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August 8, 2015

Kevin Wilson

Bloomington, Indiana

COACH WILSON: Just kind of give some updates on some stuff. Always appreciate you being here. In all, we have two days of practice. Reported on Wednesday. Summer, basically everyone was here. Donovan Hill was a little late getting stuff added.

Long snapper by the name of Dan Godsil who will very much be in the mix. We have a great competition going there. The loss of Matt Dooley is one of the things you take for granted that can be critical. Tremendous four year player for us. The kid we brought in, Danny Godsil is a kid from Ottawa that will be in a battle with Nolan Guedel. Josh Pericht, a three man deal. They're looking good so far. So we had two guys that showed up, everybody else was here for the summer. In fact, our walk on program, some summer walk ons don't make the 105 just because of the numbers we have. But anyway we're doing well there.

Update quickly other guys. Staff, got everybody back, which was kind of good. We do have a few small external adds worth mentioning. Greg Schwartzkopf (phonetic), his father is a head coach. Greg played here as a walk on. Getting into coaching. We kind of got him in an off the field capacity. Actually volunteering his time. Wants to get in coaching.

We've added Brody Eldridge. Brody played for the Colts a few years. Played for me in Oklahoma. Was a tremendous, tremendous player. Same deal, wants to get into coaching. He's kind of working off the field as one of those quality control coaches, can't do the active player coaching, but development.

We added Matt Clapp, Will (indiscernible), our strength coach actually married Julie Cromer, former assistant AD. They now live in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where Julie is one of the higher AD's down there in that program. So Will has moved on, but we replaced Will with a kid by the name of Matt Clapp who was an all conference fullback for us at Oklahoma. Was coaching at Akron in a strength program. He played a couple years of (indiscernible).

Carter Whitson, our GA. That's a little bit of staffing. Really like a couple former players. As a matter of fact, that one crowd of tight ends I had there at Oklahoma, we got Eldridge here, Clapp here, Grisham is at Arizona, Joe Jon Finley is coaching at Baylor. That's a good little football crew.

Team wise, updates on some guys. We talked about J Shun's injury, which is ACL surgery. Those typically run about a semester. Adrian Peterson comes back in five months, some guys take seven. Every injury is different. Everybody heals differently. But he'll be out the year.

Donavon Clark has had a very ginger back that has really limited his lifting and running. Just getting him healthy and up to speed. We have both those guys in what's considered a full medical status right now where they're not at practice, not at meetings, not part of the 105, but we're trying to get them healthy. We're not going to rush Donovan with the back. If he's good enough to get in the mix, he will. My concern is he's missed enough time, I don't know if it's smart, but everybody is different and we'll see how long it takes. But he's missed enough, it's concerning enough, you could see him taking time. Different injury than J Shun, but tender enough we got to be smart.

At the end of the summer, you guys that come to practice notice things, but there's Latham had a scope and hadn't practiced yet. He'll be limited for a couple, three weeks. Had his best summer. He was here this morning. He was ready to answer your questions about his injury. You guys were over there amongst yourselves. You missed that one. What are you doing? Wanted to come to practice.

Had an unbelievable summer. Golly, I'm giving good information. That's a significant story. The story is, hands down he was the best I've ever seen him in work ethic, body ethics, buy in, giving it all he's got, doing the daily, doing a lot of great things players do in preps. I think he'll have a phenomenal year. He'll be a little limited a couple weeks. He has played a bunch. Go see him in drills, he is there. He's part of our active 105 because it's a very, very short term deal.

Zeke Walker, who we got playing outside linebacker, aggravated a back, not near as significant as Donavon Clark's. He's a little limited now. If you see a practice, he's not a full go yet. And T.J. Simmons and Anthony Corsaro are practicing, but we're being very smart. They're coming off of surgeries. We put them sometimes in different colored shirts. They're not really limited. We're just trying to be smart with contact. Corsaro that's a senior, T.J. is a two year starter at linebacker, and smashed their bodies together.

So for the most part coming out of summer, quite honestly about as healthy as we normally have been. You get a glitch or two.

The real issues long term is J Shun, Donovan's status right now, could be a season deal. Those other guys will be good. We got two guys a little limited now and two guys we're being smart with. That's an update on that.

