|Browse by Sport
|Find us on
INDIANA UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
August 26, 2016
COACH WILSON: All right, guys, ladies. Okay, well, good to see everybody here. Thanks for coming. Appreciate what you do. Starting with, we'll go through quickly again, we've got FIU Thursday, so today in our world is a Sunday. Little bit different though because you didn't play a game. Typically you come off of Saturday, and coaches you get habitual about your calendars or routines or superstitions or whatever you call it. And you know, the first game and then we're playing a Thursday night game, even the second game and then the third game is an open date.
So really it's going to take about a month until you really get into a Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. But we've got Florida International, Thursday, 7:32 on ESPNU. It's a road travel for the opener last time we had success. We haven't played a lot of first games on the road. I think it was back in 2005 with Coach Hep, you guys are aware of Coach Turner with his background from the pros and Illinois, and the Big Ten success he had taking those guys to the Rose Bowl.
I was at Northwestern at the time competing against his teams. He's done a great job there. He's done a great job at FIU. One of the great things about the program is the staff. Steve Shankweiler, 42 years as the offensive coordinator, been all over the place. Ron Cooper was the head coach at Louisville, Notre Dame, to Texas, LSU.
Kirk Doll, their special teams coach, I remember after The National Championship Game at LSU running into him at Harrah's after the game that night and he was rolling craps thinking I was mad at him because he won the National Championship from us. So a lot of those guys have been together a long time. It's their first fourth year.
You have a veteran offensive line. The whole crowd's back. Quarterback's going to be one of the best players in their conference. I compare him similar to the quarterback we saw last year from Western Kentucky, although the Dowdy kid was a sixth-year player, McGough set their school record as a sophomore, very mature, very competent.
Ron's a great quarterback, developer. Things they put on their guys. So the front five, quarterback, may be the best dynamic players, a multiple tight end that flexes out. Had a great game against us last year. Their running back is back, so everyone basically back on offense, well-coached.
Defensively, they have been very, very good on defense for years, going back, we played them last year. But the year before that they were fifth in the country in red zone defense. They've always been active, good players, good scheme. They went through some coordinators. But Coach Cooper has been there a while. While he's a new coordinator, he's not. He was kind of a part of running it last year.
So they've always played great defense, and we saw last year, we struggled a lot against those guys. It was a close game and a tough game.
Their special teams guys are back, so they should be sound. So they're a 5 and 7 football team from a year ago. Got a lot of guys back, veteran staff. It's a team a year ago if you look statistically at our game, it's basically an even game. We might have 30 more total yards. I think we had one more first down. I think third downs were 7 of 18 for both teams, and the difference was at the end of the game, they're trying to tie it up and we had a player make a play and get a pick six. So it's 36-22. So we see it's a strong match-up, and we look forward to going down there and playing those guys.
Back to us, preseason, I think we've been pretty good. Very solid in our approach. I think we've got a lot of seniors. I think our kids are practicing the right way, coming to meeting rooms and taking care of their bodies, and I think we just got better buy-in on how to work, so practice can be more of a positive environment because they understand the process of practice and resting and sleeping and eating and cold tubbing and resting and all that stuff. So they've been really, really good there.
Coming out of camp, I think we've gained a lot with the toughness and the depth that you need. So we've practiced hard, but we're also very, very healthy. We've had a few nick-ups and a guy might be held out, you know, gets an ankle sprain, but he's back three, four days later or whatever, so we're very healthy. No updates, injuries.
I think J-Shun is waiting to do surgery, and Camion Patrick and Robert McCray will miss the first handful of games, so that's nothing new there.
We've got some guys coming out preseason just based on their preseason reps are they ready to play game 1 or not? Are they ready for Game 2? Some of those freshmen and those guys have been in back-up roles, how large are those receiver and running back and defensive players and special team guys that you guys see.
But for most importantly, like I say, I think we're better and more healthy coming out preseason. So I really respect and appreciate the kids and staff and what we're going on.
Defensively, you start, we talk to Tom Allen, I appreciate everybody saying that, and if you're saying that, we are on our fourth offensive coordinator, so you just think about that and the impact that had so we could have, instead of just right there. So, whatever.
