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September 14, 2015

Kevin Wilson

Bloomington, Indiana

COACH WILSON: Going through last game on offense, wining solid performances: Michael Cooper, Jordan Howard, Devine Redding, Dan Feeney. Player of the Game was Jordan Howard.

Going against the offense, the scout look, Brandon Wilson, young, outside linebacker, being a defensive end body from Orlando is doing a great job. Appreciate Brandon's work. But Jordan Howard, player of the game.

Defensively, winning grades by Ralph Green, Nick Mangieri, Jonathan Crawford, Marcus Oliver. Player of the Game there was Marcus Oliver, another outstanding performance.

Scout team player, Simon Stepaniak and Marqui Hawkins is doing a little bit of hybrid running back and trying to get him going on O and some special teams but he's kind working numbers with the scout and doing a good job.

Kicking, made some improvement. Still missed the PAT chip shot. Our sky punt, we punted end zone, a lot of things to keep cleaning up. But out special teams player of the game was Dameon Willis. Showed up well on three of our teams, two of the teams, second game -- inaudible -- kind of showed up but we were more aggressive at special teams, etc.

Offensively, we were poor across the midfield. Didn't manage two clock situations. We put our defense back on the field twice with a chance to ice the game. First game, defensively, we gave up two two-minute drives defensively. This game, we gave up two ice-the-clock drives offensively, things we need to correct as we move forward.

But we did some things third down. A couple times we had some run pass deals where Nate didn't trust it and needed to maybe make a cleaner decision, but he was a little iffy on some looks and we just got to put him in and clean up our package and get some clutter and just call some better plays for us for sure.

Defensively, too many penalties, missed tackles. Got to get us going up there a little bit. Played deep ball a little bit better. Blitzed a little bit more. Got to time up some stuff. Like I say, kicking, missed the PAT, missed a chip shot field goal. Sky punt deal was some things, but a solid performance.

Real quick, before we move on to Western Kentucky, our administration yesterday got notification from the referee that they had made a blunder during the game and apologized for that.

We moved on from that, but I do need to say that because we got recruits, parents; I got my daughter asking me, why I would say something, which was not said. We didn't take a time-out to argue a call. We were letting the clock run down, trying to get them a jump on the sides, thought they did. Take a time out and kick a field goal. So there's no issue with missed calls. It's part of the game.

I actually don't like instant replay. It slows the game down. Hey, he make a call. He catches it or didn't catch it. It's like we are going to do instant replay on a strike or a ball in baseball. Man, call it, go to the next play, freeze it up, let's go.

But we appreciate that but at the same time, just the image of our program and the school and the administration, and like I say, I had no issue with that referee crew at all.

Again we did have penalties. We had two in the first quarter. We had none in the second quarter, none in the third quarter and nine in the fourth quarter. So for three quarters, we had two penalties, but again, that's part of the game. And when you are building your team, you talk to your team about that, don't worry about referees. You go play football. Don't worry about fans. Don't worry about crowds. Worry about what you can control.

And like I say, as a coach, like I'm onto the next thing right then. And we thought might -- we could have got a penalty. We didn't. We let the clock run down, because there was about four minutes left in the first half, or three. We were trying to take time off defensively. We were going to take three and move on down the road, that's just football. We'll keep that. But we do appreciate that ref, moved on, and we'll keep doing well.

Western Kentucky comes in, Bowl team, hot team from last year, putting up a lot of points. Really good in the red zone offensively, playing good red zone defense. Plus four in the turnover ratio. They are creating turnovers, they are not turning it over. Kicked the ball reasonably well. Great returner. Had a kickoff return for a touchdown last game. He's averaging 12 yards a punt return and 44 yards in kickoff return. Their kickoff return team starts on 32. When they are on offense, they start on the 20-yard line. When they are on defense, that's basically a first down plus. So really good in the return game.

Their tight end, Higby, Tampa area, was last week's Mackey Tight End of the Week in college football. Acknowledged, recognized by the Mackey Award group. He's their leading receiver with 11 catches, does a great job with blocking, moving around, multiple formations.

Have a very good running back that has an injury now, but a couple of backs that are very, very good. One of them is a senior that graduated from here and a quality player. The quarterback is outstanding. In his seven-game winning streak, he's 177 out of 254. You saw him throw almost 2,500 yards, 2,475. He has 26 touchdowns and two interceptions in the seven-game winning streak, which is also the fifth-longest winning streak in college football.

The receivers, last year they got one guy with 825, one guy with 765, one guy with 500, one guy with 370. It's a great offensive package.

