home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


October 19, 2015

Kevin Wilson

Bloomington, Indiana

An Interview With:


KEVIN WILSON: All right, guys. Recapping the Rutgers game, again, defensive player of the game, we recognize Marcus Oliver. He had 14 tackles, 12 solos, interception.

I thought Nick Mangieri, Darius Latham and Marcus all had championship winning performances for us. Need a few more than that, but those two guys up front played very, very hard. Darius's best game. Nick's been our most consistent player, Marcus as well.

Scouts, we recognize, again, same two guys from the week before, Chris Gajcak and Camion Patrick. Camion has done really awesome; he's played some wildcat for us, played some tailback for us. Last week he was doing the job of their receiver. So again, really like the way he's handling this year. He's improving and coming along nicely.

Offensive players of the game, we recognize two wide receivers, Mitchell Paige, Simmie Cobbs. We had a lot of guys offensively that made some plays. Those two guys, their best performances to date. Really playing well without the ball as well.

Up front, Jason Spriggs, his best game of the year, which is good to see. Dan Feeney has been our most solid guy on offense. Devine Redding, Mike Majette both did well at running back. Michael Cooper, ankle, came back and played, should be fine as we move forward this week; played very, very well in the block game for us.

Nate had a really good game. One pick at the end wasn't good. One was a competitive play the protection got him on. But he played very, very well, was very aggressive and whatnot. Then the three receivers, Ricky Jones, Simmie Mitchell, so several guys on offense. Recognize one defensive player for scout team player for us, that's Thomas Henderson, who's a redshirt freshmen out of Bloomington South, did a good job.

Kicking game, we have three guys that we thought contributed big time; Griffin Oakes kicked really well. I thought the one -- he kicks the one, quote, out of bounds and you sit there and watch it, and on tape it hits inbounds and hits the pylon, and I don't really get into questioning the calls, but I don't know it if that -- because I know if you hit the pylon, it's a touchdown, and I don't know if they thought the ball hit the white. When you slow the tape down, you can see it, but TV angles, we had some good TV angles that game, but I didn't see that. So he did have one missed kick. But other than that, you know, they have the leading kick return guy in the country, and we recognize him. Damon Graham, our kickoff return team, was much better than their team, and we kicked a boatload of them out of the end zone. That was one of our keys to having success was handling their punt returner, handling their kickoff returner. We did. That was good to see.

So Griffin and Damon, our returners, we thought were awesome. And then Darius Latham, who had two blocks on the PAT field goals. So recognize those guys.

Summary quick of the game, which has been, I'm sure, hashed out a bunch, but again, solid first half, we thought. Let the lead slip away, but we were battling good. Had a really good third quarter, for sure. Again, we're up basically 52-27, right at 600 yards, 390. We've created a turnover. Our defense has had 7 of 11 stops at this point in the game. We end up as the game moves along we block three PATs; one was nullified with an offsides. We basically stopped three two-point conversions. One was nullified. We did it again.

So there's some good things. We had 26 plays, plus 10 yards, so there's a lot of good football going on, but with the five-minute-25-second mark, the last basically 20 minutes of the game, we start with a kick out of bounds, and we're also offsides. And that's where, again, to me on the sidelines, I just saw, a lot of times some of the guys not playing, but we started, I think cheering, having a little too much fun. And we always talk about play the next play, keep playing, play the next play, play the next play. And there's a point there where I think again, we just -- I don't think necessarily it was everyone on the field or coaches, although I think we're all a part of it, because again, we all have jobs to do. Whether you're a non-dress guy, you're a GA, you're a play caller or head coach or quarterback, you all have jobs to do. And I think collectively as a team first time this team has been up -- this team has shown it's a mature team because we came back three games early. We've shown we can close games out. We've shown we're a good second-half team. So to say we're not a mature team, I don't think we'd have had the success we had early.

We just up 52-27 didn't continue to play like you need to keep playing in college football. The game is short in college. When I say short, you can get short stops. It's a long game, because you can make the drives so much by shortening the play clock, by first downs and out of bounds and throws, and we gotta manage ourselves a little bit better with a couple of tight end injuries and Jordan not able to play, our run game's a little bit where we couldn't control it like we did earlier, and we were throwing the ball well, and we had a couple of errors there.