Freshmen for you. We have yet to hit. It's amazing how they look until pads get on, eyes get big, guys start flying around. But to date I wouldn't be surprised, irregardless of what's going on with our team, but a number of all those freshmen have an opportunity to see if they can contribute. We will force that hand. Maybe they'll spit the bit out, maybe they will not.

Isaac James, Mike Majette, Leon Thornton, Nick Westbrook. Our upper level guys with Cam Patrick. We're still waiting to get a final academic clearance which might take another seven or 10 days, but he is here, with Marqui Hawkins. And then Cam's status, too, what we do the first two weeks, we kind of practice the way we practice. We don't get into polishing until about two weeks out and start modifying reps. So everybody is in the same boat. It's not going to deter from our preparation or direction as coaches.

Maybe out of all those six, maybe only two of those guys play, but all six are out there now.

In the offensive line, one of the deeper and better positions we got, I really think Brandon Knight and Simon Stepaniak can get their way into the two deep, maybe two deep that we redshirt, maybe two deep that play. They are very talented guys.

Our tight end position and quarterback position with young guys look very good, but I think we've got depth with Zander, Danny Cameron is looking very good. Nate's back. We have Nate Boudreau, as well. But with Austin and Donovan Hill that's qualified. I like Austin Dorris, the tight end, but I really like the four upperclass tight ends we've got. I like them but I just think they're in a depth situation that they don't maybe see the field. We'll see. Time will tell.

Runningback we talk a lot about Jordan Howard. Again, don't minimize what Devine, Ricky Brookings, Alex Rodriguez will do. We're very excited about Devonte Williams. Some of you guys are. Did y'all see he was playing corner the other day? Y'all caught that the other day? That was him at corner. The runningback we've been talking about. He's going to be an impact guy, but on the other side. We're kind of liking that. That started a couple weeks ago in practice with our development work and all that.

One of the reasons we feel like A Rod, Brookings, all those guys. Again D. Williams can come back and be tailback, all that. He's got a skill set to be slot, he has a skill set to be corner. Some of our drills, we are not allowed to be seven on seven, but we're doing change of direction, turn your hips, moving. I think he has great vibe. I actually think he's a kid that has played runningback, used to getting hit. Will be a little more of a physical DB as well. I'm excited, not that he's starting yet, but he's in the mix talent wise pushing with Fant, Ben Bach, Noel Padmore, all those guys. I really am intrigued with what we'll see out of the matrix there in Devonte Williams.

I respect all freshmen DBs, just like receivers in the mix. Crawford looks good, Cook looks good. Andre Brown's looked really good without pads yet. Tyler Green looks really good. I wouldn't be surprised if all five of those are in the mix. Maybe two, three play, maybe none. I would venture to say a couple, three guys.

Tight end, quarterback, we like the guys. Jacob Robinson is probably sticking out the most. There is depth at D line and linebacker so we might redshirt those guys.

Pre season schedule. Today is the first of uppers, tomorrow is uppers, full pads Monday, then we get into a couple two a days. We'll scrimmage, Saturday the 15th. Is today the 8th, is that right? The 15th we'll get our first big scrimmage. That next midweek we'll have a midweek scrimmage, we'll have another big one on the 22nd, then school starts. So this year two a days gives us basically two days and two weeks, then a week of school, then game week. So it kind of gives you some time to not rush things.

I really like the maturity of our team. We're talking about it in practicing, how to practice hard, but how not to be so frantic, how to have a very mature, positive, progressive pre season. I like the first couple days. Like these guys. See how far we can roll with them.

What you got?

Q. (Question regarding Graham playing cornerback.)
COACH WILSON: At the same time when we talked yesterday, I think the key position outside of kickers or maybe a dynamic run guy, he's good. You put those freshmen in some stressful situations. It's scary, though. We had some years we had to do that. Shane was back there as a young guy.

One of the key positions is, though, those edge guys on the punt team, those first guys down. With the speed and competitiveness, he's got a chance.

And we don't like to we like to play starters. Cody Latimer is covering kicks. Tevin Coleman used to run back kicks. We don't dislike playing starters, but I think it's hard to play more than two teams. Not only that, the wear and tear of practice preparation. So a kid like him that maybe if he's playing enough at corner, any of those guys. If you get him or Chase Dutra playing at safety, if you get him playing a lot and playing on three teams, backing up the fourth team, the fifth, sixth week you start getting a very tired person. He can be a cover person, he can be a return person, but we're looking hard to see maybe if he can be a dynamic guy to get down and make some plays and cover the box.