But Coach Allen came in -- just pointing out statistical facts -- Coach Allen came in because statistically we're 6-7, and this is a brand-new year. So those are stats and those are facts. Coach Allen's came in and did a great job. With the staff, with the guys, getting the staff on the same page. Having a practice standard of energy, paying attention, getting the calls, communicating, getting it right, playing hard.
Got a lot of guys back. We've got a lot of guys that got to keep getting better. But we've got some guys on the same page and it's been very, very encouraging. I think they've had a very strong preseason against our offense. Had 15 spring practices. 15, 16, 18 summer practices where coaches aren't there, but the kids kind of still run the system and base stuff. With the linebackers back and everyone back in the secondary, and I think the game is evolving where you start.
You've got to stop the run, but you start from the back to the front, and the ability to stop the run but not give up pass plays, and you see how we play, our inability to be good that's been the Achilles heel. Because if you're loading up to stop the run or you're giving up the pass play, and if you can't stop the pass play and you've got to bring it back and they're running the ball on you. You still start with stopping the run.
But with so many guys back, and Coach Allen, I think, doing a good job. The defense, there's been great buy-in. Now we're going to have a bunch of bumps and bruises and hiccups along the way now, so it's not like he's got it all figured out. You know, he's got things he believes in, and we ain't got it figured out.
We're going to have guys that have to step up. We're going to have guys that get knocked out. We're going to have some things that go our way. They're going to make plays on us, whether it be the first game, second game, third game, every game. It's how you continue to respond and how you continue to improve. We're a lot better. I'm excited to see where these guys start. I'm really excited to see how they go through the year. I think it's got a chance to be really, really good.
Kicking game is really solid with our kicker in Oakes, long snapper Danny Godsil is awesome a return guys.
And we've really pushed our punting game. We've basically put as much pressure on Gedeon, Joseph Gedeon, Drew Conrad out of Center Grove, a freshman, and put a lot of pressure on those guys just with the practice reps and what's at stake because those guys don't have game reps. And so it will be really interesting to see how those guys handle first kick for real when the clock's moving and the lights are on and it's for real. But he's got a huge leg.
Gedeon will be our guy going out there first, and I think he's come a long way. Excited to see him play.
Offensively, you've got four fifth-year seniors in the line. You've got a couple good receivers in Ricky and Mitchell. Simmie Cobbs a veteran back, Devine Redding, a veteran back. Lot of good skill guys. What's been encouraging is that our quarterback play through camp has been really good. And not just who the quarterback goes out there is going to be first, but the group.
The group is a better group than we've had since the '13 season where we had a couple three guys you could win with and play with. We've always had a first quarterback, we've always had a second one, we've always had a third. But you want ones and twos and threes that can play, and I think we're closer to that. And I really respect how those guys have kind of come on and went through their deal.
Going through our team right now, I don't know. Did you put the depth chart out yet? So you guys got it. Brandon Knight and Coy Cronk will be playing a lot at left tackle. You know, B. Knight's got a little more experience, but Coy's had a great camp. I'll expect both those guys to play.
Wesley Martin and Jacob Bailey. Wes is starter, red-shirt freshman, strongest player on the team, him and Nate Hoff. And a great fifth-year player in Jacob Bailey is going to play a bunch. Wes Rogers at center, with Stepaniak, Dan Feeney one of the best players in the game. We've got DaVondre Love with Delroy Baker being a better tackle. DaVondre is a big tackle but we'll be playing him at guard and he'll be either one, and is a good young player.
Dimitric is a fifth-year guy. The line's pretty solid. No changes except Brandon Knight who started out a little gimpy, and he and Coy will handle left tackle. Tight end position, you've got Danny Friend, Jordan Fuchs, Ian Thomas will definitely be playing. We've listed two, but Ian's a junior college player. I think he's number 80, correct? From watching him practice, I assume that's his game jersey. Mitch didn't get me on that, did he? He's 80, right?
Sometimes they switch those practice numbers and don't tell me. He's doing well.
