it's kind of Danny and him.
Danny has been here since July.¬† Of course when we had the transfer, we signed him in July.¬† So he's a little bit behind.¬† But he's throwing it well and gaining on it.¬† Like him.¬† Zander's been here longer, with springs.¬† Has more time on task.¬† Need to get Nate Boudreau back.¬† Bryce Smith has been here as a walk‑on for a year and a half.¬† And we thought Zeke gave us some run‑pass threat if we needed it.¬† We'll see if it's long term.¬† At the end of the season we'll adjust and see where we're at now to move forward.

Q.  You just might have to with Danny?
COACH WILSON:¬† Correct.¬† And at the same time, you do that ‑‑ a couple years ago when Nate first got here, he's probably going to be red‑shirted.¬† But there is a season‑ending injury, and you're probably not going to play the whole year with one quarterback.¬† So as soon as that injury happened in the first half of game two, we actually played Nate in that game because we knew he was going to have to play.¬† And that kind of lost his red‑shirt year.¬† So Danny's is kind of the same.
You can get it back.¬† All those guys come back healthy, and you end up being quarterback three.¬† You could even be quarterback two and barring injury get re‑red‑shirted, get that year back, if all your third team guy was a mop‑up guy.¬† So barring injury, Zander can get a year back.¬† You know what I'm saying?¬† Same thing with Danny.¬† You hate to do it, but at the same time, we have to do what it takes to win, and play those situations as they go.
But quarterback you have a chance.  They don't play special teams, so you could.  I've had that happen years past where you get the year back.  We'll see how it plays out.  Hopefully we'll stay healthy though.

Q.  Talking about the passing game, obviously Zander wasn't really in the plan.  But how much of it is his struggle, and how much the receivers?
COACH WILSON:  A little bit in protection.  The other day when protection was firm, you know, and he knows where he's going, he sets his feet, he threw some pretty good balls.  When we got some things with pressure or protection breaking down where he got bluffed and you get in his eyes and he gets a little rattled, and he starts running around, and kind of scares you a little bit.  But to me there were about half the plays where he looked really good.  Pro was firm, he set his feet.  Even some balls that weren't completed.  But he stuck a couple shots that to me is what you want to build on.
So we've got to put him in good situations.  But the quarterback's going to look good when they all look good.  Again, with some of that youthfulness, our receivers are a little bit off.  We got picked at, got to develop that, and really work to recruit and help that position next year.  But right now short term it's finding a comfort level.  That's what we tried to do last week.  We tried to do a little bit more, but find some things that fit that game plan that he was comfortable at, that we could throw it a little bit more.

Q.  Did you cut the field in half for him so he only had to read one half?  What kind of adjustments do you make to make it easier for him?
COACH WILSON:¬† It's easier said than done because you know that half of the field is always going to be, and then you've got freshmen receivers, so if it's this coverage, run this route, this coverage, run this route.¬† You have a freshman quarterback, so there is a lot of thinking going on with young guys.¬† So sometimes you might split IN half where you put one concept on one side of the field, one concept on the other side.¬† One is to attack a certain coverage, one is for another coverage.¬† He pre‑snaps and says, okay, I'm working here versus one, two, three.
And sometimes with protection, there is just a little hyperness that if he has to go through too many guys, he gets a little hyper.¬† That's why, again, you can't say, just throw it left.¬† But we're doing what we can not to‑‑ by no means are we running one‑receiver routes.¬† There is a one‑two, or a one‑two‑three.¬† But we're trying to help him so he can set his feet, keep the protection firm, so he can rip it out there and make the plays he needs to make.

Q.  Is there anything else you can do with this offense?
COACH WILSON:  Execution, for sure.  Again, I don't think we ran any wildcat last week.  We still have a little bit of that, if you want it.  Those weren't new plays.  The quarterback doing the zone read.  If you block the end, you hand it.  If you don't have an in, you pull it.  So, again, for the line we're trying to keep it simple.  For the line they can play hard and target.  I mean, I think the players would tell you that have played a lot.
Now, it might be more difficult for some of those young receivers with the formations or adjustment they have to do.  But I think the guys would tell you even though we appear to be doing different things, I don't think it's mentally that hard for those guys.
Same time for Zander.¬† It's a speedout and formation, first time I've seen it.¬† It's maybe a little new for him or that young receiver, so we've got to keep cleaning that up.¬† But to me, we're not trying to schematically‑‑ if anything we try to eliminate it.¬† But there are enough variables we can do, and the line is mature enough.¬† But, again, it's not‑‑ I wouldn't say we have a lot, but we're looking.¬† We've got to score points.¬† Our defense in this day and age, it's hard to score when you're below 30 in college ball.¬† There is not a lot of 17‑13 games.¬† We just played one.¬† But there are not a lot of those games.¬† So we're struggling offensively.¬† And we have to get in the end zone, whether we're creating defensive opportunities or kicking game opportunities.
Years ago in Ohio we would probably score our good teams 27‑31, but we were getting 14 or 17 with defense in field position and kicking.¬† And we had short fields and the offense probably earned about two touchdowns a game.¬† But we would win 27‑14 or 31‑17 because the team created points.
The other day, we had the opportunity when the defense created some points.¬† We didn't cash it in.¬† We've got to find some return game.¬† We're not getting a lot out of that.¬† We're going to keep working at it because defense is playing better, but there are not going to be a lot of 9‑6 football games in college football each week, and we've got to get points to win.¬† We've got to win.

