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November 24, 2014

Kevin Wilson

KEVIN WILSON:  Appreciate you being here Thanksgiving week.  Going through the game last week, good performances.  On the offensive side we recognize Shane Wynn.  A couple weeks in a row played really hard, finishing strong, great player for us.  He's up to 50 catches this year.  Tevin Coleman, really strong performance again, consistently doing it.  I don't know if (inaudible) third most ever yards against Ohio State by an opponent.  I think it's the most yards ever at Ohio Stadium and the longest touchdown run, so he's playing well.  He's getting some good blocking.
Defense played well, got him some stops, got him the ball back.  We need him to finish strong.  He's having a special year.
Defensively we recognized three guys.  Bobby Richardson was outstanding, four tackles, seven assists, made a lot of plays sideline to sideline, just chasing‑‑ sometimes the ball went to the perimeter on a screen play, and it got turned back and he was the guy chasing it down, running faster sometimes than some of our skill players, and it was awesome.
Antonio Allen, not just because of the two picks.  Those were nice plays, great position and great plays for us, but just the one he had‑‑ he had I think 12 tackles, I think we had him for eight or nine unassisted and three or four assisted tackles and 11 or 12 hits.
The two picks we just‑‑ a lot of times or previously had busted coverage.  This game was just tighter and in the right position and kept us on schedule where sometimes with multiple formations and no‑huddle, mentally he could have had some MAs that haunted us.  He really had a great mental game as well as the physical plays he made and the picks, and then last one was Michael Hunter.  Tackled well, a couple great plays, one‑on‑one on the perimeter, so recognize those guys.
Our special team player of the week, Griffin Oakes, solid game, kicked it really solid, great job with his kicks, was awesome there, and that's a tough place to kick‑‑ that's one of the few places where they don't do the goalposts yellow, and it's kind of white and gray, and their school colors are scarlet with gray, so it kind of can blend in.  Their stadium has got that gothic look to it.  I remember talking to him during the week because I thought a year ago that really affected Mitch Ewald, just the ability to see it because everybody has got the bright gold deals and they've kind of got it in their school colors, and it's legal, but it's a little harder target to see, so I thought it was really good for Griffin to connect on his kicks and kick off so well.
Our scout players of the week, we had Zeke Walker playing quarterback, did a great job for us, and Delroy Baker, two of our young freshman guys on offense, and defensively we had three guys, Dameon Willis has done a great job all year at outside backer, was close to playing, didn't play, but is doing great.  Ben Bach, and Mario Swann.  Mario is a transfer that's sitting out from Eastern Michigan, a Center Grove kid and has been here a couple years.  So those were our players of the game.
I thought our effort was good.  We battled, we overcame a poor start, alignment, mis‑execution, but from there to settle down, I think they kicked it out of bounds, which gave us a short‑‑ shorter field when it was 14‑0.  That's a play when you go through plays that as a coach I complimented our team like you had nothing to do with that, player really helped you.
Or learning from that guy's mistake because all of a sudden that short field and Zander scrambled, touchdown, flow punches the ball out, we get a fumble recovery by Zack Shaw, we make a field goal, it's 14‑10, now you've got energy, you've got light and became a good game.  That game could have went the other way real quick, too, so it's a game of momentum.  We kind of weathered it, played pretty good from there on out.
Offense sputtered a little bit, but defense really settled down, and except for the fact four minutes and the last four minutes of the game, the start and finish, which is really critical to most games, starting well and ending well, that was the difference in the game.
Their punt play pinned us down.  Our lack of execution was huge.  The turnover was huge.  It was good that we got it into the fourth quarter and gave ourselves a chance, but it's disappointing we didn't finish the right way, and again, because we want to have the right outcome, the victory.  We expect our guys to play hard and play well.  I think they've consistently shown they'll battle, but we've got to keep playing well to win.
We're a little bit better in the kicking game.  We're a lot better with penalties.  For some reason that game one false start and two sideline warnings, so it goes from high end to low end all of a sudden.  One turnover at the very, very end, four‑minute mark.  We finally took a chance on a double move and didn't execute the play right.
Other than that, a good effort.  Defense settled down.  Didn't like the finish by the D.  Offense, got to keep finding ways to get the passing game going.  Appreciate that you are effort, but at the same time it's not about effort, we've got to win.  We've a great challenge this week playing our rival in Purdue.