Ryan Watercutter. Walk-on player out of Dwenger will be in the mix. We've got some depth at tight end if we need it. Receivers, we talked about those guys with Luke Timian as a quality back-up. Going to get a lot out of Westbrook, Isaac James has stepped in there, and we've got Ricky Brookins in there. That's where J-Shun was. That's the one little glitch on the depth chart.
Richard Lagow has the bulk of the work for several weeks. He's been the one. He's gotten every one rep except when we rotate Zander Diamont or Danny Cameron in there. So he's kind of been the one. It wasn't a formal announcement needed to be made. The team has been practicing, knows it, the timing has been there. So we actually evolved to that about after the seventh practice. So he's kind of been the guy. He's handled it well. Looking forward to seeing him.
He's been statistically the best guy. He's 240 pounds, he's 6'5" plus. Zander is better than he's been and gives us. And I'm not for playing two guys, but Zander gives us a niche, so his ability to run around him, and quite honestly Richard moves and runs much better than what we have with Nate. No disrespect to Nathan, because I know he's doing a great job with the Redskins right now. But Richard can move around.
But Zander gives you the dynamic, and if there's a need to play that during the game, even early in the game with Zander being a third-year player now, you know, you don't want the offense to get out of rhythm, but you need to take advantage of some tools. Instead of going to wildcat where they know you're not going to throw, Zander's throwing the ball better. He gives you a skillset, and quite honestly, it's probably an offense as good as anyone besides Richard.
So Zander can make some plays and Danny's matching and moving the team as well as any of those guys. Having missing Austin King who is doing awesome and will be traveling and is more talented than maybe the first three guys I just said. He's had a great camp.
So quarterback's better. It's been a couple years. Quarterbacks go, we're sitting deep with quarterback, hard to be deep there with egos and everyone involved. I appreciate the way those kids have come to work every day. No one has taken it personal. They've kept their egos in check and gotten better. We're going to need them to keep doing that.
We've got Devine Redding and Devonte Williams who has gotten the bulk of the work at running back, but Majette will be in the mix. Clyde Newton has done awesome, you'll see him as a big back. Cole Gest, the freshman has been very impressive. He will be playing, very, very good player. So that's offense.
Defensively you're going to see those eight D-linemen and maybe a few more. You might see Michael Barwick and Derrian Meminger inside. You've got Brandon Wilson, Jacob Robinson outside, Greg Gooch, and Niles Sykes. We will try to get to ten. Josh Brown, second year walk-on is in the mix to give us another body we need at D-end.
Linebackers, you don't see Dameon Willis, you've got Oliver and Simmons, you've got Scales and Fletcher, and you've got Dameon Willis in the mix, and Reakwon Jones. Those guys will be special teams players and playing.
Defensive back, you've got Fant and Thornton. You've got Bach and Walker outside. Jamie Thompson who is coming off an injury by practicing, and probably not playing a lot week one, but doesn't have a red-shirt year. So as he moves through this week, we'll see what he can get. By Ball State, by the open date, you'll get Jamie back in the mix. He's back at practice, and he just missed the first couple weeks so he's a little behind.
Crawford and cook have been well, Dutra and Fields have been well. Art and Tyler are doing good. You'll see A'Shon Riggins, a true freshman, 28, very, very talented corner. You'll see him in the mix, and you'll see Marcelino Ball at the Husky position, and he actually should be listed there with Zeke.
Kicking, we've talked about that. Gedeon will handle the punting, so that's the team there. It's depth. Like I say, we're pretty healthy, deep as we've been. Got some young guys playing.
And last announcement, we've just, last week we told four guys, but they held off until today, we've got six walk-ons and we put on scholarship. The way we do our thing that gets us to 47 or 48 in our six years. But the way we do it, it's a one-year deal. We're in a world of entitlement. And when you sign a guy, it's like a no-cut contract. You know? Where in the NFL, they'll get you healthy and cut you in a heartbeat. The Kelly School of Business over here, if you can't pass and get that GPA, right, you're out of there. It's like business school boot camp. You've got to hold the standard.
But in signing kids now, they get this no-cut deal with or walk-ons. I'm a walk-on, that's what I did. But I see walk-ons get content. And we challenge those guys, you've got to earn it back, so there's no guarantee. It's like a year ago Andre Booker was on scholarship, and we didn't have enough, and he did nothing wrong and he wasn't on scholarship. He scored two touchdowns the last three games and it was awesome. We just didn't have the money by the time we went out, recruited and guys.
