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September 19, 2016

Kevin Wilson

Bloomington, Indiana

COACH WILSON: All right. Good to see you. Dan Feeney and Dimitric Camiel, Dan had a lot of plays, was playing really strong. We'll see what his situation is this week and just the doctors, letting him go if he does. But Dimitric also played well up front in the offensive performances, Devine Redding, Mike Majette, a lot of yards after contact, both good rushing performances. Devine for 110 and Majette, six for 57.

Mitchell Paige and Nick Westbrook were both good in perimeter, six catches and Mitch had five knockdowns in the perimeter, Westbrook had three, two big touchdowns.

Defensively, Ralph Green played really well, had a sack and two quarterback knockdowns and graded 88 percent, was solid. Marcus Oliver, eight tackles an a forced fumble, really good. Tony Fields, four tackles, one assist, two pass breakups. He was 7 and 9 out of opportunities. And when he got a chance to make a play, and really making it, is playing well for us. Rashard Fant, didn't get a lot of action, but when he was two-for-two in pass breakups, those guys went well.

Kicking game, our punt team let us down. Working hard to correct that. First week it was our field goal. We have to be complete in all phases, so we're working hard there. Didn't have a lot of kickoff return -- our kicker was very solid. Mitchell did a great job kicking, but the field goal before the half by Mitchell Paige was really good.

Players of the game, Redding on offense, Marcus Oliver on defense, Griffin Oakes as the specialist.

Our scout Players of the Week were Alex Rodriguez and Watercutter, two upperclass guys. A-Rod has been awarded a scholarship, former walk on. Jake Attar, doing a nice job.

I thought that was -- I saw a performance, played the first three quarters good. I don't know if we had a lull. I think we probably played like our fans and just left in the fourth quarter, it looked like. But the first three quarters we were good, we were up 30-0. I like the way we played. Just we had them down 30-0 second nine, and we had to hit some second team guys in there defensively. Had to play out, got a driving going and got a field goal. And offense, we were trying to slow it down and got a little bit out of rhythm. Got a little bit out of rhythm. Kept putting us back on the field. The block punt definitely hurt us.

Never felt threatened. I read some of the comments, everyone thought it was like Rutgers -- Rutgers, we didn't stop them. These guys didn't score one touchdown, so I kind of felt like we were in control of the game. Would have been nice to have been cleaner, you know. And that's not necessarily take the foot off the gas, but just clean up the offense a little bit. Defense a little bit more of a killer instinct.

But I really have a lot of respect for Ball State coming in there and I thought they played solid game. And for the most part we were really, really pretty solid, and we just got to finish. We finished both halves in our first two games good. We finished the (buffer) execution, all phases, it could be better. Going into Wake Forest, they are coming in, 3-0, they just played Delaware last week. Totally dominated that game. I think going into the fourth quarter, they had given up two first downs. And you can say it's an FCS opponent, but the Big Ten as a rule, you can't play FCS teams, but for some reason, a couple teams are playing them and look at the scores of those games. We've lost a couple, those are good teams.

And there's only I think six undefeated matchups this week in Power Five. And the reason being is a lot of Power Five teams aren't taking care of winning games you're supposed to win. There's been some crossovers and some good teams playing good teams, but you look at it I think it's Florida, Georgia, A&M, Arkansas, Michigan State, Wisconsin, lost to Wake.

So you're playing a team that when you've won three in a row, you know, that team last week came in, was averaging 330 yards a game rushing, held them to about 40. Totally shut them down in the run game. They are running very, very well. They had that injury at quarterback but they had that last year. Last year their starting quarterback was knocked out against Wake Forest, Hinton came in, throwing into the end zone.

This year, I guess Kendall got -- hurt his knee to some degree. They are fortunate to have two good quarterbacks, so we'll see how their quarterback situation plays out. But they have got a good team. And I say that, because to me, it's the second time we've played this team, but it's five years in a row I've seen them. Because in 2013 we opened up early with Bowling Green, which meant we studied the 2012 Bowling Green team, which was Coach Clawson's team. So we watched the 2012 season getting ready for the opener. And then we played Wake last year, 2015 early, so we watched the 2014 Wake Forest team.

So we've studied this team for five years. We've seen them play a lot of football. Their defense, Coach Echol's defense is extremely stout, extremely strong against the run, pressuring the quarterback. They have been; they were at Bowling Green. He's been a coach that I've respected in the way they played, and I've had my eye on him as a coach for a long time. Thought he was just an awesome coach. His kids play hard. You look at the way Louisville is playing, I think last year, their Louisville game was, what, 19-17. They played late in the year. I mean, they go toe-to-toe with those guys. I know it's the next year but still the same quarterback. I guess the guy's gotten better, I'm sure he has, but you watch those guys play, shut out Clemson in the second -- watch them, how they played against us last year. Basically they had, what was their second team quarterback, Kendall, who actually won the job this year, but last play of the game, they are throwing it in the end zone.