Q.  Can Zander throw on the run pretty well?  I just wondered if he was comfortable doing that or liked to do that.
COACH WILSON:¬† I mean, he's for sure scrambles well.¬† Again, we've done every game some sprint and some boot passes.¬† So it's in.¬† He's an athletic kid.¬† Moves well.¬† It's part of what we do.¬† It's just each week structurally can you get to the edge because some teams with leverage and blitzes don't make it more difficult to run.¬† They keep you in the pocket.¬† So you've got to find formations and shifts and motions that catch them.¬† So the other day we ran, I think, four or five boot passes and one sprint‑out.¬† So we did it a handful of times Saturday.

Q.  With guys transferring, Coach, do you think the younger generation is a little less patient?
COACH WILSON:  Again, you're talking about the transfer deal because you're seeing it with basketball and with our deal?  Is that what you're saying, transfer guys?

Q.  (No microphone).
COACH WILSON:  Good question.  Yesterday I saw something a guy sent me that said, "All good coaches need a patient wife, a loyal dog and a great quarterback."  Not necessarily in that order, too.  That was Bud Grant's quote.  I said I liked that one.  Because my wife is patient.  I know we've got a good dog.  We've got to find that great quarterback.  And we've got some.
I know, for example, my situation.  We deal with those guys anytime a person thinks it's best to leave, we'll do what's best for them.  But I don't think I've ever had a guy say he's leaving that we thought was good, no matter where it was, when it was.  Because I think the best deal, this is a great place, great school, great education, great opportunity.  We've got some great teammates that are making a huge commitment.  There are a lot of good things.  And we encourage, you know, tough times aren't there to stick versus tough guys fight through it.
At the same time, you have to support what a kid wants to do.¬† And we've had some guys not want to play anymore.¬† "I don't want to play the sport anymore."¬† We kind of give, "If you don't want to fine."¬† As a coach, you'd be surprised the number of kids that come in on scholarship and say, "I don't want to do this."¬† "Well, how you going to pay for school?¬† Look at your situation.¬† Come on now."¬† You're getting $70,000‑plus in scholarship.¬† That's a lot of money.¬† That's a heck of a deal to practice ball, whether you start or don't start.
You know, lot of guys want it now.¬† I get that.¬† I think it's hard at every position.¬† It's a dynamic in recruiting.¬† You go a year ago and a year ago today we've got a junior and two sophomores.¬† So the year before nobody wanted to come because they were sophomore and all freshmen.¬† And the one guy had gotten hurt, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.¬† So, actually it was two sophomores and a freshman, but the sophomore got red‑shirted.
Then the following year you go out and look at the high school guys, well, the starting quarterback is just a sophomore.  I don't want to come play.  This year we were a lot more attractive prior to injury at the time.  So you've got to take some developmental guys.  But when you go out and market yourself on guys, that's been a tough sell.  That being said, too, you want the guys to kind of buy in.  I know we tried very, very hard to support our guys on the field, off the field, classroom, weight room, practice, and we encourage guys that this is a great place to hang with it.  Great things are going to happen.
Years ago a guy went to a program, a comment on the board in the locker room that "Those that stay will be champions."  Can't make them stay.  Our world is a little impatient.  I don't know if the old saying "patience is a virtue" or whatever, but I know if you work hard and stay on task, good things are going to happen.  That's all we try to sell our kids.  That's why we got back to last week.  Wasn't about harder practice.  Let's get back to task at working hard and building, because that's kind of what we've been doing.  We've been kind of doing it this year, moving in a good way.  Had a couple of curveballs and you start putting holes in the dam versus let's get back to building what we want to do and keep it moving the right way.
But the transfer rule is what it is, and you can get a little thinner.¬† It's almost like, I said this a couple years ago, you're asking from a basketball perspective, I know, but it's almost like with these one‑and‑dones.¬† It's almost like four‑year college basketball is like JC.¬† You've got guys for one or two years.¬† You don't have time to develop guys.
It's amazing some of those schools that are developing guys for four years are running into the tournaments farther in basketball because you've got time on task.  That's with our guys, I just think the way we've been a developmental program.  That's what bugged me a couple weeks ago.  I didn't think we were developing our team.  We weren't fixing problems.  Let's get back to developing.  To me, if a kid will stay on task and work hard, I think great things can happen.  That's all we try to encourage the guys to do.  We're going to support them.  It's the nature of what's going on.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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