Andrew Wilson scored a touchdown in our Purdue game was on the season before. So this year the guys that we've gotten, the way we're at 47 or 48. We're averaging about 80 a year. We had six to give. And the six guys are Griffin Oakes, who had to earn it back even though he's the kicker of the year in the conference and one of the best in the country. Danny Godsil, who is probably if not the best snapper in our conference, he's one of them. Legitimate player.
Mitchell Paige, a returner, awesome receiver for us. Ben Bach, who is slated to start and play lots. Four of those guys are basically starters. A couple of them pretty good players in the league. The other two guys that are pretty good contributors, Ricky Brookins, which you'll see at slot, running back, special teams, kick returner, and Alex Rodriguez, running back out of Lawrence Central has been with us a couple years. Scored a touchdown in the bowl game, I believe. And those guys have all played.
I'd like to mention with those guys, Luke Timian is going to be playing a ton. He's in the two deep, didn't have one. It's just a business decision I had to make. And also being an initial counter because he had transferred in, he's been here two years. So that takes away a high school guy. But Luke's doing awesome, going to play a bunch.
Ryan Watercutter we just talked about it. Dwenger's going to be in the mix playing. Arthur Jones you've seen him, awesome kid for us at corner. Kenny Arnold, back-up linebacker has been awesome for us. I mentioned Josh Brown a couple times out of New Jersey, an active D-end. I really like a couple of linemen, Nick Rammaca, Alex Serrano, a freshman out of Barrington that are going to be awesome for us, and the punter, Joe Gedeon.
Last year we went to Purdue we had 17 walk-ons on that bus. I think we had nine touchdowns the last three games for guys that were walk-ons. I want to recognize those guys not only that got the aid and we're proud and appreciate them guys, but those eight, nine guys are a big part of our football program and what we've got going on. Questions?
Q. Clyde has been switched to running back. From your perspective, how did that come about? Is there potential he could still go both ways?
COACH WILSON: Clyde wanted to do it. He came to us. I thought with linebacker depth, we'd need him at linebacker. All we're doing is saying we're 4-2-5, we're starting with nickel back. But when you play big personnel or big groups, if that nickel guy can't hold up, a Sam linebacker takes that spot and that's what Clyde played. So I thought it might be hurting the team, him not being on defense.
But because we're starting on nickel, he was kind of odd man out. He went back to play inside linebacker where we've got a lot of seniors and veterans. So he's like third there. He was a great high school runner. And just at the end of spring ball, he didn't practice spring ball one time, in spring he said I want to go to running back. First thing I said we got to talk to defensive coaches. He's got great special teams value. He's on kickoff cover, he's on kickoff return, he's on punt team, so he's on three kick teams.
He's got a body. If he does well enough, he's got a chance to be in a pro camp, because no one plays a fullback. He's 230-couple pounds. He could be 240, 242. One of the strongest teams on our team. 425 bench, big hands, catches it well. He's been very good with running back, he's natural. The guys that can run, if you can, you've got tuned up on protections and certain schemes, but he's a great high school running back.
He wanted to do it. He's been a good addition. And if we need it for goal line and short yardage, you might see him a two-way player, he might be playing defense in certain games and certain situations. He's done very, very well. He did train all summer at running back but he was not with the coaches. But he's handled it well. He's definitely in the mix to play a lot of offense.
Q. (Inaudible) play both ways?
COACH WILSON: (Inaudible) got a great player doing it. It's just, you know, you limit the time of what we can do, so a kid's got to be -- it's just like playing two sports. You've got to budget your time because you've got to study on your own the game a little bit because there's not enough meeting time, and you have to take care your body. So there's some mental overload.
We have a lot of guys that can play both ways. It's just mentally can they handle it, I think. So you've got to get your best. Coach Dantonio's done an awesome job. He took Lippett, a great receiver, played him at corner, and I think he plays in the NFL now as a corner. And I think Coach Dantonio's done as good as anyone of moving some guys around like that.