Defensively their defensive coordinator, Coach Holt, goes back to days at Southern Cal, was defensive coordinator with Pete Carroll, very aggressive schematically, sound, multiple coverage looks. Like Nate says, you've really got to be ready to adjust because you can plan a game plan all you want, but his package has the ability to just kick the front to your tendency. So it will be a great challenge.

Looking forward to playing them at four o'clock. Need a good week of work. They had nine days of prep, they played two games on Thursday, they have been on national TV twice theirs nights and they will be playing here at four o'clock, very, very good football team and a great challenge for our guys. We need to have our best week, keep moving forward. We have a lot to build on and a lot of things we can improve on.

Q. Jordan, having such a good start what makes him special?
COACH WILSON: Well, now, he's not a rookie showing up. So he was seventh in the country last year, so he was a quality player. You can say, oh, he's not playing against as stiff of competition.

Well, he did play some SEC teams, No. 1. And No. 2, well, the blocking is comparable. There's comparable, and if you look in college ball, look at those scores and differences. With player development and with social media and all of the you're-better-than-you-are-attitudes that kids can embrace quickly in college football, there's a lot of close football games.

So he's played good football. So he comes in as a veteran. He's a big back, for sure. But he's got really nice feet. Really good balance of feet in the hole. As fast as Tevin was, and Adrian Peterson was the same way, sometimes that speed is home run speed. But sometimes they are so fast that they actually miss some cuts, and Jordan's got just nice pace.

I don't know what Buck would say, but Coach Walker always used to say, just pace through the mesh, let me get you from A to B, and what God gave you to get going after that. What are you laughing back there for? Always got to acknowledge Coach Buck up here, right, zeroed in. Got a little running back love. Were you a pace-through-the-mesh guy? Pace through the mesh.

And some guys are fast. It's their instincts. But Jordan is a big guy. He's got nice feel, and he really has great quickness and feet for a big guy. He's not a lumbering dude. He's a big dude that's got a little finesse. He catches it well. His pass protection is getting better. He's a good back and I tell you something, Coach McCullough does a great job coaching, he was a great player. That ain't no accident. He was a great player. Look at what he's got going with Steven Houston (ph), camp, we got another guy, I think he's starting tonight and this cat's pretty good, and you see Devine is coming along, Coach McCullough and Coach Hill's guys, that line's good.

At the same time, it's easy to stop the run. There were many opportunities Nate had the other day to still make some pass opportunities in our package, the way we do things where he's got choices. And as well as Jordan ran it, like to see Nate take advantage and continue to stretch it and space it and use all the components. But Jordan is really good. He's a good quality player.

Q. Talk about how well Marcus Oliver is playing, with Tegray coming back this week, what's the dynamic there with those guys? Will they both be on the field at the same time?
COACH WILSON: Yeah, because Marcus can't play the Mike but T.J. Simmons is playing good, we didn't recognize him because he's had a couple plays I wanted -- their linebackers, Coach Inge wanted T.J. to have a winning grade last week and I went, no, I expected a couple more things, a couple things I wanted, I'm holding him to a higher standard.

He's playing good. So you need those guys. You need them all. I really thought, for what it's worth the injury to Marcus Oliver last year was no different than the injury to Dan Feeney two years ago. It's a bigger injury than you think. And that's a quality football player. I know when he came over, his high school coach that I know well, Bob Jacoby, who coached Luke Fickell at DeSales, you know Coach Jacoby, he's coached forever. He said: This guy is as good as Denicos Allen was when he played at Hamilton High School. Denicos was a pretty good player at Michigan State.

And we weren't sure, because Marcus played running back, what he was, played some linebacker. Shoot, he walks in as a freshman, he's good. That injury last year was huge. It will be a blessing moving forward, because now he's a year older. But Marcus is a good player, T.J. is a good player, that's why we moved Gooch. You got Tegray back in the mix, who maybe is the best of all of them.

And it's no different, that you got Jordan and Devine last year; two years ago was Stephen and with Tevin, and Tevin and then Tevin and DeAngelo, you need a couple guys. It's great competition but you need guys to play. It's also going to help special teams getting him back.

Q. For the defense to bounce back after week one, just limit plays and put together a solid second half?
COACH WILSON: Well, we gave up some, but we did say before the game specifically, matter of fact, Coach Shelby, we were just laughing about it. I said before the game, I said you have got some young corners that are going to test him, one of those guys get beat, don't snap on him. Just know it's going to happen. He needs to learn, hey, calm down and just go coach him, and that's part of growing up. Nate is a freshman quarterback and you learn and grow.

So it was nice to see those guys make just adjustments and to me the attitude of how I think we need to play defense. And I could care less what some calls are. We've kind of had that attitude offensively. It's never been embraced. And I really challenged our coaches last week, not schematically, but I want to see our defense playing the game in an aggressive, positive style, not a reactionary mode.