Q.  How concerned are you about the depth at Purdue?
KEVIN WILSON:  Again, two very experienced, talented, fast players.  Their coaches do a great job with multiple personnel groupings and alignment for them to get them in the perimeter, would be by designed run, misdirection, pass plays.  Like ourselves, I think they've had a couple‑‑ they've settled on a quarterback here the last half of the season that's played well.  I think they've had some injuries to a couple receiver spots that's got them a little inconsistent out there, kind of like we've been a little bit.  They've relied on their skill players, and those are their two premier guys, and they complement with a couple tight ends.  So it's very hard for your defense because they do a great job with their coaching staff of using those two guys but also moving them around a lot to make you work.  So it'll be a tough challenge, and that's one of the keys to their offense is the way to get those guys the ball in space and the plays they make. 

Q.  I know it doesn't mean much until you see anything, but Tevin Coleman coming up on 2,000 yards at Ohio State, doesn't get a Big Ten Player of the Week, had one this year.  Is that something that frustrates you guys as coaches when he doesn't get some attention like that?
KEVIN WILSON:  Well, you guys are part of the attention makers.  I already got on national TV and said, here's one of the most unknown players you don't know on a national network, and you work for the Big Ten Network and you just made that statement, you can show him more, you can compliment him more.  But at the same time it's not about him.  But I appreciate Tevin.  He's get his just due the way he just continues to play, live his life.  He's a very practiced player, and he's one‑‑ he's a great leader.  He's great off the field.  He's been student of the month here in the whole athletic department for the way he conducts himself, and then the best thing he does is the way he plays on Saturday.
But I don't know, sometimes his Tuesday and Wednesdays are as good as Saturdays.  So that being said, to me he's going to be one of the all‑time‑‑ for me one of the all‑time great Hoosiers and one of the all‑time great kids I've coached just because of the way he does it every day, not just Saturdays, and if guys want to compliment him or not compliment him, he's getting better blocking what people think, but he takes a lot of nickels, and he'll get you some quarters and 50 cents and dollar bills out of it because he can make some guys miss and go the distance.
His ability for the home run play is legit.  It's week after week, it's a couple years' worth.  I kind of hate last year, there was a couple games he missed with a high ankle sprain caused him not to be a 12, 13, 1,400 back a year ago, and now he's going to back it up and I don't know if we‑‑ based on what he gets this week, and we've already talked about that.  We're not about his stats, we're about what we need to do to get a W against our rivals.  It's about the game and about the week of preparation, but to me he's a great player, and I think he's better off the field and in practice than what you guys see, and you know what you see on Saturday is as good as there is in a game.  And you guys can vote for him for all conference, All‑American, you can pump it up and get those pens‑‑ everybody has got Twitter.  Let's go, rock and roll.

