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September 5, 2016

Kevin Wilson

Bloomington, Indiana

COACH WILSON: Thanks for coming. Labor Day Monday. Happy holiday.

Yeah, had a game Thursday night on the road. It was good to get a win, of course, and do deal with some travel issues going down with the flight. Jacked up a couple, three, four hours. Had to adjust our schedule.

Night game, weather. Thought we handled it well. I was going through the stoppages. We didn't have one stoppage of IU player for cramping or heat-related deal. Several by the opponents. Thought we handled the heat awesome.

Yeah, just was impressed with the first game. New coaches, new players, new quarterback, new defensive guys. Handled a lot of things reasonably well. Thursday night game, traveling during the school week, a lot of things a little bit unusual.

I thought did well. Got a lot of things to improve on. A lot of things got to get a lot better in all phases.

Offense, thought we had two guys played really strong, gave winning performances to, Danny Friend, who had seven knockdowns, two catches, touchdown at tight end.

Other was Mike Majette, who had about a hundred yards of total offense.

Our one runningback did well, but had a fumble, which needs to be eliminated. That's got to stop.

Westbrook had some stats we liked, but needs to be more physical. Same at receiver.

Quarterback was good, no critical errors. Just a couple times in decision making which side of the ball he should be reading. He has to pick that up.

Our offensive line played very, very hard but wasn't as clean as it needs to be. Quite honestly, for what we prepared against, what we thought we were going to get, what we got, we probably got 1 out of 10 right in preparation. They were in a different front, different coverage looks. Had to make a lot of adjustments. We have four fifth-year senior linemen, several returning starters. Danny is a fourth-year kid. The running back has experience. So they handled a lot of adjustments really, really well, from what we thought we would get and what we got. So a great job of adjustments. Thought the effort was good.

Offense, again, adjusting to some things we didn't anticipate. We did well. We finished the first half, had a chance to maybe punt again backed up. Got out of that pretty good. I think the fourth quarter was a strong finish. I thought our effort was very, very good.

I thought we played reasonably physical, and those are some things to build on. We didn't like three times we had the ball on the ground, one time we lost it. We had four offensive line penalties. Gave up two sacks, one on tailback, one on receiver that got knocked down, quarterback got stuck. We also had way too many yards crossing the 50 yard line 12 times with two touchdowns. Got to clean that up.

Defensively Patrick Dougherty had a championship performance as D tackle in his first start. Rated 88%. Six of our 11 D-line players was their first performance ever. So we got six first-timers up front, rotating a lot of guys in there, whether it be Sykes and Brandon Wilson, a lot of those guys. Good to see those guys. We had Ja'merez Bowen in there. A lot of guys getting first-time work. Did well.

On the outside, on the edge, Omari Stringer had a lot of good effort on 24 plays, showed up. Sykes made some plays, but he had a couple lazy plays that he needs to eliminate. He made some plays, but we need them to be more consistent.

Two linebackers played solid. Marcus Oliver, who had eight total tackles, four assisted, four unassisted. He had a pass breakup, two strips. He was 8 of 10 point of attack making the play.

Tegray Scales, six tackles with one assist, seven total. Had a quarterback interception. Thought both those guys played well.

Crawford at safety was very good. Made six of eight opportunity plays, seven tackles. Tony Fields, three for three opportunity plays. Tony Fields made a point-saving play with the first drive off a deflection on the ball to the tight end. That's basically a four-point play. If he makes the catch at seven, we hold them to a field goal. A big play in a close game.

No one at corner. Gave up a couple deep balls we got to eliminate. Weren't impressed with A'Shon Riggins, who had 38 snaps as a true freshman playing corner and was very good, especially in the fourth quarter. Very good. Same thing with Marcelino Ball as a freshman.

Played two. Got a look he wasn't ready for, was out of position, got exposed. The next play totally smashed the blocker. Made a great tackle on a bubble. Great response the next play. Really liked the way those two freshmen played for us, A'Shon and Marcelino Ball.

What we thought was good about the defense, got them pinned down a couple times, kept that field position. Got a safety one time. Finished both halves defensively pretty good, not allowing points to get away or closing out the game in the fourth quarter.

We had 16 points of scoring defense. We had six three-and-outs. The bad, we had four big plays. We had a face-mask penalty that led to points. We had a penalty on the sideline which led to a kickoff which led to points. Two penalties that made it easy for our opponents to score. Too many missed assignments, too many missed tackles. I believe Coach Allen, when we visit with him, he'll say we played hard. We got a lot of correctable things that need to get fixed.

We just played harder, we played better. We need to be a lot better on both sides of the ball, offense in scoring and defense at limiting some MAs and tackles.

Our punter did pretty well. One inside the one which led to points. Three inside the 20. He did have a 51-yarder in the last punt, got off pretty quickly. Knew they were coming at it.

Our kick coverage was solid. Punt return, we didn't have an opportunity. Kickoff return, got to tighten some things up. Our field goal team was bad. Wing broke down, bad, got exposed. Had an issue on a hold. That was a disappointing team. That thing's got to get cleaned up.

Players of the game time, Danny Friend on offense, Tegray Scales on defense, Joseph Gedeon on special teams. Those guys were the players of the game.

Peyton Ramsey, quarterback, is going to be awesome. Did a great job last week. He's had a shoulder injury, been out of a lot of the work. Getting back into it.

Andre Brown was our scout team defensive player of the week. Been out most of the pre-season. Got a lot of good work there, was good to see. That's it.

This week Ball State coming in. Won their first game the other night against Georgia State, 31-21. Took a knee at the last play of the game on the one yardline. Had a fourth-and-one, didn't score on the one yard line, there's 45. Out-rushed their opponent 325 to 70. Totally dominated the game.

Started a little sloppy, had some turnovers both ways. Fell behind on a pick-six. Quarterback, Riley Neal, had a lot of snaps and played as a freshman a year ago. Managed the game very well.

Two runningbacks, one with 266, James. The other runningback had 93. Riley had 46, 48 yards at quarterback. They're very impressive for a first game, first coach, first game for that staff.

Defensively very, very aggressive. Like I say, held the opponent. The leading rusher for the opponent the other night was quarterback scrambling, running for his life, but made a couple plays scrambling. They played very, very well.

Punter punted for 47 yards. Got their kickers back. Very impressed. They played a Friday night game. 4:00 kick here. Know it's going to be a big game for them. Big game for us. Very impressed with the way they played. That was a strong win in their opener. I know they'll come in excited and expecting another good win. We expect it. I expect our guys to get better, have a better week. We got a lot of work to do.


Q. Coaches talk about the most improvement made between week one and week two. Do you feel that's true? If so, what areas are you hoping to improve on this week?
COACH WILSON: Everybody says that, so I guess that means you never coach until after the first game. But the real deal is the kids sometimes, always set up freshmen when they played, it was easier to coach them after they played because they truly got exposed. Not strong enough, get in the weight room. Don't have enough knowledge, whatever.

I think the real thing for kids is once you get out there, you do all the game situations, clock managements, all the down-and-distances. You do as much as you can to make it like a game. Until you're out there standing by a fast, talk about that trust factor, two-by-four, those risks are greater. When risks get greater, mind get in your way, doubt, fear, a lot of things you have to conquer as an athlete.

That being said, we're trying really, really hard to push these kids and coach them hard this week. There's a lot of improvement that has to be made, needs to be made. That was a good thing about playing a Thursday night game. Didn't get back until late. Took Friday as a recovery day. We took Saturday, looked hard at us and the game. Had a good lift, a good recovery. A lot you look too quickly and get on to the next game. Today being Monday, we had Saturday and Sunday with the long travel to reflect on us, look at us, clean up some things, move on to Ball State.

Even if we do make the most strides from week one to week two, the good teams just keep getting better every week. So we're pushing the team hard this week. I think a lot of those game situations, we have and we will show, whether it be going through the Western Michigan kid who had a ball in the end zone and tried to throw it back in. The Houston field goal return for 109 yards against Oklahoma. You keep showing a lot of football so kids learn football.

So you try to put them in all the game situations. What you're seeing, once those guys get on the field, I think they listen to you a little bit more or they realize. We do need to make a lot of strides. Defensive, offense, play calling, scoring zone, a lot of things that got to get a lot better. Field goal team, we got a lot to clean up, not only this week but as we go forward.

Q. You mentioned a lot of young guys, especially on the defense. Secondary and the line, was it encouraging to see guys who hadn't played a lot to adjust the way they did in that environment?
COACH WILSON: It was really good. Six of those 11 D-linemen, you have Coy Cronk as an offensive line man. We had an injury to Jordan Fuchs. All of a sudden Brandon Knight was playing some tight end. Got Austin Dorris in his first work out there. Isaac James getting some of his first work. Luke Timian. Westbrook was a go-to guy. A lot of guys stepped up, that was good to see. Again, we think we got more depth.

We need more of our frontline guys this week. Defensively I think our coaches would tell you Omari Stringer and some of those guys that came in, Sykes, had some production. We need some more production out of our ones. But it was good to see those guys come in and play well.

Q. Ball State ran the ball well. You shut down FIU, holding them under 70. Is there something you want to see more of? Two tackles for loss on Thursday. More push up front you can get?
COACH WILSON: Yeah, again, when you pressure to get penetration at the line of scrimmage, we're saying push, get north and south as the defense is setting edges and keeping things. The thing about Ball State a little bit, they've only got one game with the new staff. They attacked Georgia State a certain way. How much of their offense have you seen yet?

So our defense this week, same offensively, we saw a lot of things against Georgia State. You can get some different looks this week. These first couple games are always a little hard, cat and mouse, how much have you showed, not showed. Where are you going to.

Our ability last week to handle some adversity, be behind, have some things not go really good during the week. I thought our kids handled it well. We'll need that again this week. I don't know with Ball coming in, I was impressed with what I saw. I don't know if we've seen all of what they are yet because I'm sure as they develop, there's more to their offense, defense, kicking that's coming. I know coach is going to be very aggressive in their approach as they come down here.

You're talking about penetration or push. But when you're getting new looks and you got to think, Do you get that? That will be interesting this week. Like I say, I thought our offense last week got a lot of different looks and adjusted and still played pretty hard. It will be interesting this week. I think the same dynamic has a chance to appear to some degree. I think that's just college football. Each week you're getting your ability to handle success and failure, your ability to adjust and be adaptable is key.

We live with kids that are waiting for the new iPhone, things change so fast, I think kids are used to change. Old people, we're used to habitual things, do it this way, do it over and over and over. Our team seems to have the ability to be adaptable. That's a quality of a good team. That was encouraging the other night.

I think we'll have to do that this week and still get the penetration, push you're talking about, try to minimize the run game.

Q. What did you like out of Rich's first performance? Where does he need to clean up?
COACH WILSON: I thought he was pretty good. Those are better numbers than Sudfeld had against that team last year. You guys got Google. Hit '15 season stats, says recap, pulls it up.

First game, no turnovers. Sometimes I think communication can be better, communication issues with center, quarterback, snaps, voice inflection, command presence. Hey, we're ready, let's go ahead and attack. Sometimes I think he was being a little reactionary. A few times he got bluffed, went the wrong way. Some windows got tight.

18 of 27, 67%, threw for 240. It was good. Could be a lot better, but it was good. He's really working hard on his footwork. He has a long way to go. I thought for a first-time starter, look how his numbers compare in the league after one game. What was neat, we got a (indiscernible) on offense, everybody was like, It's not very good. I'm like, Okay, I like that. We're starting at a point where people expect more out of our team. That's good. I expect more out of him. That's a good start. Something to build on.

Q. What did you learn about him in that game that maybe you didn't know going in?
COACH WILSON: You just didn't know how he'd handle it. He's always been kind of calm. He didn't get rattled. But he's been that way since he's been here. You get in games.

Just had a nice look in his eye. Didn't seem different than he seemed the other days he's been in practice. Didn't make the game bigger than it was. Sometimes you can do it.

He acted like he acted. What you saw, I mean, he went through pre-season. I think he completed 67% of his balls, was on target 75% of the time. That's what he was the other night. That's kind of how he's been playing. And he can get better.

The deal with him is just knowledge of what's going on, how to think fast. He's a big man, like Nate. It's just getting your feet underneath you. As you move sometimes, his footwork can get lazy. He tightens he's feet up, gets a base, gets his feet underneath his shoulders, he throws really good balls.

Q. Where has (indiscernible) grown the most since the first month of last season?
COACH WILSON: He's regressing. Had the ball on the ground. On the ground again today. He had hundred-yard games four times in a row which is getting ready not to happen the next time he puts it on the ground because we have about nine guys there. He is getting ready to start seeing the bench.

There's a standard of quarterback play. There's a standard of taking care of the ball. He's going to clean that up. His coach will get him right.

He's doing good. This ain't about stats, it's winning football games. Taking care of the football is big for us. He had a little glitch the other night. It wasn't an accident. He's working hard to clean that up.

Q. You said something about a week ago not being physically as good as he could be. He was in the game.
COACH WILSON: He has a knee bruise. Put the (indiscernible) atomic bomb on it, taped it up, went out and played. He had a bruise, old school bruise. Wasn't an MC grade, whatever. Had a little bruise, went out and played a little football.

He was good. Good on kicking game. Made a couple nice plays. Made a couple nice catches. We didn't know he was playing till Wednesday. He did good. That was good. He's a kid that breaks my heart because that's one more kid I needed a scholarship for. He is a nice, valuable part of our team. I think it shows how much he wanted to play. He pushed himself in rehab through last weekend, Monday, Tuesday to get ready to play. We needed him. We needed him. He did well.

He made a commitment to get himself right. And when called upon, he answered the call. That was really good to see because our team needed him the other night.

Q. You have a newer quarterback. Do you enjoy the teaching aspect?
COACH WILSON: Oh, I don't know. Every time we're just watching tape, we're just talking about playing the game. Until you get out there, you don't know what you got. Hey, you're taking on. You're getting down here, which way is rotation. Where are you going. Did you see the blitz, are you hot.

We're always, whether it be Nate last year, we're scheming up. There's so much time we're watching plays. I am like, Where are we at. What am I thinking. What are you thinking. What do you see right here. What is the next play. What to you like.

We're always talking, trying to get them in sync with the way myself and Coach Johns and the conversations are happening because we don't have the earpiece like they have in the NFL. We're constantly just throwing thoughts at them, trying to get them in sync with what they're thinking. The ball is here, what do you think. We call this play on third down, what do you think we're thinking here. Maybe we called a play you didn't like. Your body language, your voice inflection affects what's going on. You might be disappointed because you wanted something. Here is what we're thinking because here is the next play, here is how we see it.

You can't predict how everything is going to go. You're playing down and distances and field zones in four-down territory when you're backed up. I thought we handled the first half really good. Years ago we would have punted that ball down there. We would have punted. We would have messed something up, we would have punted. Maybe something good would have happened. We eliminated a possession right there.

Well, those are the things we're always talking to quarterbacks about. Slow the clock down. So I don't know whether you say 'enjoy it'.

I don't coach quarterback fundamentals. I coach footwork. What are you seeing. What are you thinking. This is what I'm thinking. What do you see. Why are you waiting for them to get set. I want you to snap it now and throw it right here. Why didn't you throw that bubble. Why didn't you throw that bubble. Did you see that. That bubble is out there. Why didn't you throw the ball. We called it. You can hand it. You can throw it.

We're just trying to get them to have the energy that we have in calling the game and think like us.

I was doing that with Nate through the bowl game. Boom, first down, What do you want. We got to run bubble. What do you think. We're just constantly talking, we're playing the game. I encourage my guys. Tonight there will be a great game on TV tonight. What's the next play for you. What play do you want next.

We had Richard, What play do you want next. Like I would ask Nate, Third down, I got this one or this one. Which one do you want. I want this one. That's what we're doing. Ask the quarterback, what play do you like. We have a bunch of plays. What are you confident in. Wasn't to minimize what we're doing, it's what do you feel good about.

So that to me is a huge part. The quarterback has to be the greatest extension of me and the offensive coach. That's just a part of what we do. I tell you, Coach Allen, when he comes up here, the Mike linebacker has to be the same dude. If the Mike linebacker and the quarterback ain't on the same page of the guy calling the play, ain't real good.

Q. Physical play, is this as good as you've seen Indiana offensively and defensively since you've been here as far as game-one?
COACH WILSON: No. First game. I think you build your physical stuff, it goes. I pull it up for 10th in the conference for defense right now. Stats, 14 teams, we're sitting on 10, okay? I mean, they played hard. But I think you build your physicalness. You start. Without overhitting, you gain more confidence, you play faster, you have more trust. I think it keeps snowballing.

It was a good start. But it's a long way from what we'll need this week because Ball State physically got off Georgia State, physically got after 'em. We'll have a little rest. We're comes 10 games in a row. You know what I'm saying? We have nine conference game. The Big Ten is sitting at 12-2 right now. This first week we go to nine, we'll be 7-7. Right now the Big Ten is 12-2. It was a good start, it was encouraging.

Q. What did you like most out of what Danny Friend was able to do the other night?
COACH WILSON: I thought his injury last year was a little bit more significant than people thought. Big guy, solid, steady, not a flashy guy. Sometimes at tight end, you get a few catches, you think that's a great tight end. Tight ends, at the point of attack or backside reach blocking, which is a critical. We use him a lot in protection.

Him coming back, his catch was nice, but he was as physical as any offensive lineman which to me amounts to being a physical football team. The tight ends are a big part of that. If you watch the Ball State package, their tight ends are a big part of what they do.

Q. (No microphone.)
COACH WILSON: He'll have a surgery. Dislocation. I think he's doing it Tuesday, tomorrow. Just saw him. From that, get a feel for a timeline. It's going to be a significant timeline. But does it go through the season. If it does, he has a redshirt year. Just see how it plays out. We'll bring Thomas, Dorris and the big guys. Everything else is good, though.

Q. Everything else health-wise?
COACH WILSON: I got a little raspy voice, a sinus infection I'm fighting.

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