You've got to, quote unquote, react to things. It's called trained reaction. But I want our kids knowing what they are doing. So if you need to simplify, simplify. If it's too complicated, don't do it. But the more we can just get lined up and not be vanilla, but just get lined up and be aggressive, I think good things will happen.

And to me that was good to see. I'm not surprised to see it, and I think it's something to build on because I don't think it's close to what it can be. So we want to keep -- we've got a long way to go and they are going to get a phenomenal challenge from a great group of receivers, tremendous quarterback. They are going to get a big test this week and you're going to get a bunch more as we move into Wake Forest and Big Ten play as we move forward.

Q. You talked about playing aggressive and you talked about how on Saturday, you want a team that produces more turnovers. Basic question but when you get the turnovers and the sacks, how much does aggression feed itself? Does a team maybe need to see that success in terms of getting actual sacks, getting turnovers, to maybe stay aggressive, as opposed to feeling like this isn't working and starting to play back a little bit?
COACH WILSON: And we told them that -- I think I'm going the direction with your question. We told them that being aggressive was not the solution. It was a part of the equation but it wasn't the total solution that we still need to communicate. We still needed to adjust. We still need to come over and clean some things up. Just being reckless, you know. I always talk all the time, I think one of the things in the world that probably puts as much energy into anything I've ever seen is the dog that chases the car. I haven't seen one catch one yet but I've seen a lot of dogs putting a lot of energy in chasing cars. That's wasted energy.

Just because we are going hard, gives us a chance to be better but that's not the -- we did talk about, we want to be aggressive, but we didn't say that was going to be the key. That was a part of how we needed to play. We still need to communicate loudly, get calls and lined up. We need to come over and correct errors.

So we want to be aggressive. Didn't think we were in the first game but didn't think that would be the reason why we were better; that would be a part of the reason, if that makes sense.

Q. Last couple weeks --
COACH WILSON: Injured. Hasn't been able to practice. He's been out. He was doing a little bit more Sunday night, but again, he's missed here about four weeks plus, so it might be awhile to get him back.

So playing as a freshman, if you miss enough, not that we are going to -- he's just had a thing that's held him out a little bit and we will see how it goes. Not major but has not been able to practice either. When I say major, hasn't had surgery, just hasn't been able to go.

Q. Where is Chase?
COACH WILSON: I think he's getting close, and again, we're playing without him and playing well. The young guys are doing well and very talented. He was doing a little running. I think he's played enough and smart enough -- kind of like Fant. Last week Fant didn't practice and we thought in the right role, we could use him. He was cleared to play.

My comment was, I wouldn't start him. He's not practiced. If you really need him, go to him and in time we went to Fant, it will be interesting to see where chase it, how much work he can do and if he's cleared, he can play enough, probably can play if needed and we'll trust Coach Knorr and Coach Joseph to decide how to use that and see if we can get going.

We thought he had a chance going into this week but we don't know yet. Not to say it's a game-time decision but see if he's available. We thought he could be. We don't know yet.

Q. Pretty intense moment on the sideline?
COACH WILSON: We started celebrating too much and jumping up-and-down -- a week ago, you ask Nate, hey, nice touchdown, Hail Mary play is what you got, they are going to score and go for two. You ask Coach Joseph, they are going to score, go for two, get it ready right now. So I'm like, hey, we scored, that's great, we have three minutes of football to play. I clicked over to Coach McCullough -- he's on the five, I'm thinking we're going to sack him -- get your on side team ready because now it's a 16-point team. Well, it still ain't over, that's a touchdown two, on side kick, touchdown two, a lot of crazy stuff.

I'm just moving on and my coaches know that. We've had it before, I'm like, hey, coach, coach, coach, we have great cheerleaders, our band is awesome and our fans can cheer. We've got to coach. Get into coach mode. That's all it was. Wasn't intense. It was just coaching. This team is a good team but they need to be coached right. That was our thing last week, defense was good, coaches were good, O guys were good. But we got some clutter offense last week. Thought we had some clutter that hurt Nate. Thought we had some clutter with their defense. Want to eliminate some clutter.

This is a good group of kids that want to be good. They have enough talent to be good and you need to coach them to be good and hold them to standards, and push them the way that they are capable and can and can't do but across the board collectively, it's a good group of talented kids that's stronger, mature. There's good, young talent. They have worked hard. They think they are good. They think they have a chance to be good.