And you always question calls when they don't work. But we did the best we could, and didn't. But again, I did like the kick out of bounds, and we were offsides. We have a punt snap over the head for TD. So special teams are part of our errors.

Our offense goes three and out, which leads to that punt team. We get a first down, first down and then basically a three-play interception. Then we get a one-play interception. Then we have a holding call that we overcome, get third-and-one and run our inside play that we had ran a lot pretty good. That's where a lot of those 180 yards come, but you miss a block, and quote, that happens, but you gotta make that block.

So the only thing I regret is on third-and-one, maybe another call and we probably should have went for it on fourth down, even though it's on your side. I mean they had momentum. They had scored a bunch, and if I had one regret of, hey, why did you do -- you know, your quarterback don't wanna run quarterback sneak because his ankles can't move, so you don't run quarterback sneak. Okay. Maybe move forward, gets back in. That was in, wasn't in against Ohio State when he hurt it against Wake. I mean there's things that we do based on what guys can and can't do, because we talk about that, hey, you wanna sneak, you wanna run it, whatever, so we're making our decisions based on what we think is best. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't.

If I got one regret of anything, though, it's probably the way they had momentum in the fourth quarter, even though we lose three, and it's fourth and four, we probably oughta go for it right there. And hindsight, 20/20, second guessing. Not that I thought our defense would or wouldn't get a stop. Just momentum, flow of the game. I saw Coach Stoops do that several times where a piece of paper says punt, he's like, man, I'm not stopping them. You gotta get the first down. And you're doing it in situations that doesn't make, but you get a feel for the flow of the game. The way that game was flowing, we needed an offensive play and taking the foot off the gas there I think was a very poor choice on my part.

Our No. 8, third downs, the last 20 minutes. So you've got seven stops. They're 4 of 11, and then you give up eight consecutive. They're running the ball past him while we're flat footed in the fourth quarter; we get out gained 200 to 25. So again, from kicking blunders to lack of offensive execution to game management to defense, everyone contributed to us losing the game. We all contributed to the loss.

At the same time it's my responsibility to create the environment and culture that we win games, we consistently win games and we close out and finish games, and we didn't do that.

Do feel we've progressed, we're sitting here 4 and 3. We lose two games that go down to the wire, so we're going to keep doing what we do. Our kids bounced back yesterday. Again, I walked out of that game and said, man, we gotta keep attacking these guys, gotta keep getting better. We need to play better defense.

It was concerning in that game, again, that we just played some good D and not consistently keep that up. Why, again, are we running out of juice and energy at the end, I don't know. I think our team's in good shape. At the same time I know the way we practice, not over practicing, but we've gotta find ways to be a better fourth-quarter team than we've been.

Again, I think we've shown we're good enough to win close games. I think we've shown we can play in the fourth quarter as we've done in earlier games when it was a heck of a lot hotter. So again, to say that you're out of shape or your team's not tough, we just didn't handle the momentum of the game. We let the momentum get away. We lost it; we sat there and watched it. We got flat footed; we got stale, we got stale in all three phases, and at the same time I expect the guys to move forward and have a good week.

Michigan State's very, very good, always are. Very sound structurally, O and D. Tremendous players. One of the longest winning streaks in the country, seventh in the nation right now and probably getting slighted, because they win every week. I think they've won 11 games, 10 or 11 games four of the last five years, beaten top programs, won bowl games, won championship games.

Coach Dantonio and his staff is awesome, they've got good players. It's going to be a strong challenge for us. We look forward to it, expect our guys as coaches, me and our players to have a great week and go up and play as hard as we can and go after Michigan State, then do our best to bring that brass spittoon back here to Bloomington. Questions?

Q. Because this wasn't the first trouble in that fourth quarter, I think you can go back to that Wake Forest game and you get a sense where that one almost got away, too. Is there anything you can kind of point to, anything consistently you see in these fourth quarters, whether it be from a play-calling standpoint, from a staff management standpoint?
KEVIN WILSON: Well, Wake Forest you would say we ran it too much. In this one you would say you threw it too much. Just people would say. If you look at numbers, like you're a little bit bland and you're just trying to run it, run it, run it. You gotta execute.

We executed one to get a nice win, and the next one we didn't execute well. And again, I think, again, the offense has gotta keep creating energy. Defense has to keep playing. You've got eight opportunities to get off the field, and all you gotta do is get off the field one or two.