Q. (Inaudible) how willing are you to ride the ups and downs through the entire game for a couple weeks?
COACH WILSON: (Inaudible) see the reason why or not. I don't know. Go play ball. He's been playing good. Other guys are too though. So it's not like there's no -- I mean, when we had those couple guys a couple years ago that were good players, we would go to pregame and say who is going to start because it wasn't like it was a competition. They were both good, and both practicing good and we were just trying to win. And the only time we made a change then was if the team wasn't scoring, let's just go to somebody else. It wasn't like if you made a mistake, you're out.
As a matter of fact, it was the old Coach Smith rule of basketball, Coach Smith never took a guy out -- I can't say Carolina basketball and Indiana basketball here. Since I grew up there, I know a lot of people don't like him. But he would never take a guy out after a turnover. He would the next possession because he just thought it was a negative deal.
But no quarterback, I mean, they've had picks and practices and we just went to the next play. It wasn't like, you know -- I don't know. I hadn't thought about it. I'm expecting the other team to play well and him to play well, and I have more positive visions than negative. We'll deal with it.
To me, he's playing the best. The other guys are playing better. Zander gives you a really good changeup. If you use that or not, you don't want to get out of sync. I just want to keep coming along. It will be what it will be, and not being coy. Just I appreciate the way all of them are playing because to me you've got to be ready with more than one, every game, every week and for the year. You've got to have a couple, and I think we've got a couple.
And the guy that's going first has really had a very, very good preseason. He's made it like he's playing the best, and everybody knows that. I think the team has confidence, and I think he has confidence. I'm sure he's going to have some bad plays, but we'll live with it.
Q. Is his strength accuracy or power or the defense and pocket presence? What do you like about him?
COACH WILSON: He's got a good arm and he can make all the throws. Whether it be the long throws to the field or deep throws. I think he does pass the ball so he can touch it. He's not going to just rear back and rip it. We've had to work on because he's a big guy, had to work a lot on his feet. He can move around and such that he can get in bad positions where his accuracy can go down. So when he gets his feet set, he's really, really accurate. So as a bigger guy, taking long steps, you can overstride, you're pointing left, you're throwing right, you can get off.
So we've worked a lot of preseason drills of all those guys to get their feet underneath them, to play with base. He reads it well. I think we've got a nice package, and he's picked up the offense well. I think communication is always hard in what we do. Being able to verbalize and talk and have command presence. So as a young guy, it was getting up to speed there. He was getting his feet underneath him because when he's sitting on target, he's really good and so are the other guys. That's where Austin King is really good. He's really good.
Q. I'm sure you've been asked a thousand times, but what gives you confidence in (Inaudible)?
COACH WILSON: Again, what's the next step because we've got to get better? With the way we play, we can be better and still not be where we need to be. I think in our golfing world it's just driving range to the course. Because on the drive range going against what is not a bad offense, they more than hold their own day after day, drill after drill, position on position, and there are corners that are all over some pretty good receivers and making it really hard to throw.
When we get lined up, and I think there's more confidence in the system in what they're doing. When they get lined up and their feet set and their eyes right and there are 11 guys doing it, they've been in impressive defense. Now, can you get 11 guys doing that. Get your feet on the ground, ready to play so you can attack. And when we've done that, we've been really good.
So I think they go against a decent offense. I would say right now the defense is as one preseason, and offense has some night dates, but the defense has been, which to me, if you go against someone every day, you ought to. You get a feel for what they're doing and you get tendencies.
Now the tough thing in college football, like Coach Stoops has shared with me all the time, hey, man, you guys on offense just run your plays. But on defense, we get a new set of plays every week, and new tendencies and new strengths and new weaknesses, and it's the ability to have trained reaction. You get the formation in this personnel grouping, and this back field set, what are your actions and your alignment?
When our defense gets aligned, gets their eyes right, and I think they're starting to figure out when 11 guys do their job, one guy doesn't have to make a play. The defense makes a play when guys are cancelling gaps and where they're supposed to be, they've been good. And, again, Tom has been consistent withholding his coaches and his players to a standard, and that gives me a lot of encouragement.