Great question.

Q. (Question regarding the veteran offensive line.)
COACH WILSON: I think the line, I think the thing that a lot of guys missed, too, is the tight end play. Teddy was a really good tight end. But we got a really good group of four guys that are 6'4", 6'5", 250 to 265. They complement. If you don't have a great tight end presence to run the ball in college, you need a running quarterback. If not, you're going to be a one dimensional (indiscernible) that can try to run it.

You need reach blockers, you need down blockers. Those guys are at the point of attack. They help a ton in protection. And I'm excited about Corsaro and Cooper as seniors. Fuchs is coming along. Danny is healthy. Sean Damaska, 6'6", 255. Then we have a freshman we like. I think the line is good. They have a chance to be. I never think a line is good till the end of year. You can look back and say you did some things.

I like our maturity. I like our buy in. I like Dan Feeney a ton, one of the best I've ever been around talent. Spriggs. I liked the other day when Mark Hill said, These are guys that had a good summer. Jake Reed, fifth year. Wes Rogers, fourth year. Jake Bailey, fourth year. Adarius Rayner, fifth year. When guys like that were making huge gains and buy in, that makes Spriggs and Feeney better because it's a group, it's a group with depth.

So I love the line. There's a nice complementary piece that makes the line better than it is because I think they can give you a lot more. Maybe we do more now, bigger personnel groupings, maybe not. We just had a great talk with our team about quit worrying about beating the guy out that's playing with you, 'cause that's been an issue here. Can be an issue at linebacker. Starting to get a lot of good players with a lot of good depth. Now you got two deep, three deep. Three deep you can go Mike back with Simmons. Marcus, heck of a player that got hurt last year, Greg Gooch. Those are three really good players deserving to play. Well, play well, we'll make a spot for you. That's one of the things we're trying to sell with these young guys.

We're going to use those tight ends, not saying we are going to be big boys all the time, but don't think we have to be spread. When we have Eldridge and Gresham and Clapp and those guys, we had big boys on the field. I'm going to get our defense to do that.

Q. (Question regarding Donavan Hale playing quarterback.)
COACH WILSON: Yeah, watched him initially throwing. He's been here so little, what else do you bring to table at the position with your leadership set and people following you? But, I mean, you know, he really missed all that.

We're not allowed to go seven on sevens. You can go out there and run around some cones, run over some bags, watch effort and body language, this kid has some skill and enough maturity to play. I don't dislike anything; he's still like a little bit of an unknown there.

Q. (Question regarding having two secondary coaches instead of a cornerback and safeties coach.)
COACH WILSON: Well, it was different 'cause it was never co deal because Coach (indiscernible) was a second DB coach. He was in charge of everything. Kind of easy there.

To me I just said, You guys have to check your ego and work together. As an offensive person, I never liked center guards and tackle tight ends. I liked one guy and a guy helping him, them working together. I didn't like a division there because that group works together. As an offense guy watching defense, I go, You're over here, because of your corner, the safety is supposed to do something. Or you're over here looking at a corner, you really don't even see that guy. So you would be better if you spread your knowledge and spread your vision and co worked together because you're working together.

I thought the kids would start to listen to the other coach and say, You're not his coach, you're our coach, and we're doing this together. I just thought it would make it a better deal.

Through spring ball it's been good. But you don't know. It's all feel good fluff right now.

Q. (Question regarding the backfield is a strong side or weak side thing.)
COACH WILSON: No, you know, ask them. You know, I don't know. I don't know. I'm working left and working right. They're looking deciding can the corner play short side in the field or should he always be the short side guy based on your strengths and weaknesses. If one guy is a short side, the next guy is not, that's two different positions. They got to figure all those things out.

Fundamental skill set, Coach Shelby is a little corner oriented, Coach Joseph is a little bit more safety. But they meet collectively together and they're working together. I just think you have, on the feel when I say something, hey, I might have done safety fundamentals, but as a corner I need you to drive on this route. He's going to listen to you instead of saying I just thought it would have chemistry because I think that group has to play together. It's going to be a young group. It's going to be true freshmen, they need to be collective together. I just thought the more they were together, no one in charge, the more they worked as a posse, the better they would play.