But again, whether it be the kick out of bounds that gave them nice field position that led to two third downs and a touchdown, we come back across midfield and then we have a punt snap, didn't manage that. We have the punt snap.

Then we get across midfield and we didn't execute our protection. Again, as we go, the defense just to me just got lethargic. Our defense needs to play better. And you know, we do too many good things to not consistently play better defense. And to me the energy and attitude and effort we want to play with.

To me it was apparent a week ago we didn't have the energy and effort that we needed against Penn State offensively, because it was a very stale, bland offensive game two weeks ago. So I know my point there was a great deal of emphasis and thought process in how do we get our momentum and our energy as an offense. Well, we got it going on one side, we lost it on the other side.

So each week we've had two weeks where we've kind of zapped ourselves. You gotta keep playing, we keep creating energy. We gotta keep our fight up; we gotta keep our spirit up. I know as a coach I will, and I believe our staff will. They've been challenged to. And I believe our players will. And there's a lot of football to play.

We're sitting here as a team that's disappointed. And at the same time we've played enough good football. We know we're a good football team, and we expect to keep playing and we're going to have our best week. It's going to be a tough, tough challenge against Michigan State, but we're going to do everything we can to continue to improve, get better, put a plan together and go up there and play as well as we can.

Q. It's a total second guess, but would you like to see Toth fall on that punt snap rather than try to pick it up?
KEVIN WILSON: Yeah, I think initially because it went so far back, and they were in a punt safe look. They were in a four-man front, D line. We actually had a player up front probably not sustain a block as long that got a guy on him a little bit quicker. I think he thought it was so far back in the heat of the battle. But yes.

At the same time, too, you know, our punt snapper is a freshman, he's done an awesome. Week before we gave him special team player of the week, and he just got up there and just get a little got to him. And at the same time, you know, he and Mr. Dan Godsil and Nolan Guedel have done a great job, best snaps we've had in five years. And I know those guys take their job seriously, and at the same time I got no issue with him. He's been doing a great job for us, and he's a kid how made a mistake and didn't mean to, and he's human, but he's going to come back and have a great game this week, and he's going to be a great player and he's going to have a great career. Like to have had Toth maybe fall on it, but I think as far back as it went, I think he thought, and they were in punt safe, I don't think he expected the rush to be on him like it was.

Q. You kind of addressed this earlier today, that the team's been pretty good at handling failure, but hasn't really been able to handle success. Is that something, is it organic?
KEVIN WILSON: I look at last year, we had one really good game, the next game, too. I just made a comment, like we always talk about play the next play. And I think you think, well, you drop a snap^ , wrong guy or you made a mistake or you missed a kick and you think, like okay, you gotta move on. No, you gotta move on when it's good. You gotta turn the page get on, here's the next game, here's the next day, next week. And you gotta keep playing.

In college ball, the way offenses have evolved, you gotta keep playing because there's never enough -- you're not trying to run scores up on people. Play calling and executing, but you've gotta keep playing. And I mean there's several examples this season and this past weekend. It's not over till the last play.

That's why, again, if our team didn't keep playing, how did they block that kick at 52-52, because that gave us a chance to win the game, because you've just sat there and given up, what, 20-straight points. I think, something like that. Whatever it was. They scored 25. So we've given up 21 straight points. No, 22 straight points, and they can kick the extra point to go up by one. You know what I'm saying? No, we block the kick.

To me there was some signs of there's a lot of fight in this team. There's a lot of buy-in. Again, we missed some tackles, missed some plays. Gotta call it better and gotta execute offense better, but the way those kids came out and battled and fought, again, it's very, very encouraging. That's why after the game I wasn't blowing those guys up. We gotta keep getting better, it starts with me. I gotta call a better game, gotta manage games better. Staff's gotta do better. Kids gotta keep doing better, but that's a great group of people working hard, and I think we're pretty close, and I'm not trying to justify anything. We're sitting here 4 and 3, I kind of like it, because we're 4 and 3 and we're mad and we're losing games on the last play. And yeah, we're kind of getting close to where we want, because you're getting to where you're playing the football you want to play.