Q. What is your concern about Florida International in this first game?
COACH WILSON: Well, one, we saw them play last year and how they matched up. Could have, should have had the opportunities to win the football game. First game, again, we feel good about our defense, but I'm telling you, we're going to have some glitches Thursday night. And when you do, a veteran, confident defense can cover that up. You went to the course and had your fades, so you made an adjustment that then played it out. Some guys can't.
So to me the concern is it's game one. You've been practicing. We've been trying to do every game situation we can, much as we can. It's still not the game. How does Richard Lagow, what's his leash? I don't know. But I'm curious to see how he reacts in a game. I know he's been great in practice. I know our defense has been reasonably outstanding in practice, can you take that to the game field? That's my concern is a little bit more about us.
What was our girl's name? Dorado, the swimmer, wasn't it? The back stroker? The one from Stanford when she won the back stroke and bet the girl from Hungary, and her deal was I had to convince myself I could do this. So it's one thing to have confidence. Our team truly believe and start convincing themselves, hey, we've been playing some good football.
We're a good football team. So I'm more concerned about that. It was all you get, your quarterback, couple new skill guys running around. Couple guys on defense, talking Marcelino Ball, you've got a new scheme. When the bullets start flying, do you maintain the calm and confidence, make the adjustments you need. So they're going to be a really good football team. They've got a lot of veterans. Can we talk that two by four trust board of now the risks are greater, trust yourself, believe in yourself, and that's every game. That's every year.
Q. Do you think it's prepared you for what you're going to face in Florida?
COACH WILSON: Yeah, I think we're conditioning well, but we're going to have to play a lot of guys. We went last night just because it's the week before the first game, so we had a night practice last night just to get under the lights a little bit. Just pulled up to see what the weather was. It was 87 here. It was 86 at Miami when we started.
So there's going to be humidity. You're going to have the plane travel which can lead to some dehydration. But we've got a do a great job. We've got a lot of polishing and work to do, got to get game ready. We also need to not overpractice and leave it here. You can do too much, and go down there and sit around and get stale. There's all kinds of things you're looking at, and sometimes as coaches we probably overlook everything. But as far as what should you do when you get there? When should you practice? When should you eat?
So my thing is we're going to have to play a lot of guys and the weather has got us ready for it. My concern is I know they're a really good team. I'm really looking forward to when it's for real, do we have the confidence? Because last year early now, first game, you know, we get blocked punt. We actually block a field goal against Southern Illinois, everybody remembers it's a two-point play at the end of the year. Second game here is this game where they've got a chance to tie it. Third game you've got Western Kentucky and it's a three-point game. As a matter of fact, we block a field goal to be up by three. They score at the end, run the clock out and win by three.
Wake Forest, throwing in the ends zone. So at the end of the year, are you just mature enough to win close games? Because it's not going to be perfect a lot. Can we stay calm, stay collected? Because you look at their team with a returning quarterback, a 5-0 linemen like we have, I think they'll be mature. So I think it sets up to be a great game. I'm just excited to see how our guys react and how we react to adversity. Short-term in this game and long-term as we go through the year.
Q. I guess the dynamic between Brandon and Coy, I know Brandon missed some time early. But how quickly you think Coy has come along, and how do you want that to play out early in the season?
COACH WILSON: Well, Coy's playing well enough it's almost like Brandon missed some time, it's almost as if Coy's not good but better, so it's almost like a competition deal. There was also an issue with Dimitric Camiel. You probably play both those guys and kick one to right tackle. That's our three best tackles is Brandon Knight, Coy Cronk, and then Dimitric.
So Coach Frey will handle it. You've got to play a lot. Used to be back in the day you didn't want to change the center a lot, and you didn't change the quarterback a lot because of the communication and the center quarterback. But all those other pieces sometimes you can rotate around. I would expect, Jacob Bailey, we were high on Simon Stepaniak. I expect a lot of those guys playing, not just this game because it's on the road in the opener.
But I expect as we go through the year, Greg's going to play -- I think he feels really good about seven, and we need eight or nine. We've got eight D-linemen, we're pushing for ten, if you have your numbers exactly right.