I want the coaches to coach them like a good team and that means, on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, you're preparing them up and on Saturday you get out of the way and coach them and you expect them to do well. You come over and make adjustments. We look on Sunday, go on to the next one and right now we have moved on to three. This is a really good hilltopper (ph) team.

Q. For your team to have won two close games --
COACH WILSON: Well, it beats losing. I prefer, like somebody is up 60-something in the half.

We were at Miami and we were really good on defense for several years and offense was just, eh. We were gaining and we played a team and it was 50-0 half-time. You're coach on the field, first thing you might do as a coach is do what, you might hit the restroom because you're standing out there a long time and you really can't go anywhere.

You guys have TV time-outs, that's the best thing about the box, you can walk in and out -- Tommy Fraser was rolling in Nebraska. He says, this is how Nebraska feels at half-time, I kind of like it, we're up 50-0 at half-time. I prefer those games but it's nice that our team has maturity, has the confidence and we keep playing four quarters and we're playing the next play, and that's what I want the coaches, the next play. You can have a little bit of a high-five jump, but what's your kick placement, what's your defensive thoughts. When we pinned them down the five-yard line I flipped over to Coach McCullough, our kickoff return team, hands after safety, get it ready, right now, right now. And then we let them off the hook.

Q. How much more comfortable is it the fact that Nate is to the point now where he obviously doesn't design the game plan and he can help with suggestions?
COACH WILSON: It's always good. And he's got one of those academic skills where we can't make him do things but sometimes they are available, come sit in the meeting, like we are not sitting here, we don't have secrets. What do you like.

After like he made a mistake the other day in the game -- play scored on a scramble, he told the receiver to do something and he said why and he said, well, on tape, the corner did something I didn't do.

I said, listen, we called the play, you freelance worried about the tape, you have to trust us here. What you saw on tape is not what's happening right now, and I go, we saw what's happening, we made an adjustment and so he's also smart enough sometimes intelligence can be a hinder, you can have too much clutter in your mind.

So he got away on that scramble play where he adjusted a route where he never should have done. So if you're an NFL quarterback, they had be fining you now. You don't do that. You don't run the play. Trust us.

If you are really worried about that, communicate that during the week to me more so we can make sure we do get on the same page. But it's good to have him in the rooms. I just can't make him come there. But sometimes like he'll pop in.

We sat together Friday because I sat with the defense, we sat together for an hour on Friday, said, let's talk. What do you like, what are you thinking, what's your top throw. We have five or six on the board here, which one you like, he said so and so, I go why, I go, okay, what's your next choice, give me do you know on the goal line, what do you like, this one or this one, why. And that's because it's one of my things, like I'm always asking, why, tell me why you like it, tell me what you see, tell me what you're thinking.

Like I say, we had an issue Saturday, he was thinking about something he should have been thinking about because he was worried about an image on tape. Him being in meetings is good. I can't tell you how many times on a timeout if we are over there talking, what do you want to throw. He might say give me this, and I might say, no, I don't like that one, here is why, how about this one. He might say, no, I don't like that one. So we are just going back and forth, what do you like.

I asked him the question the other day, we were going to bootleg. I said, we are booting to the left, do you want it. He said yes. Well, he took a hit on that one, too. We threw an incomplete pass there. I said, I got to boot it up to the left, you want it or not, I'll take it. Because if he'd have said no, we have a bunch of plays on the play sheet, just go to another one. Save it for a rainy day.

Q. What's the process when you're making a choice between giving Griffin a long field goal or fourth and long, what's the process in your mind?
COACH WILSON: He's good from 60. Based on elements. Like we go out in pregame, I'm shaking hands, my conversation with him, how far that way, how far that way, which way you want it kickoff, you tell me. Half-time we're taking, which way you want to go, we're kicking this way. What do you want. Shoot, he's got an NFL leg, he might play more in the NFL than anyone else, based on them guys playing 20 years, never get hit if your good. So if he stays healthy, that's competition, that's a good deal.

Delgraso (ph) has the same leg, he's back kicking, that's competition, that's a good deal. Also we have to make those chip shot field goals. I think the issue is you want three or seven, the time of the game. Same time, like right now we're dead last in putting, 28 yard. We punt from the 43 the other day and we punted in the end zone, sky kick, it's a 23-yard punt and does me no good. If that would have been fourth and three, four, five, maybe you go for that.

So I think you're looking at what's the distance, is it fourth and 15 and if it's in range, you probably kick it -- if it's fourth and two or three, how do you feel about your offense, what's the flow of the game. I felt early there at 7-3, fourth and two I was like, we need three points here. There's a chance to make it a 7-6 game, if I'd of been greedy, I'd say score a touchdown.