We gotta play winning football, and it's our job to create that culture to win. So I wasn't going to go in there and start blowing up, hey, you gotta do this, you gotta keep fighting, you gotta keep bringing it every day, as the head coach, as position coaches, as players; and that's what we've gotta do. And we've gotten better, but we aren't happy with it. At the same time, we're not blaming anybody. It is what it is. We made some errors, but we can learn from it and keep growing.

One of my former players said the other day, he said, you know, if you keep emphasizing the hurt, you're going to suffer. If you learn from the lesson, you grow. We had some lessons the other day that we gotta grow from, because this football team will continue to be in some of those places. We've had some bad lessons to learn from, some good lessons to learn from.

Coaching, working with these kids as a coach and as a player, you're learning and growing, and that's all we want to keep doing as a program. And we gotta keep going a lot this week because we gotta learn and grow quickly because here comes another great football team.

Q. Playing Michigan State, rivalry game, does that help with moving on to the next game and playing the next play a little bit?
KEVIN WILSON: To some degree, although we didn't talk about that as much as one, number one, how good Michigan State is, chance to play a quality opponent that's very, very good, the exposure you're going to get, but that's Big Ten East football, too.

As much as anything we've been talking each year about what's next, play the next play, and that's all we talked about when the game was over. Okay, there's some things that happened but we're all a part of it; all phases, coaches, players, everyone. And it's my job as the head guy to ultimately be responsible for all of it.

So I'm looking at a bunch of guys I believe in that are giving me great effort. I believe in you. I'm going to keep doing a better job. And so it's more about the process of just going to next versus it's Michigan State a great team, there is a trophy involved. That's a little part of it, but that's after a what's next is this next game and get ready for it because it's going to come. And you got a chance to show yourself and we got a chance to show if we are mature and how to keep handling the situations we're dealt with.

We got things that have to be corrected. We're not sugarcoating anything, but we have things that need to be fixed. We have structures and we have fundamentals that need to be addressed and cleaned up, and at the same time what really needs to be cleaned up is we're moving forward and getting ready and getting better for the next one.

Q. Is it truly a situation where it's almost like day to day, Jordan has gotta tape it, test it, stretch it out and see how it feels every day? And at some level how hard is that process for him to basically feel like it's not so much a timeline, it's just having to come back to the same routine every day.
KEVIN WILSON: Yeah, again, he's played, but he's missed some time. So I always look at it, like Nate had a better week of practice last week than he had going into Ohio State. So he gimped his ankle against Wake Forest, but he looked -- I mean he had a really good week of practice leading into last week.

So real deal is you want to get Jordan healthy enough, not that he can play in games, but he can get back and do the things in practice. And we don't need to over practice him. He's a proven player, but you just want to see that he can handle the cutting and the workload.

And again, you've got this week. I know he's doing everything he can to get back as fast as he can, and I know he wants to play. I think it says a lot about Nate. Here's a kid last week that has an opportunity a year from now to play. He's coming off an ankle. He looked better, but he's still probably not full speed. He could have said, I'm not ready. No, he wanted to go play with his guys, and I think that meant a lot to his teammates. I think his teammates played harder for him. That's a good sign of a really strong leader because you can sit there and you got all kinds of influences and parents talking to you and everybody's got your buddies, hey, don't go out there and have a bad game, don't go out there and hurt yourself, don't go out there and expose yourself. He loves his teammates, he loves his school. And I think him going out and playing -- I think Jordan is the same; Jordan wants to play. And I think we'll get him out there and we're not holding him out for next week or for next year or for his career, but we're going to do what's best for him. I know he wants to play, but your points are can he handle the workload and be productive. That's a part of it. We're not going to over practice him and show he can go. We did that with Nate last week. Hey, Nate, when you've had enough, it's enough.

Q. Has he actually been cleared to play?
KEVIN WILSON: The Ohio State game they said he could come back in but since then, when you say cleared to play, he's not functional enough. To me I have not seen where he can really cut and play full speed, and at the same time we did a little bit last night. Today's off. We'll see what he's got tomorrow and Wednesday, and then we'll see based on time on task, but it was good to see Mike Majette stepping up and getting Devine going a little bit. And then Rodriguez came in a couple. Those guys are coming along.

We'll get Jordan back quickly. It was really good just to get the running game going, get the offensive line playing better. We're going to see a very, very stout Michigan State front that plays great run defense, so it's going to be hard to run on these guys. Great defense.