Q. (Question regarding Chase Dutra being a leader on defense.)
COACH WILSON: It will be interesting. Great question. He appears to be a guy that likes it, that wants it. He actually came to me to say, Hey, I got this. Maybe it's talk, rhetoric. He's got a lot of self confidence. Comes out of a military family. I think he was a natural pretty good leader for Coach Comer at Brownsburg.

I don't think he shies away from it. Not that he's going to be Mr. Rah rah, Mr. Big Speech Guy all the time, but I don't think he's seeking that, per se, wanting to be anointed I'm your leader, but I don't think he's scared or afraid or hides from it. I think he embraces it.

We've done a lot of work in some of our off season deals. I would say he has good command presence the way he stands and talks, the way he looks. I think he's intelligent enough that he can articulate. He's a great communicator. But the intelligence factor to communicate and get some good things done.

The great thing about leadership, it's nice to talk and be the breakdown guy, a really good leader can get people to do things. If he's a good leader, it's not suggesting, I need something, but it's getting guys to buy in, follow his lead. That will be the proof in the pudding to see if he's a good leader. I think he's up for it.

Q. (Question regarding the team passing the 'look' test so far.)
COACH WILSON: For sure. Whether it be body types, recruiting, development with Coach Hill, the funding we've put in for nutrition, the education we put into nutrition and rest. We got here, we had two kids that could bench 400. We got two that can bench 500 now, power clean four.

You look at our O line, can I get a 300 pound guy, keep his weight there? We're recruiting longer body types. Just looks better.

Still, you know, I'm sure we got a long way to go as a team, a long way to go in football playing ability. We got to coach fundamentals and continue to enhance. But the body types, there's more to do with. That's encouraging. There's more depth. That's encouraging.

We can talk about, if you want to spin the negative side, we lose J Shun, but you're going a lose some guys. Every team does. You have to be good enough to overcome that. We don't need everything to go perfect. We need to be good enough to overcome when it doesn't. Because it's not going to. You're going to get hit in the mouth, get bad breaks, you're going to get a glitch. You've got to be good enough when it's off, things aren't going your way, to still find positive success.

I think these guys might pass the 'look' test, but I think we're getting to a point where hopefully we can be more consistent, which has been our nemesis.

Q. (Question on whether the team could or should be a bowl team.)
COACH WILSON: That's why to me, it should be a successful team. When we got here, our initial definition of success was winning today, which is getting one day better, one day better. We're not going to go public with a lot of goals, but we set some standards pretty high.

We shown we can compete, but we've shown we're inconsistent. You guys saw a couple games early in our season last year. I saw back to back plays from a veteran player one game, then I saw the next week the next play. There it was right there. There was something that we thought that's off the chart great. The very next play was, what happened, that was the inconsistency.

We're human, going to drop balls, throw a bad pass, mix a tackle, humans, a lot of flying parts out there. The consistency side to me, we got to be deep enough, talented enough. You got to be good enough with depth at line of scrimmage that you can control some things a little bit better. You've going to have to have some young guys.

I don't say it has to be a bowl team. We expect it to be a successful team. Successful teams ought to win their first year and we expect to do that.

Q. (Question regarding Devine Redding's role.)
COACH WILSON: Devine has been really, really good. As a young guy, he's younger than you want. But I think he kind of embraces the leadership side, doesn't shy away from it. Doesn't necessarily say, Hey, I got it. With Jordan transferring in, not knowing guys, I think Devine was really good in January, February, getting the group going. You go back and look at that game against Missouri, it was a tremendous complementary piece that game.

You know, you're going to need, again, more than one quarterback, more than one tailback. We had some success last year with DeAngelo Roberts making some huge plays at critical times in critical games. Like I told today, the Oklahoma contingent, you know DeMarco Murray is pretty good. We had Chris Brown, a thousand yard back on the same team.

If you're good, we're going to get you on the field, we're going to use you. We're going to need two or three backs, not four. If there's an issue, and Devonte is not doing well, we can bring him back. I think he can be a good runner. I think we're good the way Ricky Brookings, Alex Rodriguez, Andrew Wilson, Tommy Mister. Like I say, we got six there.

Counting a lot on Jordan and Devine to see how much they want. I think Jordan is good. I think Devine is going to be really good. But it will be interesting to see how much they want when you start feeding them the ball. Do you really want it? Where are you going to bring it day after day? You knew Tevin was going to bring it. We started to get some really consistent things out of DeAngelo. Year before it was Stephen Houston. You knew what you had, you could use them. Until you get in games, their consistency, toughness, taking care of the ball, protections. I'd like to think those two guys. Bullets fly, everything is fluff now. Bullets start flying, maybe some things will change. We'll see.

