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September 7, 2015

Kevin Wilson

Bloomington, Indiana

COACH WILSON: Good to see you. Let's go back through, again, last week. Looking at it, to me it was a tough, hard-fought victory. If we had one concern as much as any after the game, again, I don't know if our kids were as excited, even though they didn't play good, to take winning for granted. It's one-possession games that don't go your way. To make enough plays, to come from behind in battle, I congratulated the guys, a lot of respect for our players. I thought our effort was very, very good. Thought we did a decent job at halftime making some adjustments, made the plays we needed to.

From an offensive standpoint we were just under 600 total yards. Nate had 395 total himself with pass and run. Jordan Howard with 145, 7.2, three TDs. I think it's the most yards by a first-year perform, although he's a junior. I wouldn't call him a freshman.

Ricky Jones, he's been back to playing good, had six catches for 186, and a touchdown. Those performances, those guys had some great, great stat numbers.

As an offense we had no turnovers. I think it's the first time since our Missouri victory last year. We had no sacks, which was good to build on.

We were poor on third downs. Two years ago we were decent. Last year very, very poor. We played this game very, very poor in third downs. Again, we've worked a lot on that in practice. Whether it be play calling, execution, making the adjustments, attacking the scheme, we've got to tighten that down.

We did have four times that we crossed the 50 for scoring opportunities and we only got six points out of four of those trips. Twice we punted and twice we had field goal ops. Again, it can be close. You move the football, but you don't get points, can definitely work against you.

Offensive players of the game, Jordan Howard and Ricky Jones. We had winning performances out of a lot of players that we thought played decent. Nate Sudfeld, Jordan, Devine Redding we felt played very well. Ricky Jones. We thought Michael Cooper did a very solid job for us at tight end.

Wes Martin in his first start, no MAs, played very hard, pretty good for a redshirt freshman. Dimitric Camiel. Those guys also had really good weeks in practice. Backed it up.

Jake Reed, our senior center, did well. But he had three snaps. It was just some of the timing. When you're doing some catch and throw or read, when you have to manage the snap, it can really throw your timing off. Performance blocking was winning, but snap issues we want him to clean up and we expect him to.

Our scout players of the week, defense it was Tony Thomas, who is a senior, fourth-year walk-on. Outside back that really played some defensive line. A great kid. And Reakwon Jones, freshman linebacker, did a great job on our scout looks.

Defensively, again, very, very poor. Not acceptable. Structure and preparation by our staff is not close to what it needs to be and we're trying to address that immediately.

Our players' effort, our buy-in, is awesome on that side, legit. But there are some things that I think need to happen that I want to see from the way we're doing business. The way we have our staff here, we have four offensive coaches, me being one of them. Not that I got answers other than I know how I want it to look. That's my problem defensively. I can't give you a defensive answer but I know what I want it to look like. We're going to work really hard to get some things. I just expect to see putting our kids in positions to make some plays because their effort, their desire, their talent is plenty good enough for us to be much, much better than we were on defense.

I say that because of the way they practice. I know they go against our own. Nate's comments to me was, Against us, they were in my face the whole day. Practice was hard.

But I think our offense has a few good players. I think we can do a few good things on O. Again, taking it to game day, whether that be in a communication way of getting it called and seen. Because in practice sometimes you script it, you know what's going on. The game's unscripted. It's right now. You don't have two hours to get your practice plan right, you got six seconds and you better get it in and you better be lined up because here they come again, here they come again.

Or is it, Nate Sudfeld, he is a great player, it's Nate. I know Nate. I can sit on his out cut because you know the guys. You know what I mean? I know Dan Feeney is a great player. Now you got to get in the game.

Sometimes is it the transfer of you know the guys in practice. You make the game and opponent bigger. They might be a little bit of both. We'll see.

Our third quarter performance was really solid. We tried to play hard, one play. Two takeaways, caused by Marcus Oliver, he did both of them on caused fumbles. Concerns, we only had one sack, let alone the total yards and points we gave up. One sack. Not enough pressure on the quarterback.

We had busted coverages mainly by linebackers in some deals. It wasn't DBs that got us but some linebackers. Sometimes you got to play those guys in position. You got to play the runner, cover this guy. We got to look at some thing to help those kids out.

Only two tackles for loss. Again, if you can't get them on schedule, get them negative. They were seven of nine on third downs in the first half. Very manageable third downs. First down and second yard D we have to pick up.