COACH WILSON: The only reason to do it is you can put both quarterbacks on the field at the same time. So that was actually, as a matter of fact I think Notre Dame made the comment which I made a year ago. If I rated my team, you two are the best three or four players I've got. I don't want to take you off the field. So we're going to put you out here and work it out.
Coach Kelly said it he thought it was a good idea a couple years ago and guys were mad. Just wanted to get you on the field. So that would be the reason to have Zander out there. Now we don't name receivers. He's not a receiver. He can play on the perimeter. Rich can be a big guy. But you don't want hits on those guys out there. Zander gives you some running skills that the other guys don't. He is quick, he is competitive. He's a dynamic run guy.
So the only reason you would do that is you would want both those guys on the field so the coordinator wouldn't know, prior to snap, is it more of a run guy or a guy throws it a little bit more? That was kind of the dynamic when we had Nate and Trainor, and two really good guys that have different skillsets.
Q. (Inaudible) have you gone against him before, and what are the characteristics of him?
COACH WILSON: He was at Eastern Michigan. We were at Miami of Ohio with Coach Walker. His first job he went from Notre Dame up to there. I remember the day they were stretching and doing push-ups as a deal, and it was on command, and it was very, very loud because they were trying to teach discipline and how to listen to the calls.
He's been a discipline coach. He's been a defensive guy. I know it's been a little different time at Louisville then. But we've competed when he was at Texas, and I might be wrong, he might have been on that LSU team in the National Championship we played at OU as well. So we've crossed paths four or five times. Always been a 4-3 guy, quarters, real tough, real physical guy. That's what his defensive play is.
Q. You mentioned being a walk-on yourself. Is there a better part of the job than telling a walk-on you've got a scholarship?
COACH WILSON: You know, regardless of the presentations a year ago we had our AD do something cool. I said, to me this is just a big part of our team. But I wanted y'all to know because I think a lot of these kids are local kids. It's good PR for their high schools and for them and their families. The tough deal is they've got a couple kids that are about as good as you can get and I didn't have it for.
It's good, I know Fred said years ago when we started, he had made a comment to Alvarez, did he have any advice, and he said work hard to get the high school coaches on your side in your state and don't minimize the walk-ons. And Miami of Ohio we were talking about that with Coach Cooper, walk-ons were big because we thought sometimes the walk-on kid could develop. A couple of those linemen I mentioned, Rammaca and Serrano, the only difference is they're 6'2, and 6'4, but one of them weighs 320 pounds he's got good feet and he's pretty tough. That kid will get in the two-deep if he keeps coming along.
So it's a great honor, and it's a big part of our team. The only tough thing about it was I selfishly wish I had a little bit more for a couple guys. Because for me, I've got one or two more that have earned it, I just didn't have it in the hand right now.
Q. (Inaudible) is he good to go?
COACH WILSON: Yeah, he got in, and I just saw he's running this morning. So he's like, say, he's played a lot. Well, that's different than Jamie Thompson who missed a lot of time just getting here. So some of those guys have played more as a coach. Last night at our practice, I had Cole Gest catching every punt and every kickoff. I said, you know why I'm doing this? He said, I need to work on it. I said, no, I need to see you do it more so I feel good about it.
Some of those guys that are coming back with you, they've played, and they'll get back in the mix because they've got those banked reps. You know what you've got now. Again, I would anticipate the way he was running this morning, he'll be full-go this week. I don't think, other than some of the guys that are just moderate, I'd like to think we're going to be game ready with the bunch. So we'll see.
Some of the guys we might have been talking about a recruit that we thought could have been in the mix. If he's not playing enough game 1, either he's not ready or maybe he missed a little time and we just don't have enough coaching confidence yet, and you're always trying to get that. And you've got a week here whereas hot as it is, coaches we need to have time. But we could spend too much time on that field and go down with a tired football team. We could also rest. There is a balance there. We're looking at a lot of angles making sure this team comes out ready to roll because they need to.
Q. You said you had eight or nine guys. Is there a list of guys that you expect to (Inaudible)?
COACH WILSON: Well, I hope not. But at the appropriate times, well, actually there was one last year that the players didn't like the guy. He wasn't going to class, and I sent a guy out of the game no one knew about. Wasn't that big of a deal. Just wasn't following team rules. So if there are those things at an appropriate time it will be dealt with.