Q. You're facing one of the nation's best quarterbacks. I think so he's like 30 and 3 to start. What makes him effective?
KEVIN WILSON: One, it's a function of Coach Dantonio and their program, because he's effective because of all the players around him. Tremendous in defense, mature offensive line. Their receivers, I remember, what, three or four years ago, maybe five when they started, had all these young guys that couldn't catch. Now you got three guys that are making some -- in their Rutgers game they made some unbelievable competitive one-on-one plays where Connor put it right where he had to put it. Guy is covered as well as you could be recovered and you've got multiple skill receivers making plays. He's got really good running game. One, he's a very, very good player, and he's going to be a pro. But he is successful because he's able to manage a really good team that plays together; they kick it good.

So Connor Cook is a great, great player. They got many great players, Shilique Calhoun. Several of they are their receivers. O linemen, D linemen. They're awesome, but the real deal is he's just managing the program that Coach Dantonio has got in place. And as we move forward, that's what we're trying to get to, because that's a program that we respect and admire and love the way they play. And we just gotta keep building and get our program to play with the effort and the intensity and to function the way they function to win close games, you know, and keep doing things to close things out.

With those 52 points I counted up we've now -- I've got 18 games in my mind that we've scored 27 points and lost. Those 18 games we've averaged 35. So we gotta keep finding ways to kick it better, play good defense, not turn it over and score enough. We're leaving football games on the field that we need to win. Ultimately we're getting better. We like the direction we're going. But you need to win. And this is a winning football team that needs to win, we gotta work hard and try and get one against a great team this weekend.

Q. (No microphone)?
KEVIN WILSON: Wes was in there at the end, fourth quarter playing. We'll get Wes Rogers out there playing, too. So I just, you know, not down on Wes Martin. Going to be a great player for us and has played very, very well. I just think as the year has gone on, he's gotten a little beaten up and worn out. And it was encouraging, Coach Frey, I think he needs to play seven, eight guys and get more guys on the field. I think we need to play more D linemen and just get more of our players involved in the game.

Q. (No microphone)?
KEVIN WILSON: Yeah, just anytime. That's why we went through it, and we've gotten a couple earlier in the year. We got a really good line. At the same time the quarterback sneak is one of the hardest plays because -- as far as when it's critical. Like when you're on the six-inch line, first of all, there's more snap issues in quarterback sneaks, especially when you're gun team, you're not under the center line. Now, they hit a couple on us the other day, but every time we were in the split middle. As a matter of fact, we actually closed the middle down on their last touchdown run because we packed it in, stopped the sneak, and they ran off, tackled power and hit a diagonal slant on. Quarterback sneaks is the guys that spot the ball are standing, you know, at that wall. They're 30 yards away, and then they come in, see where the ball is. Well, the ball's been moving while it's been on the ground, so really, you gotta have a bubble and you gotta be really, really good. And yeah, it's six inches, but it's a hard deal.

We've had some issues where, shoot, at Navy a couple years ago, fourth and inches right here on the 30-yard line. So it's tough. And I don't think it's personnel. It's difficult.

And with Nate having the ankle that took us out. As we move forward, it is something we do. We've done it this year. I think at Wake. We've done it a couple, three times, and as he gets healthy, it'll get back in. Anything else, guys?

Q. You begin to hear a lot of projections for a bowl team. Do you still see this team as a bowl team?
KEVIN WILSON: I think we're definitely a winning team, but you gotta win games. So again, we're sitting here 4 and 3. We've lost two games at the end that are close games, but the magic number is you gotta get to six. I think we've shown we can play good football. There will be opportunities this week. We have an open date and then four more.

But our goal wasn't to get to six. Our goal was to be the best we could, get as many as we could. And we think we have a good football that should win. Winning teams should be bowl teams. But we gotta win games, we gotta close it out. Like I say, we've got three in a row that we've left on the wall that we can't do nothing about moving forward.

I don't put pressure on our team to win, and I don't put pressure on our team to be a bowl team. I put the pressure that every day there's energy and you're getting better, and that's how we're coaching, that's the charge to the coaches today, you better coach those guys to have some energy, some juice and ^ they better keep getting better because that is our job, to keep improving, and I think we enough in talent that if we continue to improve, we should have enough success to have a number of winning games. And this week and getting this win and that's how we're approaching it. Good? Thank you, guys. Have a good one.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297