They had 16 plays of 10-plus yards, we had 21. They had 16 plays of 10-plus yards. We had two two-minute opportunities that we were 0-2, first half and second half. Again, plus 50, make a third down, stop a third down. Those are point stops. When you're on the 35 yard line, you hold them on third down and 10, that's a seven-point or three-point opportunity. We talk a lot about that. We've worked a lot on that. To give up 14 points in two two-minute situations was disappointing.

Our defensive player of the game was Nick Mangieri. 11 tackles, awesome, phenomenal energy, great week of practice. Good to see out of a senior vet. The only other player defensively we gave a winning grade to was Zack Shaw. He flew around, looked very good.

Our scout players, the offensive guys, really two guys I was glad to see them do well, Isaac Griffith and Camion Patrick. That is kind of encouraging because those are two guys where they went through some things where they didn't have good news. To be in that situation, go out and practice well, was a great thing to see.

Special teams we gave up nine points. We actually ran the fake that they ran, like they run a little swinging gate, two-point deal, then you move in. We moved in, ran a fake. I said, Listen, just because it looks like a fake, they move it in, they can still fake. We actually ran that in practice and had it covered in practice. Same one they had a two-point play. When you're in a one-possession game, that two-point play, play is worth points.

We got a blocked punt. We got to get Coach Patton on it to get it addressed. It's personnel but also maybe scheme. I think we're putting some guys in position that we need to clean that up. Again, that was a seven-point play. Gave up nine points in the kicking game. Our kickoff return got beat by their team. We had basically no special team players in the game. We lost the field position battle. We gave up points. That needs to pick up.

The main reason it needs to pick up is we have too many starters playing special teams, so some of your walk-on players and second-team players, third-team players need to practice better and get on the field. They need to get on field not just for this game but for the wear and tear of the kids' bodies come November. If you're practicing punt team, you're Marcus Oliver and T.J. Simmons on kickoff, you're playing all the plays at Mike backer, then you're running down the field every week in practice for scout kickoff coverage, it's a lot of wear and tear on your body. We need some of our young players to pick it up there. If not we'll keep playing our veterans. I think that it does hurt us as we move forward.

I want to quick address, not in a bad way, but after the game the comments of nine guys suspended. We had nine guys not available. If they were suspended they wouldn't have dressed, they wouldn't have traveled. They weren't allowed to play in the game. Our decision. Our program has standards we live up to. And when you miss the game, you miss the next game.

So if you're a redshirt last year, couldn't play last year, that might have happened 18 months ago. When is your next game? Because you missed the next game. Something happens tonight, you'll miss Saturday. So you miss the next game.

So nothing's happened in the last week, month, two months. There's no issues. Say again, there are no issues with these guys. They're kids. There are issues 'cause they're kids, but there's phenomenal buy-in. They know the lay of the land. They know where they're at. They're doing a great job. We moved forward this summer as a family. It's the best group we've had.

I got nothing else to say about that. I want to say it so you guys don't feel like popping it up.

Other thing I'll say on that real quick. Pay for a guy to go to summer school, doesn't got to class and fails it, what do you do? You got a guy missing morning workouts in the spring, what do you do? Guy fumbles the ball in a game, Tevin Coleman, what do you do? We have standards we stay by. If you don't hold your standards, there's certain penalties that come with standards. You can over-read into it. Those guys weren't allowed to play. We'll see if they are this week.

Moving forward to Florida International. Coach Turner was at Illinois for a long time. Tremendous offensive mind through the years. They had a great win over Central Florida. Played them Thursday night. They've had nine days to get ready for us. Nine days. They had a great win over those guys.

They have a very solid offensive plan. I know Coach Turner's background well. You can say it's a pro-style offense, and it is, but there's also college zone read, the run game of the quarterback which we saw last week, some of the play-actions. You can see some of the two-play calls, the pro style, the way the thing works. Very solid offensively.

Defensively is really the strength of their team. They held Central Florida to 46 yards rushing. Very aggressive and attacking downhill. A lot of things I like to get our guys into how they're playing.

Total domination for four quarters the other night in that game. They played really good defense a year ago. It was a really good defensive team. They're building the program, getting their offense intact. Their offense is much more mature. Their defense looks better than it was a year ago.

Very solid and sound in the kicking game. Expect it to be a strong challenge and we'll see if we can grow. The most important thing we told our guys to do in that game is what do you do next. What's next is Florida International, what's next is this week of preparation. One game at a time.