Q. (Question regarding Jordan Hawkins and Devine Redding's differences and similarities.)
COACH WILSON: They're all, in general, I think stronger. Now, I think Jordan's got more speed than people think. We've clocked him well. I don't know if it's football fast. Some guys can run track fast, football speed fast. I think across the board there's more strength. We have a couple kids that are 400 pound benchers in that group. Jordan went up 70 pounds in his bench since he got here. I think they're stronger runners. Whether they'll be the flash and all that deal, I don't know. Tevin was a home run guy. Went with a bunch of nickels.

We'll see. Some of those big plays will be coming with passing the game, keeping safeties deep and receivers blocking. And you do lose some home run speed with Tevin. He had a chance if there's a crease, you can take an eight and get you 80. We'll see.

Q. (Question regarding how you will defend the pass.)
COACH WILSON: As good as Tevin was, Adrian Peterson, they were so fast, sometimes they missed some things. Some of the good backs got a little pace. Maybe they're not home run hitters. But Coach Walker's analogy years ago, you get a bunch of nickels. I think some of those guys just have nice feel, nice feet, nice balance, nice pad level. I think they're pretty good there.

Q. (Question not in queue.)
COACH WILSON: A huge question. But I think it will just be more play making, consistency, dependability of the young skill, whether it be Devine and Jordan we think are good. In our world are you big team good week in, week out? Simmie Cobbs still being young. Rickie Jones has looked great. As a freshman, we thought Ricky was going to be really good. Broke an ankle. He is back looking like to where he's going to make some plays.

Outside of Chase Dutra, there's some good players, but you don't have a lot of reps. Can they hold up and practice and prepare and play week after week after week?

So beginning to pass, I would say the dependability of young guy's skill. I think that front and those quarterbacks, backers, tight ends, there's a lot of comfort there. Not that we're going to be an old school smash, we're going to shut everybody down, because the game is played in space. Everybody can lay the backs on you. If they can load the box on you and defend you one on one, you have trouble. If you can't defend one on one, can't load the box, you're this trouble. It's all numbers and matchup.

I think the real issue is the talented young guys, are they ready for it.

Q. How much of an advantage is it that you're in your fifth year that everyone in the program are kids that you recruited?
COACH WILSON: I don't know if it's been really significantly awkward, tough, frustrating, negative, whatever, non positive. The last couple years hasn't been that bad. I think if you talk to guys like Mangeiri, Jake Reed, older guys, Feeney, those guys, I think they would say that the old guy buy in is even stronger, and their message throughout the locker room is probably stronger than it used to be.

So I don't think there's been a lot of negativity or bickering or distress. I think there's a stronger buy in. There's more confidence in each other, what we're trying to do, what we want you to do, ability within themselves.

They seem to be pretty consistent across the board in things we like to do, how we do it. I don't think it's bad, I think it's better because of a huger trust factor, really with the old guys as much as anything.

Q. (Question regarding having an experienced quarterback like Nate Sudfeld.)
COACH WILSON: Yeah, you know, you say that. He's only started really a season of play. Whether it be the splitting time earlier or the injury and all that stuff he's had. To me he's a very experienced, very talented, a lot of upside guy. I think there's a lot of football in front of him, a lot of positive in front of him, a lot of growth in front of him.

I think the best thing for him, though, we had a couple leadership questions, he said again last night at an alumni function. Him being out last year, forcing him to be a leader, that's all he could do. He had to learn to lead in the weight room. He used to be really good on seven on seven. Let's go, I'm going to throw this shot there, do this, you do that. He would direct when the ball was in his hand.

Last year, those three, four months, he had to be the director without the football in his hand. When you're the quarterback, a senior, a great leader, they're watching you all the time.

Young quarterbacks say, Nate, when you come in the weight room, if you're not working hard, I see that. Hey, let's go. I think he embraced those things. He's been awesome off the field. He works so hard in that capacity. I think now he can naturally do a lot of things comfortably and get back to working on football because I think he's a very talented, very veteran yet young player that has a bunch of upside. That to me is exciting and encouraging.

Have a great day, guys.

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