So again a lot of respect for the team. Know the school well, because I grew up down there, so that's kind of neat. But it's really about this year's team and their team. I think they are a solid team. Great on defense. They are playing great in the kicking game. Their kicker is going to kick it about eight yards deep. They have had two punters. The guy last week had a 49-yarder. They are great in the kicking game. They have taken care of the football and they are playing team football and they have had three really good team wins.

I think we've had two good team wins. So I think it's two teams that match up, it's going to be on BTN. Should have a great crowd and I encourage our fans to stay with us and stay behind us all the way down the stretch because got a chance to be a stretch game (buffers) see what happens, have a lot of fun and make this an exciting atmosphere.

I know we'll have a big crowd starting out. We want to play well down the stretch and I think Wake comes in as a good team. I think it's a good matchup. We've had a good off-week of practice. We've had a couple injuries that are kind of pulled up (ph) with some guys, but we are as healthy as we've been. A lot of guys are getting back. We have practiced really, really good, and we're going to need a good week because I think Wake comes in as a stout team and then we roll into straight nine Big Ten games. So getting ready to get real and get serious, and I think our guys are looking forward to the challenge. Will be a big game and a good week.

Q. You talk about studying them. What changes between -- how much does change and how much is scheme?
COACH WILSON: Well, they both run, probably Kendall is a little bit more of a dynamic runner and you might emphasize that run skill because he's maybe a home run but in every game, and even last year, Wofford is a solid runner, and they are going to run -- they will run him. He probably spins the ball a little bit more, so there's a little bit more pass. So it's the same offense. I think the emphasis goes a little from, not maybe as much zone read or triple option kind of stuff they do, with a little bit more maybe run pass.

But at the same time, again, we saw Kendall last year, and he threw the ball well on us down the stretch. We have to tighten our pass-D up. I think the scheme stays similar, but things they emphasize are a little bit different because one guy is probably a little bit more of a guy that runs, a little bit more of a throw guy.

They are still going to run the ball because they are going to allow him good defense and good kicking. The ability of both teams to run the ball and stop the run, no matter -- that's always been the gist of a lot of games. You make those big passing games, it's easy, but the run and stopping the run, that's kind of the way we start and that's kind of the way they start, too.

Q. You guys watched, the first two games, issues falling down --
COACH WILSON: Just some negative plays gets you second and 12. You know, just lack of execution. Maybe sometimes we could be a little bit more aggressive but then you're worried about getting behind chains. When we block down, we've had something -- like last game, we had several games that were tackled for loss, and we didn't protect the quarterback very well. And this team gets after the quarterback the best of any team we've played, and we'll see this continuing with the guys we've got coming. So the negative play, getting us behind chains, you know, 30-, 35-, 40-, 40-yard line area, has got us.

Q. (No mic).
COACH WILSON: Yeah, he has a concussion protocol deal. I just saw him at lunch.

Q. (No mic).
COACH WILSON: It's hard, that's why you got -- I don't know if there are upsets anymore, but just so much competitive balance in football. I mean, the game is played now where it's in space. College game, the clock stops so much with the first downs and all the passes going on in college. So it's a longer game which just means there's more opportunities.

And I don't know if -- I mean, you know, there's been several scores of you're up 14, 17, 18, whatever, that you just got to keep playing. And you know, some kicking blunders that all of us can go through with on sides and hands and you get a turnover in the mix, so to me, it's just no lead is safe. You're never out. Just keep playing.

So you talk about it, but human nature. We've had some really good practices, and one of our comments afterwards is it's really hard to keep doing what you're doing, which means just keep doing good, because human nature, you relax.

So we're talking to the team about having a little bit more of a killer instinct, but you have to keep getting up. But what if you're not; just keep playing. It's never good. Never bad. You've just got to keep playing. We showed a lot of plays, you saw a lot of examples this week of guys making foolish plays, dropping the ball before they scored.

We showed an example of a game the other day, two ranked, highly-ranked, great teams, and there was a defense score and 30 yards behind the play, there was a personal foul. And on the personal foul, they took it on the kickoff which meant they kicked off from the 20. Well the guy kicked it out of bounds, so now the ball was on the 50 and two plays later they scored, and that defensive score was negated. And next thing you know, the team behind was leading and went on to victory.

And so, no lead is safe. You've got to play smart. You've got to play hard. You've got to finish. But I think because so many people are spreading it, the passing games are getting so good. I mean, our game on these guys last year was kind of like the Ball State game last week. We weren't killing them but we had a 14-point lead or 17-point lead and we were playing solid and next thing you know, they got the ball and they are chunking (ph) trying to tie it up, so you've just got to keep playing.