Q.  What have you seen from Zander, more confidence?
KEVIN WILSON:  No doubt, and I think I said this a week ago on the Big Ten call, but the real thing, we settled in, it wasn't Nate's injury as much as Covington's injury because we had basically 10 weeks that he was really the second.  After a week of preseason, we said, hey, we thought this was the next choice.  We had three weeks of preseason, we were in our sixth game, and we had had an open date, so there was 10 weeks of Chris, and all of a sudden it's really hard to get the third guy.  A year ago we kind of had a three‑way battle, and when we settled on two, the third guy didn't get a lot of work.  There's not that many plays.  There's not that much time.
And so that being said, when he got thrown out there, he was practicing every day, but he was behind.  So it took‑‑ it says a lot, one, for his spirit.  He's worked as hard off the field as any quarterback I've seen once it was his time.  I wish he had been working prior but I can't make him because by NCAA rule, when that clock says practice is over, I can't hold him accountable to have to be there.
But when he showed up the first week, like what are you doing.  He said, I have class.  I said, no, and my comment was, well, where have you been, because there was seven weeks prior of class, like where have you been those seven weeks.  But now there's urgency now.
He was a little bit overwhelmed, but with time on task, great experience, great work, he's getting comfortable.  As he plays he's getting comfortable, and I think the players are getting much more comfortable.  The coaches, we're just trying to put him in better places.  We still miss some things.  He still has a (inaudible) interception, went over some things.  He had the opportunity the other day to make a few plays.  He has the discretion to do some things that sometimes he still plays a little close to the vest.  I'm not talking about where he throw the ball, just some things our offense has built in where the quarterback has got the green light.
We're trying to increase his ability, like hey, you've got the green light, put us in position, and as we watch the tape, it was a very good game, very competitive game, you're getting better, and you still missed some things that you can easily make, you see it, and let's keep gaining on it.  I like what he's doing, but still, he's young and a long way to go, and he'll need to play well this week because Purdue‑‑ a lot of people can put everybody in there and it's one‑on‑one plays and our receivers and quarterback play and pass protection will be a big part of this game, too, because there's going to be some chances, can we make the plays needed to win the game.

Q.  What has made Shane Wynn a leader for you guys?  He's a character and has a sense of humor, but (inaudible)?
KEVIN WILSON:  I don't know, but I think in my world, because again, I have a strong respect for him, that‑‑ not that anybody is trying to be his best friend, but I've tried to have a positive, good relationship with him, and I think he's tried to reach out and understand the direction we're trying to go with things and how important him being a good‑‑ Tevin being a good player but being held to a good standard.  You've got to practice really hard, do things at a high level consistently, and I think Shane has embraced that, and I think made a comment yesterday as we watched the tape, we just had some light work today because no class this week, it's a little different week, and we're not going to overwork, but it's a different timeline.  That's why we backed up the‑‑ also appreciate you guys working with us here.
But he made a little joke and comment about us last week.  I said, no, no, no, no, this is your best week, because the way I look at it, if you have consistently and constantly getting better, this should be your best week.  Not statistically always because you won't be able to control coverages and opportunities and the times they come.  This must be my most focused, best week of preparation, best attitude, best energy, taking care of my body, because if I don't have many times to do things, like the guy that's going sky diving when he knew his time was up, hey, if this is your time, you want this to be your best week, and that's kind of how we approach it with the guys.
Rival game is a big game, playing for a trophy, all that, end of the season game, there's no bowl‑‑ be we always talk about having some fun and focused and physical and making it your best week because if you're constantly improving, you would naturally think that should be, and then hopefully then that will translate into the performance, and I think Shane buys those things when we talk about that.  I think he was very close with his high school coach, Ted Ginn, Sr., who's a tremendous coach at Glenville, and has that great program, has great players.  I think he was very close to him.  I think he was coached in a very strong, competitive way there.  I think he embraced our coaching, and to me he's always been one of the guys that was a great extension of what we were trying to do.
And with that, that's why I really respect, and I've had several people, several non‑coaches, non‑football people that watch us closely talk about how good he's been on the sideline, in the locker room, and those are some things, again, why I still feel results are a little bit short, but I feel there's been a lot of positive movement to try to build the team the right way.

Q.  Is your fourth (inaudible) game.  Do you notice a difference in your players this week, any more tense or anything like that?
KEVIN WILSON:  Well, we're just starting.  Like this today we just had review.  Today typically we wouldn't practice today, but with no school and all, we just basically had a light introduction, walk‑through this morning.  We weren't out quite as early as we normally do.  We're a morning practice team because there's no classes, but we are used to getting up and going, so we'll get it up, but I guess as we go through Tuesday and Wednesday we'll see that.
At the same time, you would hope‑‑ what I like to see the team do is come out with the same energy and the effort they had and the attitude they played with Saturday because consistently we'll show that we'll do that sometimes.  You've got a great opportunity, you've got a great rivalry, you've got the last season game, you just played with a lot of energy, didn't get the outcome, but can you have the same energy and keep pressing to get the outcome, and that's going to be one of the challenges to the team is to show that there wasn't a moral victory last week, but we played hard.  Let's show we're tough enough, mature enough and do it again.
So that's been the direction, not because of the rival, but building our team, we've got to show we can do that.  I'm really excited and anxious to see if we're mature enough, Shane Wynn, Tevin Coleman, some great leaders that lead us that way, and see if we can have the week we're talking about, see if we're preparing every way we need.

Q.  How is D'Angelo?
KEVIN WILSON:  He's good.  He practiced on a light practice last week on Friday.  Again, he was entering stuff yesterday, played a little bit in the game.  Today was just basically a walk‑through practice and then installation, also.  Can't really judge after today, so I don't think there's any issues.

Q.  Any injuries come out of the last one?
KEVIN WILSON:  No, really good, and I think we're close.  I'll see in practice, but I know Ralston is back running around and doing some things, and Nick Stoner, it would be nice to get those guys back in, they're four‑year guys, been with us a long time.  Nick's last game, so no guarantees in or out, but if there's a chance to get those guys on the field and their bodies can‑‑ and they can play well for us and help us win, I'd love to get those guys back.  As a matter of fact, they're one of the first texts I got after the game was from Nick Stoner, just saying like, hey, sorry I couldn't be there, but that was a great effort and appreciate the way you're leading the team.  I said, hey, man, I need you Saturday.  And I really need him Saturday just for him, because I think it would be a nice deal as a senior to suit up one last time for that game.  So we'll see, no guarantees, but he's doing light jogging today, just a little, but love getting him back, just for him as a senior.
But I would anticipate the core of the receivers, the core of the running backs, the quarterback situation is kind of settled in, the line, the defense, and there's nothing last week we came out of that one pretty good.

Q.  Defense was solid for most of the game after Zander threw the pick, a couple of things (inaudible).  How do you overcome (inaudible)?
KEVIN WILSON:  Yeah, again, one, they made a couple plays.  We blitzed an empty set and they were able to squeeze it and protect long enough, work the guy one‑on‑one and be the guy in man coverage, and then they just kind of out‑flanked us and just got proper alignment there on the speed sweep, which I think that was more disappointing than the guy getting beat.  It was a man‑to‑man play, and their guy beat our man.  The sack was a little bit more of a team effort, just team alignment, structure, and we got out‑flanked on the speed sweep.
You know, again, I don't think there was a negative with it.  If there was, I think they could have‑‑ when it was 28‑20, 28‑20 and the offense goes three‑and‑out and the defense got the ball back.  Offense goes three‑and‑out, the defense got the ball back again.
So there's a chance for that thing to implode and it didn't, so to me we showed signs of going the direction we need to, and again, I liked the last little deal, and I think it's just more players and alignment more than an attitude and a team deal.  That's how I approached it with our players, because I thought as a team, even though we recognized a few guys, it was a reasonable effort as a team, offense, defense, kicking.  It gave us a chance against a quality opponent on the road, exciting game, and to me that's something we're going to try to build on for this week and moving forward.