COACH WILSON: Right now, no. Games are coming up. We'll be practicing, not today, but tomorrow.
ALENA SHARP: Made a double on the second hole, but just really calmed myself down and knew that I could make birdies and I did. I made an eagle to get it back four holes later. So, just stuck in there. Glad we got done last night. We were kind of running to get finished and birdied the last hole to shoot 4-under. I was really happy to start off much better this year than in 2009, and today it was smooth sailing all day. Just really I was comfortable out there. Felt good to hit good shots and make putts.
ALENA SHARP: Sometimes. I mean, I knew that I was up there. I wasn't changing my game plan based on that because there are still 36 holes left. But I'm glad to be kind of in the right spot to make a run at this this weekend.
Q. I know that you want to be in the right spot (Inaudible).
ALENA SHARP: Yeah. Especially here, yeah. I haven't played well at the Canadian Open since 2007, so this means a lot to me to get a good start. I've been playing well. I played well last week. The score didn't really show and putts started to drop this week, and hope it can continue this weekend.
Q. You say you were not playing well (Inaudible)?
ALENA SHARP: I think a little bit of it was mental, but I also would come to this point in the tournament in the year and still worry about being full status. And this year I'm 44th on the money list coming in, and my game is so much better this year. I just have more confidence so I'm not even thinking about that. I was nervous yesterday to get started, but I wasn't nervous in the way that I'd been in the past.
So it was nice to play with the good nerves and not the distracting, oh, I've got to make money this week to keep my card. I can just enjoy it, and take in everything this week. It's easier, that's for sure.
Q. You mentioned confidence. How confident are you that you can keep rolling on the weekend?
ALENA SHARP: Yeah, I'm driving it well. I feel like I'm not hitting driver on every hole because I don't need it because it's firm. So my 3-wood, I hit a draw with it and I hit a cut with my driver, so I have options off the tee. I missed a couple fairways today, but I got away with it because I had wedges in my hand. So I'm using my length to my advantage, and I feel like the way I'm striking it and putts are going in, I have a good shot at it. Now I've just got to play a couple more rounds and see where it is on Sunday.
Q. (Inaudible) Henderson's up there, Lee's up there. How nice is it to see a bunch of Canadians in the mix?
ALENA SHARP: It's always good to see the Canadian flag on the leaderboard no matter where we are, but definitely this week. I know in the past we haven't done well as a group, the Canadians, so it's nice to see halfway through we've got some people up there. Hopefully, we can continue it on the weekend.
ALENA SHARP: Well, right now I would say the closing ceremonies. There was a tunnel and we're walking as one, Team Canada. Not every team did that, but we stayed together, and just walking into the tunnel and who cares if it was raining. We were walking into the stadium with all these people cheering for us, and I'll never forget that. I'm glad I stayed.
My goal now is to get to Tokyo and I want to go for the opening. So I'm going to go for the whole two weeks next time. So that's one thing that will really stick out in my mind. And then being announced on the first day before the first tee shot, it's different how they announce you, because they're right in your face with the camera, so you have to smile and not try to be so nervous, but it's nerve-racking. Just to be announced from Canada at the Olympics, that was another thing that I'll never forget.
Q. (Inaudible) feels like you kind of had gotten involved a little bit with Team Canada. (Inaudible) has that given you a boost at all?
ALENA SHARP: Yeah, last year I started working with Tristan Mullally, and he's been great for me. He's helped me out a lot. My game is more consistent tee to green now, and he's helped me a little bit with did with mental game. He asked me to come and speak to them, and I said, sure. I was a little nervous going into that talking to some teenagers and amateurs.
I love doing it. I love to give back and help, and I'm glad that they asked me, and I want to be there in any way that I can. They're great kids, so I want to see them do well.
ALENA SHARP: They didn't make it out this week. My mom's actually watching my dog. It was hard for her to get out here. I'm tempted to fly her out, but next week they'll be out. They've been out for a few tournaments this year. They're really big supporters. I wish that they were here, it's too bad that they're not, but next week I'll get to see them.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports