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November 29, 2014

Kevin Wilson

Purdue:  16
Indiana:   23

COACH WILSON:  Sorry to be late, time with those kids on the field and their families was good.  Hard‑fought game, we're very fortunate.  Defensively I know Purdue did a nice job of some things that made it hard for us; it was tough sledding.  We didn't turn the ball over.  We had the one fumble with Tevin in the punt return, but Zander managed the passing game, didn't throw great but managed it well.  Defensively, I thought it was an awesome effort; first half they didn't get much help.  The way they battled gave us a chance to be in the game, because I think a couple of skill guys for Purdue were awfully special and good, and they played very, very well.
So that first half defensive effort was awesome.  We decided at half, I actually asked the kids ‑‑ but as a staff, we decided to give them the ball ‑‑ of course we had to give them the ball, but we gave them the win for the third quarter because we thought we needed it for the fourth.  I thought the way we played on the third quarter basically played on the south end of the field, the wind was coming from the south, all day so to do a good job in all phases, it was offensive execution, it was defense getting stops, it was kicking game.  That was huge, because we gambled because we thought we needed it at the end.  Wasn't that big a deal, but it was a decision we made.
You've seen us play some halves where we didn't come out and play good second halves, so I thought that third quarter was huge.  Proud of the seniors.  This is a group of guys that battled hard, good group.  Questions?

Q.  Can you tell me a little bit about the way that Zander has grown up since he took over as quarterback?
COACH WILSON:  Yeah, you know, one, he's getting plays.  You know, the real thing with that injury wasn't Sudfield as much as Covington, because we lost two guys, and you give 60/40, 70/30 reps to your 1 and 2, and as we came out of preseason, Zander at the time became third, and not that he was third best, but he got 0 reps, so he kind of ‑‑ he was not ‑‑ there is not enough practice hours.  By rule we only get so much time, so many plays, but he started slow.  He's got a lot of‑‑ I think Mr.Fisher called him spunky the other day on the show.  He's tough, he's competitive, he's got some grit, he's got a long way to go.  Been nice not to have played him this year, but the way he battled gave us chances in games and for sure gave us a chance to win today.

Q.  The line of scrimmage, both defensively and offensively you picked it up in the second half‑‑
COACH WILSON:  I thought the defense was good the first half, but the offense wasn't.  They loaded the box with the front four and three backers and played, I got you, I got you, I got you in a single safety, and we had a hard time getting movement to block a guy in the trash, block a guy into the linebacker level, so the linebackers were free or penetration killed us in the first half, and we basically got whipped.
We didn't have a real big deal except we made our adjustments, and we think these are the runs we need to go to, and we need to start blocking.  We need to make some pass plays, and that's all we talked about at halftime.  We got beat in the first half; they kicked our tails up front.  That was huge, especially that last couple of drives, to get us down and get the win we needed.

Q.  Coach, you were looking to get tough yards in the center, kicked the field goal and D'Angelo looked like a kid who wanted to win the ball game today.
COACH WILSON:  Yeah, and you know he did it at Missouri.  It's kinda good, because you know a week ago ‑‑ Tevin had a big year and some numbers, sometimes when he gets tired, we gotta take him out, that's just the way it is.  Quite honestly, he was in there because ‑‑ Tevin again had 29 carries, and that's kinda his high end of the plate, got tired, and he got a little loose with the ball, because he was tired, and that cost us but it was ‑‑ with this college team, I think it's great for this kid.  He's come a long, long way, and he's got a long, long way to go, because he has grown up a lot, but there's so much more growing that I would love to see him accomplish as a young man but to finish with him making a couple of plays was kinda cool, because Tevin has had his "just," he's had his day in the sun.  It was nice, like at Missouri, for D'Angelo to be a part of that, because, again, that's ‑‑ that kid could be in a lot of places, other than here.  It's been difficult for him to do the things he needed to, to be a good player and be a good student and every day sometimes is a little bit of a fight and he keeps growing and growing and growing, and, like I say, I respect this senior class.  A lot of people would have cashed it in, these guys didn't, he's a big reason.

Q.  What did you think about Tevin getting the 2000, considering how rare it is to do that?
COACH WILSON:  Yeah, one, he's really good, and special, and I think he gets a little better blocking than people want to give him credit for, but, again, I don't know if I was‑‑ you kinda look at, okay, they want to throw all those stats at me and da, da, da, da, da, but the one stat is the "W".
And I think it was more about that.  So I didn't like‑‑ I didn't want him‑‑ and Shane when he came up two short the all‑time receiving records, so we could have flipped the bubble the bubble the bubble, and we needed to win the game.  So it wasn't aboutwe were going to give that guy his carries ‑‑ you know, he got 2000 yards the last couple of weeks, getting 300 and 200, so that was a stat that just mathematically was ‑‑ that wasn't the focus today.  It wasn't about that, and it wasn't about trying to get Shane his couple more catches.  Sometimes in the offense it comes your way and sometimes not, and he had a great game for us today, and he actually fought through a little foot injury he had there in the first half, so I don't know‑‑ we don't get consumed with‑‑ we put up‑‑ a year ago we put up every passing stat in the school's history, and by the end of the today I think we got the most running stats, the real stat is the "W"!  We're excited that we won the bucket, we're excited we beat our rival, we're excited that our seniors leave the right way.  We're disappointed that we only have four "W's" because we want to win some games, and I know Tevin would tell you that, because he likes winning games more than he likes yards, and we need to get more "W's".

Q.  Coach, are there any areas you feel like you need to hit hard as far as position groups?
COACH WILSON:  It will be‑‑ again, it's been a bit of a flurry because I'm always complaining to the coaches you're watching too much tape and worried about the game plan because we've been grinding to get this defense up to speed.  We had 350 total offense, we're getting better defensively, it's been a struggle with quarterback and finding ways to get the run game going when you know the box is going to be loaded and you're limited with your pass options right now in what we're doing.
And we've talked some recruiting.  We've got a few guys on visits this weekend, we had a number of quality players here today, a number of our committed guys are here.  We'll kick into that.  The only thing that's got us in recruiting is because in year end, you get all that negative vibe and speculation and the reality is we've got a football team that's been pretty close.  It's coming, and I know the school has made a commitment to give us the chance to build the team you need, and the thing I don't like is the seniors leave not having maybe the personal "W's" and bowl opportunities you want for your fan base, but for the standard they set of building the program and the way recruiting is going, we have had two good years.  We expect to have another good year, we're going to win some and lose some, because we're going after good guys here but everybody‑‑ there was a time when I don't know guys wanted some of our dudes, so trust me, recruiting‑‑ we recruit legal, but it is a free for all.  They copy and paste all your articles and send them to kids, here is what they say about the guys, da, da, da, da, so you're fighting negativity all the time.
In reality, we got a program that's been very, very close.  It's coming.  I think we withstood a pretty good gut shot this year.  We need one or two more classes to back it up, and I think this will be a huge year for this program in recruiting, because if we can back up a core with the seniors coming back‑‑ we lose some good seniors, and whatnot, but with the guys coming back, the youthfulness of the freshmen, sophomore talent, if we can put class we need together, it's going to be pretty good.  It will be a complete class.  It will be 25; you can't sign more.  We can't go backwards.  We need tackle and D‑line length, we need some perimeter speed and corner outside linebacker, we need improvement at receiver.  We're losing one running back, and I think everybody will say what Tevin ought to do ‑‑ what Tevin ought to do now is go through the process of finding out his draft status.  Because this is a mature decision, because the guys that don't make it in the NFL don't make it because they're immature, so ain't like the first guy out gets picked first.
The deadline is Jan 13, 14.  He needs to eval being a great college football player, and the value of why Melvin Gordon comes back, and Anthony Thompson‑‑ the value of that.  He needs to value the help, value his body.  It's all speculation and negativity sometimes, and because we don't win as much as we need to, that's a fact, but reality is he's a great player.  This is a good program, it took a gut shot and now we are going to need a strong class that's got that bounce.  We lost some good defensive guys last year.  JC‑wise, maybe a couple of offensive skill positions.  We are going to need J.C. back‑ups.  That J.C. deal is a 50/50.  Sometimes it's better to get a high school kid.  Sometimes it's better to get a good high school kid.  We want the best kids in the state here.  We are heading into tomorrow.  I got a team meeting tomorrow; I will be somewhere tomorrow night.  Everybody is saying tomorrow we got a few official visits, but you guys that cover recruiting keep after it because we've shown we can recruit, and we're going to keep develop these young guys.  We've shown we can get kids to buy in and believe, and we are going to keep developing, we are going to keep building, and just disappointed for the seniors, but proud of what they did for us.

Q.  What do you think about Michael?  He's a guy that I thought played well.
COACH WILSON:  Last two games.

Q.  I saw that he was on the list to go‑‑
COACH WILSON:  And that was his choice.  We talked about that, what you want to do because my thing is don't come back just to get your grad school paid for.  If you come back as a senior, there is a standard.  There is a standard.  We tell kids, like, our standard for celebrating, not rules, our standards.  So there is a standard, and we talked about that and at the same time he had to sign a pro contract, so if you want to consider‑‑ what did you want to do?  You know the work load, you know the situation, what did you want to do?  Kenny Mullen says he's coming back.  So I think that might have made the list that got on the‑‑ again, it's not‑‑ unless you sign a pro contract, those guys have eligibility and they know what's going to happen Monday morning.  'Cuz the season '15 gets started, and maybe it's recovery, rehab, refurbishing.  They will know what happens Jan 12th, the first day when school is in, and this is a huge commitment to play, and some of those guys based on rules‑‑ I mean, this is a four‑year, bust your tail, and if you want the fifth year, it's up to you and Michael, I think he's got some mixed‑‑ I don't know, right now at the end we're not‑‑ if I'm convincing a guy to play that don't work, because I respect him.  He's been a great player, he's been awesome, he's a tremendous student, he will be an All‑Academic Big Ten here next week when it comes out.  He's an awesome guy.  He's an awesome man, and we've given him‑‑ as we've given them all, and we don't need to give a scholarship.  We're going to sign a full class, we're going to sign 25 guys.

Q.  (No microphone.)
COACH WILSON:  I don't know.  Somebody comes and goes and leaves and Jeff Sims, our recruiting guy, took the head job at Garden City.  He is a former JC head coach.  He's awesome.  We will move Cody Rager, who was a pro scout last two years, has been at Alabama, now in the lead recruiting spot.  He's already in house, and it's not a huge deal, and we'll get an assistant to deal there with that, but there is always‑‑ if a guy gets an opportunity ‑‑ but I will say this:  They know the administration has our back.  I think they feel good about it.  I feel good about Coach Knorr and the defensive guys.  And I loveJohns, and I have to do a better job up front, because I'm a big part of that.  I think as we get ‑‑ the defense gets more consistent, I will do a better job, so I think guys will come after our guys, because we've got good coaches.  But I think there is children here, there's kids here, they love it here, and I think they're convinced we're going to be good, so if they leave it's because it's a good opportunity.  Tevin is leaving, it's a good opportunity.  Staying here and playing football here is not going to be a bad deal either.  So there's guys ‑‑ if anyone is moving on, it's for a good opportunity.  We're going to move this recruiting, keep building a team for you guys.  Appreciate you being here.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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