Again, we're pleased we're 1-0. We got a lot of work to do. Everybody says you improve from week one to week two. We just need to keep improving. I know we will, believe we will.

I expect a great game. I know it's a strong opponent coming in. There's going to be a bunch good ones. 8:00 Saturday night.


Q. Status of Chase?
COACH WILSON: We haven't done anything. Injury there last week, not anything that required surgery. Going to see where he is. Thought Kiante played well. We won that game because of a freshman, John Crawford on a field goal block. That is a bang-bang play on the goal line with Andre Brown.

My opinion, based on what they called on the field, I think that's what they would have called if he would have caught that ball. Bang-bang right on the line.

Q. (No microphone.)
COACH WILSON: I don't know. It was right at the line. If the guy said this, it would have been good. If the guy said this it would have been no good. It looked like a bang-bang play. End of the game you have Jameel Cook playing defense. You got Crawford, some true freshmen. Those guys played well.

Even though we'll see where Chase is, I thought Kiante and Tony Fields all played. Jonathan Crawford is going to be a very fine football player. He did really good. He showed up a lot. Made some mistakes but he shows up a lot.

Q. The FIU either led the nation in forcing turnovers in the red zone. What did they do and what will they do again? What makes them dangerous when your offense gets into the red zone?
COACH WILSON: Starting the game plan, as we start, of course you go back. They got a new D coordinator came from Pitt. Some of these early games are hard. Like you're watching Pitt film. Then you're watching last year's team. The scheme we're playing. Really you got one go, Central Florida.

Sometimes you're going to defend different teams differently based on what they do. So are you wasting time? You're getting the feel of maybe tendencies. Are they blitzing a lot once they get in that 25 or 20 area? Sometimes it's just fortunate, luck of the draw, the plays that are called. Guy got loose with a ball, guy got a tipped ball.

A lot of teams get aggressive and blitz down there. Is that why? I haven't studied the game plan for you to say that's why. But we know this, mistakes can happen. Mistakes in the scoring zone. That's why I talk about crossing the 50 yard line and not scoring. When you get scoring opportunities and don't score, you get on the wrong side of the scoreboard.

We're five for five in the scoring zone. Disappointed when we got the one field goal on the five yardline. Could have been five for five TDs. You want those seven-point deals.

Q. (No microphone.)
COACH WILSON: He took a hit to his head. Again, in this day and age, he appeared good after the game. We have as a conference actually spotters in the game. As a matter of fact he tried to get up. I was walking on the field. He put his head on a guy's knee, made a pretty good play. Looked like a knee-to-head contact. I was walking out to stop the game. They're supposed to have a spotter that I'm sure was going to do it anyway. I'm like, Looks like he has a head right here.

Looked like he came back quick. Sometimes what they do, they'll start working him out. If you work out quickly and you reaggravate your head injury, that will really slow you down. It will be interesting to see where he's going to be.

He looks like he could be day-to-day, but that's part of practice. Once you start practicing, running around, it could go this way real quick, too. We'll see.

Q. In terms of communication on the field, younger guys in the defense, what can you do to shore that up?
COACH WILSON: Talk on it now. As much of it, for example, my comment was in practice, as coaches, you need to not talk and give them the cause. You need them to talk. The players, defensive players in a meeting, I said, Tell me how many times in practice you hear the coach call the defense. In the game you don't hear blah, blah, blah.

No-huddle deal, we'll move away from the offensive to signal. If I'm telling a guy or Coach Johns is telling a guy to play, I want him to see it and learn to communicate on his own.

I think one of the things as coaches, I don't think it's a young guy issue, I think it's our ability as he goes from A to B to C to D. How many times can it travel? How fast can it travel to get signaled, to get communicated out? We're looking at some ways to improve that because it needs to.

I think it can be as much handled as much from the staff as by the kids. We do a lot in practice communication, too. Like right now, notice how many times during this deal, they got a bad phone or they're on Twitter. I say that because people don't talk. If you don't believe me, if you're an older dude like some of us, go to an airport. They sit there and talk. Sitting there doing this the whole time, nobody talks.

We do a lot of things in practice, like in warmups, where we echo calls. It's to get our people to talk. We think kids in general don't talk a lot. They text their roommate sitting in the room versus having a conversation.

We're trying to get our meetings to be that way where there's more communication in the meeting. Not a coach talking, but getting your players to talk. There's things as a coach we can do to talk less and force the players to talk more. I think there's some things we can do in our coaching schematics of how to go from A to B to C to D to get it quicker.

Q. You said the structure preparation at staff level needs to change.
COACH WILSON: I think the way we practice. We like to choreograph everything. I don't think the game is choreographed. Defense is trained reaction. You have these battle plans. First play, wad it up and throw it away because the plan never works. You have to adjust. That's what we did at halftime a little bit, adjust. You know what I'm saying?

Mike, I've been telling them for several weeks is that you need to get comfortable being uncomfortable. I made a comment to the defensive coaches, I think you should go to practice without a script, feel how unprepared you are and now solve your problems. Don't go out there with all the answers. Go out there with no info. What happens now is you get on your heels, you get static. Calls get in late, there's missed communication because you're in a reactionary mode.

That's the gist of the no-huddle. The teams on defense they flip and go the other way. They found ways to attack the no-huddle. We have to find a way to be a little bit more aggressive.

You can talk till your blue in the face, but you still got to make plays. Again, we'll do some things structurally different maybe, but not a lot. There's a lot of things we do structurally good. We got to get him lined up, get their eyes in the right place.

I asked a defensive player the other day, What are you saying?

I'm trying to see it all.

Bad answer. You know your eyes are right there. The late Bill Stewart years ago, Chapel Hill, GA on the driving range, said, Wilson, I'm killing it, crushing the ball.

Where are you aiming?

I'm hitting it out there, big old field. What are you doing? It's right there.

You got to get right on certain things. I had Sudfeld stand up. What pass plays did you like?

He goes, I liked it all.


Because I didn't know what was open.

I said, What did you like Saturday?

He said, I wanted this, I wanted this, I wanted this.

You get specific. You got kids, it's getting them to slow down, get your eyes where they're supposed to be, quit trying to do too much, or quit coaching them to do too much. Get it to where all 11 guys are working together. We'll be fine.

Q. Your protection on that one punt block. The field goal in the fourth quarter, looked like they partially blocked that, too.
COACH WILSON: Our snap times were good. Both issues are alignment, spacing, edge issues, where if you can get some -- new snappers, the get-off times that we want, like the punt that was blocked was 2.02 and we wanted 2.0. Two-hundredths less than the ideal time.

You could almost tackle him he's so clean. Short side, backside. We got to address that and clean that up with our splits or with our scheme.

I think the field goal, again, our wing got suckered down a little bit. When he stepped, he did the old proverbial, he moved the outside foot. It's six inches shorter because you're blocking the end guy with time. The shorter that edge, the less time. That was just a time deal.

Q. I think Virginia Tech coaches talked about being able to potentially fine players. Do you have any thoughts on down the road rather than spending players you fine players.
COACH WILSON: Whatever. I mean, so for example you can be on full scholarship. Room and board, right? We can stick you back in the dorm and eat the food over there. We don't have to give you the value. If you're a freshman, you can live off campus. You get the value to go live in an apartment.

They don't like that. There are things like that. You got to make sure. There's legal issues. You don't have to pay for summer school. I like to give them May off. A lot of kids want to be here for May. I have the apartment over there. It's like my rent check.

I mean, they're getting some good deals. I'm not into that we need to change the recruiting calendar. These kids are committing early. I kind of wish we had an August signing day so you could lock them down and know if they are really committed or not.

There's some of us as coaches that have kids committed, maybe we would not even send the scholarship paper out, let alone the kid send it back to you. Everybody is committing, but everybody is still shopping around.

I kind of wish the way the calendar was, I wish we had the ability to get a little bit more information. I don't want a combine. But you have to give a guaranteed, no-cut contract. But you can't drug test a kid before he gets here. So what have you got coming in?

There are certain family lifestyles now that some of their lifestyles, it's not just a little bit of the time and age that we're in, whether things are legal or not legal. You got to get a kid right. He's got lifestyles where he's been around it, whether it be his family, his siblings, whatever. You now you need him to get straight. So many kids are underage drinking, hard drinking. You got to get them straight.

I don't know what the penalties need to be. I think we got to be smarter on that. It's difficult to be a college athlete, especially when you're a Power 5, Big Ten Network, everything is covered, nothing's off the record. Everything you do is public across the board. It's difficult.

When I was an aide, I told Anthony today, I was an 18-year-old high school senior, North Carolina, 1979. October 23rd is my birthday. So that Friday I was a school bus driver. I drove the school bus that morning. I was a school bus driver. Made $2.83. They outlawed it in '84. All the high school kids drove the buses.

I could play in a high school football game, and I could actually after the game go buy beer as an 18-year-old in 1979. I'm not saying that was right. That was the law. Not that a kid should drive buses now, not that a kid should be drinking at 18. The laws are changed. You got to abide by the law. Whether it be the laws, the society system, whatever, our school, whatever, our department, our team. It's just tough for these kids. They got to deal with it.

Our deal is teaching them how to be more mature and more man. I think they should have a boatload of fun in college. This is a phenomenal college town to have fun at. A great college to be at. They have to do it in a way that's very mature and very respectful.

We're also talking a lot to them a lot how to take care of their body. There are some things you can do Saturday that really hurts your preparation next week. How much is in your tank to be good at practice? How much sleep are you really getting? You can have a little bit of fun, if you're not going to play good this week, you better eat this tonight, you better be careful what's coming on, because you got to come back and have another good week.

The good programs and kids, I read a comment that J.J. White had. You guys might have saw it. Hey, I'm going to bed at 8:30. The lifestyle sucks but I got one chance.

We're telling kids, you get one chance to play college football. You can change degrees, majors, shoot, you can do lots of things in your life differently, but you can't come back and play the college football experience. It's a one-time, four-year window. The more you get it right, because there's not a lot of do-overs, we're saying you can have a little bit more fun, give yourselves a chance.

As hard as these guys have worked, we're working hard on telling them the dos and don'ts, but to be a winning great player, these are choices that can pay many benefits as watching video, having a good summer.

Q. Jordan Howard, how much does it do for the offense to have him and Devine? Opens the playbook up.
COACH WILSON: That's a good question. They made a couple. I don't know if they got the home run, 80 or 90, like Tevin. Jordan is a bigger dude. That guy falls forward a lot. Those twos go to fours, they get you better third downs. Those two-yard plays are five, those five-yard plays are seven. It keeps the chains moving.

We're not a three-yard cloud of dust. I don't think he's a big, bruising back. I think he's got good feet, vision, nice feel. He is a lot like Steven. Steven was a bigger guy. Jordan is bigger than Steven.

But to be a big guy, Steven had some feet and a little bit of quickness about him. Jordan has a little bit of that skill set.

I just like the fact we had one play, we thought we caught him in a blitz we could run around it. We had one third down, we didn't get, had to punt one time. Our right tackle mis-heard the play and he pass blocked the run play. We lost four yards. He just thought he heard something he didn't hear. When it happened, I said, Man that, was a dumb call. I can't believe I did that. When I watched the tape, I went, Aah.

Communication, we had two words that sounded exactly almost alike. We had one word that meant pass, and the verbiage was so close. What's that called, the vowel, is it long and short? One was long and one was short. They sounded so much alike, kind of got us there.

I wasn't a great English student back in the day, by the way FYI.

Q. (No microphone.)
COACH WILSON: He's been medicaled. Held out a little bit. Going a little bit last night. But he's missed enough that we're kind of getting him back to speed. Not a major deal, but he's been held up.

Q. I heard basically the five guys played almost all the way. Was that because they were playing well or anything else going into that?
COACH WILSON: To me, Bailey, Wes Rogers, when you get Brandon Knight, we think he's the most gifted of all the guys not playing. With that game, getting a little tight, not having a lot of possessions in the first half because our defense didn't get off the field, then you're behind, you get into a one-possession game. Probably Coach Frey was probably riding the horses he had. Nothing from practice or preparation. I mean, I would have told you.

Sometimes it's a little hard to change the center. But that's more for under center. We're in the shotgun so much, you can actually get away with that a little bit more than back in the old days.

Q. What do you see from the pass-rush?
COACH WILSON: Needs to be better. I think, again, from a scheme, sometimes some of our pressures, our rush gets going sideways and can get washed. I want to get it upfield in the quarterback's face. So I just think sometimes we want to do some things with pressure. But when we bring a guy on the left, to my left, your right, everybody goes that way. As you're going sideways, you're going that way and the quarterback is back here, he doesn't feel it. If the blitzer is unblocked, but people blitz so much now, schematically now it's hard to be unblocked. People are going to account for people. Unless somebody has a flat-out blow, typically you get hands on people. I'd like to see a little more verticalness out of our defense if we can find that.

Have a good Labor Day. Thanks for being here.

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