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September 5, 2015

Kevin Wilson

Bloomington, Indiana

Southern Illinois - 47
Indiana - 48

COACH WILSON: All right. Again, proud of the guys to battle away in the second half. And got caught a little low, tempo flat-footedness and unsound things which is obvious with some uncovered receivers we let go through and got to work a little bit.
I thought the way we played defensively in the third quarter is what we've seen. Offensively, again, good performances by Jordan, Ricky Jones, getting those guys kind of going, in out, Nate is close, a lot to build on, it's got to be better. Southern Illinois, again, a team we have a lot of respect for. Played well.
Fortunate to win but at the same time I think I told the team afterwards, I was kind of concerned, like don't take victory for granted. For what you did and the circumstances you were in, and to make some plays at the end, to get the victory is encouraging, something we are going to build on. With that, we'll open up for questions.

Q. How is the health of your team?
COACH WILSON: Not bad. We kind of told you as far as who -- we have a couple minor deals where some guys maybe coulda or shoulda or didn't practice enough. Our doctors go through a fringe, for example, we ever a guy with concussion, they want to get him back to clear.
But in our world, then you have to practice to make sure you're fundamentally sound and good enough. You've missed eight, ten, 12, 14 practices and okay, like now you're full go but there's rust. To me there's some guys that we kind of felt, again, nothing major, we kind of alluded to that, and we'll kind of be there as we go forward.

Q. How is Chase?
COACH WILSON: He's had an injury. Couldn't go.

Q. What was it?
COACH WILSON: An injury.

Q. Will he be back next week?
COACH WILSON: We'll see. Again, he'll need to practice. In my world, if you miss the bulk of -- again, a solid guy but between we kind of like some of those young guys. Again that wasn't his guy at tight end. That was -- those tight ends down the middle were not Chase's guys or Chase would have been on the field. That was not him.
I thought Keonte (ph) played in. Again we'll be fine with Crawford, a young guy. Chase, we'll see, I don't think it's major but it kind of happened during the week and slowly just didn't have anything, so we'll see.

Q. How much of an advantage do you think was the absence --
COACH WILSON: Well, I think the only thing because we didn't get stops, and like our offense -- I didn't like our offensive second possession. One of those games where we didn't get them on schedule the first half, you know, at all. They were, what, they were 7 of 9, and we blocked a field goal and then they go for it. And if they can get a fourth down -- so there's no stops. And because of that, we played too many snaps, and being a little bit thin, I think they exposed.
Again, our coaches, I thought we did a really good job last week in our preparation of not over-preparing, not trying to burn our guys out. I think we practiced great but I think we're fit enough, maybe hurt the rotation, but at the same time, too, I always laugh when people say your offense hurts the defense. Hey, you can go three-and-out. You can go three-and-out. That was our problem the first half. They were 7 of 9 on third downs and they worked us and had basically 400 yards of offense and had the football and that's embarrassing and we have to clean it up.
Those bodies will help but at the same time, if they are not making plays -- again, we have to work a little. We got called things, and their multiple quarterback deal responsibilities, and they are young guys. We just got few guys clean, really cleaned it up. Couple big plays in the second half. Again, I think if we can eliminate those big plays, which we should, you'll see the defense better than it has been, should be, will be.

Q. What was your message to the team at that time half-time?
COACH WILSON: It was kind of frantic. Before we went out, I just stopped everybody. As a matter of fact I had a strength coach give them a win-one-for-the-gipper speech, and I just said, let me say something real quick: Would you just slow down, play one play, take a deep breath, can't change what happened and what are you doing next.
Like I say, we were pretty good in the third quarter til we gave up a couple plays in the fourth quarter. We made some adjustments that helped but really just calmed down. Again these kids have worked hard enough, sometimes I think they squeeze a little too tight and they get real and start backpedalling and all that deal. Just slow down. We have a really good deal. I was a little -- again, you need to enjoy that W now, because there's going to be a lot more coming, so don't take winning for granted. They will have a tremendous year and I believe our football team will, too.

Q. Where is this program, you had to suspend nine players, struggled today. Is this a program ready to make a move? Is this a program with an issue --
COACH WILSON: Oh, I don't know. I mean, to me, the way those guys have been going about their deal, I think, again -- I had a guy one time that missed a class nine times, ten times and missed a workout.
So that guy didn't start and he got mad and left the school. You want me to start him? So if guys don't want to do things properly, we handle it, and we've handled it.
We've dealt with it and we're good with it. Again, like I say, there is a positive vibe with that crowd and there better be and I think there was a little frustration, like oh, disappointment or, hey, you expect -- but none of that. Don't take advantage of what happened and let's learn and keep grow. We have to tighten that group and they will take care of each other. We're humans and we can mess up and in this day and age, so many things can happen. A lot of good things in that group and I have a lot of respect for the way they handle their business and I think they are going to have a great year.

Q. Inaudible.
COACH WILSON: I don't know, we might have some between now and then. Somebody in college football is doing something stupid tonight, I can guarantee it. Hopefully it's not 47408 but that's the world we in: 80 percent of Americans, 80 percent of college students, 80 percent of college athletes drink. That's why we talk to our guys about lifestyle and how to give up some things and how to be a great team to recover.
We'll see. I promise you, we're going to put 11 out and play hard and not give up like those guys did today. If there was a problem, the team would have folded. There's not a problem. The team has to play better.

Q. Coaching --

Q. Did it involve drinking and drugs --
COACH WILSON: Class, you name it -- I don't know. We're good.

Q. The punt they blocked for a touchdown, was that a blocking issue?
COACH WILSON: Again, yes, it was. It wasn't the timing or the snap and the time -- as a matter of fact, for Eric to come back, we over-skied the one kick, one was a nice performance at the end. We kind of -- it was -- those are things that happen when you get in these games and get on the short side of the stick.
There was a perfect storm that could have blew up against us and we battened down the hatches and boarded up the windows and kind of weathered it out and that was good to see. Something we need to clean up.

Q. They played --
COACH WILSON: GOOD. I tell you what I liked. He was pretty demanding on the sideline. Like, I want this and this. What we did in practice -- they are lining up differently. I don't want that. Give me in this one. Give me this one. And it was good and it was very calm. It was like, hey, just give me boom, boom. What I see is what I see is what I want and let's do it and he was right on.

Q. Looks like he did the option better, got that going.
COACH WILSON: We talked about, we set up options, when he pulls it out. There's one on the goal line I thought maybe we should have -- like I say, we have to clean some things up as coaches. Those third down calls, some of it is execution but a lot of it is our choices. And we put them in, I thought one time, they were in an internal blitz and we could get outside on third and four and five, got close to going fourth down, took a wide run, chance, and we lost four yards and we punted, and that was a bonehead call, hindsight 20/20.
We have to protect Nate and he has to protect himself but you have to defend the field and defend every player and that was good to see. Good to get the tight ends a couple catches. Good to get the backs in the pass game. We are going to keep playing a lot of guys and defensively we have to get a lot of guys back in the mix and get a lot of guys playing for us.

Q. First game back from his injury?
COACH WILSON: He's practicing well. I would probably say -- and I think some of this, though, I think the first game, a couple of the receivers got a little jittery just with spacing, timing. Really great to see Jones play the way he played, and it was great to see that as an old guy. I think Samy (ph), even though he's a second-year guy and Nick and some of the young guys we have out there, Mitchell Paige, his first time playing a lot. There's a lot to clean up with and as those guys keep singing well -- but Nate played well and I think he's going to have a great year.

Q. Inaudible.
COACH WILSON: That was my call.

Q. That was call?
COACH WILSON: We I go, do it again -- I was glad he didn't score, too. Wanted to take off a little bit more time. I don't take credit for calls, but, hey, thanks.

Q. That sequence at the end, was there a thought -- was there ever a thought to try and waste a little bit of time when you got down on the one?
COACH WILSON: That's why I took it down to the zero one to call the time out, and I don't know, I mean, you still -- I'd be cautious of like trying to not score on a play. I guess you say you always score too fast but there's a point in time -- in the defense room, they need to stand up on their own.
So for me to say I know -- there's a point in time -- if they score, they are going to go for two, right now, when we have kick -- I said no, we say guys, if they score, they are going for two, you have to to be ready. We ran the play. They ran for two points six, seven times in a row one day in practice because that's the universal two-point play of football. We ran it when I was in college, it's called 574 halfback, same play, hasn't changed.

Q. The defense played better in the third quarter after a rough first half. What did they do better?
COACH WILSON: One, I think we got settled in because they came out with some end over (ph), unbalanced multiple groupings, so who is where. And so we just fitted wrong a couple times. First play, it's a high motion, the guy steps with a motion and we are one short on a back and something to clean up. Again, credit to those guys. They had a nice game plan. They worked us good and they executed good.
Then I thought once, hey, we are two-for-nothing with blitz -- when we blitz, a couple of those, we cut some guys loose and that was kind of my play. You guys are sitting flat-footed. Be aggressive and come at them more to get some second and third-and-longs. When we did that, and they took advantage and because we had not practiced it properly -- I think at half-time they slowed down and talked to them.
And I think as much as anything, we talked to the kids about slowing down and playing one play and play each play hard and let's just go out and play one play first. And then offense, I told the offense, hey, you're going to be in like a four-down mentality at the gate, I plan on punting and let's be very aggressive and go from there.

Q. Mike went down on one knee --
COACH WILSON: He's had a cramp. He came back and played. He just had a cramp, got a couple bags of IVs at half and came back.

Q. You had I think Crawford might have saved a touchdown on the first play of the game -- two-point conversion, how important were those?
COACH WILSON: One of the plays to watch, the one time we busted coverage -- work as hard as he could, three times in practice, caught us from behind, we ran 70,80 yards trying. Snap again mentality.
Again we have to tighten up a lot of stuff for sure. We have to do a significantly better job, and it's disappointing. But again, the way the kids battled is unbelievably encouraging and they are a phenomenal group of dudes and they are going to play well. We have to coach a lot better, it's obvious in all phases and we he will. But those kids buy in. The chemistry of the team is very solid, the a strong buy-in and what we did for us was unusual, because like last year, we've been in places where we could implode and we stopped imploding and now we have started progressing. It's time to see that.

Q. The way you're running game --
COACH WILSON: Like I said for a couple three years, we've got a really good offensive line and the tight end group I think is good. So for example, if you don't catch tight end, think there are not any good players, if a tight end caught six balls in a game, that's 72 balls in a year and that's almost like All-American status. But what are you doing the rest of the game? Game is 70, 80, 90 snaps, so if you only catch six balls, what is the rest of the game.
Tight ends are always at the point of attack, when they are back side and all of the penetration, those reached blocks -- so when you're really running the ball, when you have big people that can capture edges, help new protections, take the edge off of rush, it makes the line so much better.
Like I say, that group, again we have a great group with James and Greg Frye, you have a couple of German (ph) up-front coaches and they can coach it up and get their kids playing hard. We keep bringing the skill along -- and that's why I think we have a positive vibe. Again, excited to win. Very complimentary to southern Illinois and sure they will have a good year and we'll have a good year, as well. See you guys soon.

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