There was an issue, or not an issue, team one time had 12 guys on the field several years ago and they moved it up the one and a half-yard line. I ran the offense out there on a no play call. They had ten guys on the field and we walked in for two points. A lot of people say that's dumb, why is he going for two. No, I was going to take a delayed game.

Wasn't that hard a kick. But we walked in for two because of just dynamics, so there's dynamics right there at fourth and 15, is it fourth and two, what's the wind, what's our defense doing, where is it at in the game and I mean, really, there's a lot of times where you might go for that one down and fourth and two on the chip shot. I thought we needed to score and I thought I called a couple bad play calls and it was my call we're not here, not the kids fault. Let's come back and get three the next time.

Q. You said some third down calls you wish you had back because you watched tape diagnosing those, and Nate said he felt like I guess his words were, that he thanked you for sort of taking the heat but felt like he could have done things?
COACH WILSON: He got me a little bit there, too. But he's my guy. Sometimes you do that run pass and like why do you run it when there's the pass option. The pass option is there and he didn't trust it, and I could put him in a better situation. I have another play to call. I can just call a pass.

Some of those run and pass, you have Jordan Howard with a good line and a smart quarterback, which one -- they had a run pass called on their two two-point plays, one worked and one they checked out and didn't. The two play calls, the pick, was basically a two-point play call and they were in a two-play mode, they changed the play, they thought we were doing something and they changed the play.

So that's just -- used to be, back in the day, you would run the ball, check to the pass. Now we're kind of putting them together and we have certain calls where we don't think the linemen are going to get down the field and we are trying to run it and throw it, and you know, like after the game, like he knew going into it the game, how many times am I going to see you after the game, why do you throw it because we're giving you the combo. We can always use the option. Just call a pass, just call a run and sometimes now we're just partnering things together.

Like Mitchell Paige's touchdown was a run, and he had the option. And Western Kentucky does that 30, 40 times a game. We do it 30, 40 times a game. The quarterback has the option. Just kind of how college football is played in the spread.

Q. Freshmen in the secondary made critical plays. Nate said he feels they are great players in their own right. How do you see them growing already?
COACH WILSON: Like I say, I really wanted to play harder last week defense but like I told Coach Shelby before the game, as with Coach Joseph, they are going to have some busts. Don't freak out on them. Just know as young players, like Nate is a young quarterback, that's a part of being young. Don't worry about that. Coach that. Try to eliminate that.

But when they have an error, understand that's just a part of growing as a young player. And you haven't seen Tyler Green yet, he's very, very talented. Jameel is getting some, Crawford is getting some. We've got Devonte Williams out there, Fant. We can go five corners better and we used to get to two, but they are still young.

So there's still going to be growing pains but their skill set, I think there is some skill set on offense. I don't think you've seen Nick Westbrook, Leon Thornton, trying to get Donovan hill on the field in some deals. There's some good skill you're going to see on offense, too. Those 13 skill players last year were the best skill group that we have recruited and in time they are going to be really good players. Right now they are very talented players that are learning how to play big-time college ball and they are going to get hung out once in awhile.

But that D-line better be creating havoc, because that helps them guys. Because sometimes Leon Deon is creating havoc, sometimes he hits a long foul ball. When they get pat, they are going to connect a little bit more and they are going to get a great challenge from western Kentucky, and their men.

Q. How would you evaluate --
COACH WILSON: They are good. Sometimes to me it's just the positions we're putting them in and be careful of -- it's risk/reward, live by the scored, die by the sword, pick your spots and live with it. I tell you something, for young guys, they have a good look in their eye. They don't have those big eyes. They have got a nice look.

And again, the way we practice offensively, they have been challenged in practice with our style of O so they are not playing against chopped liver out there. They are going against pretty good dudes. You going to Tweet that one out, #choppedliver? I like it.

They have got a good look and they are going to be -- those DBs are going to be good and like I say, they give good goes. College game is getting in space. We have gotten good at line of scrimmage. Big Ten is evolving in space. They are not the answer yet. We are going to have a lot of glitches with those young men. Again, we're deeper and it's just young and we'll grow with those guys.

Q. A guy you weave in to get more playing time --
COACH WILSON: And he had graduated. We encouraged him to play, so he had done this job. Gotten into running back three or four in his time here but I think he felt when we went out with Jordan, but he left on good terms, did a good job, local kid and I think was in the mix there at third now with injury. Good player, good kid, an IU alum, so he's a graduate. Did a great job with special team player, lettered a couple years, did a nice job. Chris at Dayton and transferred in, had to sit out a year, played for us two, and now he's got a fifth-year option and again, glad to see him down there. Wish he was here, it was his choice, wish him well.

All right, guys, have a good week.

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