Q.  What do you do in terms of Thanksgiving with the team?
KEVIN WILSON:  Well, we practice‑‑ in college it used to be you didn't play‑‑ I remember as a high school‑‑ my high school coach, I always had a big deal about‑‑ there was a saying that the really good teams practiced football and then they'd eat some turkey.  Everybody else popped the pads and they were running around playing basketball, but the really good teams get to practice football and then go have Thanksgiving turkey, because that meant you were in the semifinals, or in our state, the state championships.  So the mojo, the mantra I learned as a young kid, it was cool to play football.  As a matter of fact, one of the biggest things we'll do on Thanksgiving day is the kid turkey bowl where all our children come in, and we kind of have the turkey bowl game.  Sometimes our players are hanging around, and as a matter of fact my son, a couple three weeks, hey, three weeks to the turkey bowl game and I'm going to be the quarterback, and we get all the kids together.  So we have some fun with it.  But we will go through a normal routine week.  We don't have school.  We're not minimized by hours, but we don't want to over‑practice because it's the end of the year.  You don't want to be tired.  You have a routine, things you do.
We do our work Thursday morning, and what we typically do with it being a home game is we will finish at 11:00 on Thursday, and we will allow the kids that live within the region to go home, and most of those kids will take someone with them or their families have came in town where their kids live in the apartments around town, their families actually will come in and do Thanksgiving here, or they go with coaches or FCA guys, Steve Connor, Dave Hudson will have some guys.  So I don't want anyone in an apartment or dorm by himself.  We will have a Thanksgiving meal Wednesday night.  We'll have a big Thanksgiving team meal.  We'll practice Thursday morning, and then basically have a 24‑hour window.  They're back at noon on Friday.  We've done that every year.  We did at Oklahoma.  We were always playing Oklahoma State that week.
It was just kind of nice to give the kids a little bit of family feel.
I'm not anti, but if you're going to Chicago, it's a four‑hour drive, it's four hours back, you've got 24 hours you're going to sleep, is it worth it.  So we try to keep them within metro Indy, in town, and as families we just try to cover them up.  Several guys will go with Corsaro to his house or go to Zeke Roundtree's house or Ralston Evans.  You pick the guys.  Everybody has got their partners.  Everybody is going to Shawn Heffern's, they'll tag up with some guys.  Everybody is going to be at Coach McCullough's house or they'll be over at Coach Inge on the grill smoking on his barbecue deal.  We'll do something for the guys.
We do a team meal Wednesday, practice in the morning, we give them a 24‑hour to be with their family.  Then we come back in Friday, and we're back in routine because it's kind of like our normal Thursday is‑‑ you go to class the rest of the day and we're done with you.  So it's kind of like‑‑ it's like you've kind of got your time.  But we do think the family part of it, and some of the families will come in here and spend time with them.
If we were playing at Purdue, it would really be the same deal.  We'd get with them on Thursday and do our work and we'd travel about 4:00 or 5:00 and drive up the road.  So that's kind of been our routine.  We like to keep their families a part of it.  But we'll have no one‑‑ no one is going to be sitting in a dorm room by themselves.

Q.  What would it mean to you to the first person to win back‑to‑back Oaken Buckets?
KEVIN WILSON:  To me what I‑‑ because I started when that was said to me the other day, I said, well, that's okay, one, it shows that we consistently haven't been as good as we need to be, but let's‑‑ going back to what I said earlier, it's really about this being our best week and more about the preparation and the week and everything we try to do, which is constant, consistent improvement and having a good week, because if you do that, some of those things will start to happen, and we've shown some flashes.  We haven't shown the consistency.  Last week we showed a flash of playing competitive for a while.  It still wasn't good enough, turnover at the end, kicking issue at the end, the big plays at the end, couldn't get stops, couldn't play offense like we needed to.
Moving forward, hey, you know, to be a winning program you consistently do things.  We have consistently not been good, and dumb things that losing teams do with turnovers and not being able to overcome injuries and not coaching well and having your team prepared, whatever.  All those things are part of it.  So to me, those things come if we stay with our process, which is getting better every day, getting better every week, and that's why to me this comes back to our whole focus this week is to enjoy the week, have the best week we can, because this is the last time this '14 crowd will totally be together.  Some kids will move on, dynamics change, new guys come in.  This is our last week.  Let's make it the most fun and the best we can, and that's how to me we approach it.
If we continue to approach that, there will be a lot of positives in all areas, and we've made some strides in certain things, but that's the missing link to a consistency, but I think our team, our fans, our seniors, our players won't, and that's why I'm excited about this week, to see if we can show that we start doing things like good programs we'll start backing some stuff up.  That comes through preparation and then going out and making plays.

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