And then -- victory is hard. That's why, you know, I saw a comment from an ESPN guy that he wanted to be the first one to say Wake and Indiana were undefeated. Wanted to be the first guy to say it. Well, it's because there ain't a lot of people do that because it's hard to win games. Because it's playing good every week, overcoming mistakes and staying hungry and staying humble. It's human nature. It's human beings. Our sport has the greatest number of human beings, and it's getting all those elements to work together. So it's a challenge, for every coach.

Q. How do you prepare your guys, especially the young players -- how do you prepare them for that?
COACH WILSON: Well, again, I think the way we came out of our summer and we put a lot of thought, I mean, I think I did the preseason schedule about 40 times -- adjustable. You show me a coach that has -- a recruiting coach that has a schedule and I'll know you not a good recruiter because you've got to adjust.

So we put a lot of planning on how we want to practice and we adjust. So we put a lot of time how we thought to be at our best to try to win those first two games, but also be ready for the long haul because we thought we could have overdone it too soon. And we didn't want to take this past week totally off, and we also didn't want to overwork.

Shoot, if you win games, you're doing things right. But we put a lot of thought -- I think our kids have bought in. I think our kids are having fun at practice, practicing hard but there's a lot of energy, and that's pretty good. And I mean, I've got some old guys, like you've got some old walk-on guys like Alex Rodríguez should be playing more. He's a very talented guy but he's in a competitive situation and he's winning scout team player of the game.

You've got old guys buying in. T.J. Simmons is coming off a bum knee where he's not really playing yet. He's got a red shirt year but we are just trying to get him -- he's practicing full blown on the scout team. He came the other day said, "Coach on the punt team, let me tell you something about a snapper I think would help us."

When Chase Dutra and Ralph Green didn't play the first week, they might have been our two best practice players and when you have guys like that practicing hard, they are buying in; so then as a coach, you're not pulling teeth at practice. You can kind of -- I think our guys are embracing the process, understanding our process. And it's going to be a challenge but college football -- it's this week and the weeks to come, and we're going to have bumps and bruises, we're going to have injuries, we're going to overcome that the best we can but we're going to keep playing.

But I think the team has bought into the new strength coach, new defensive staff and what's going on and the way we're trying to play as a team. And we're not great yet, but we are trying to become a stronger and better team each week and we're working hard to do that.

Q. Thought he would be back the first week, possibly could he get out there Saturday --
COACH WILSON: He's no different than Dan. We're waiting for the doctors to clear him. So he's practicing. He's cleared for practice. And you know, it's not my call. It's those guys determine that.

I got yelled at years ago when our]running back was sitting on the bench because he was sick. Wasn't my call. He couldn't go. I got a great running back sick, and we did beat Missouri and our rival -- he had sickle cell. So the doctors will control when Camion can play. He's practicing but it's their call.

Q. Is there a guy --
COACH WILSON: Well, the thing is, you know, and again, you've got Rick, played a lot of ball. Donovan Hale is coming on, really good in practice, needs some game confidence. Looks really good and made a nice catch in the first game, but got a chance, very talented and still young at the position. Nick is doing solid. Over a hundred yards a game. He's one of the top guys in the conference in receiving yardage, so ain't like we're broken there.

Luke Timian has played out there. We'll get Camion going at those spots and he can come in the backfield, move him around. And the way the defense has played, we actually hear today, and I don't know if it's an answer, but in time, if we need it, he's not done well off the field, or just in confidence, but been very immature with some things. And has done well on both sides of the ball. We moved Leon Thornton back there today, but it's more for Leon that we need him at receiver.

The defense was doing well, but he's been a little bit moody and just needs to mature and grow up. I said, hey, you know, I don't need you at receiver, but you're not playing defense. So we'll see, maybe that guy gets back in the mix. He was playing a year ago at receiver. I thought that we needed him at DB. Played great over there. Was playing great, had him playing some (buffers) he needs to grow up a little bit but I thought part of his immaturity might be frustration. I said, "Where do you want to play?" Like Chris Covington, where to you want to play?

He said, "I want to play receiver."

"Well, come on back. No guarantee you're going to play." But maybe that helps a little bit.

Q. Do you back off defense -- how do you approach that group, and on offense -- (no mic).
COACH WILSON: Well, I think to me, what does back off mean. So you can still rush and if you can always rush hard and create quarterback havoc with three or four rushers, then you don't stress your coverage out. If you can't, so the real deal is what can you do when you have a lead; and if you're saying you have a lead, you think a team might be a little bit more one-dimensional to just make the quarterback work and make him work in coverages, but also make him field the rush.

And without being cheap, and you try to get hits on the quarterback with sacks or your clean plays on him where he feels the rush. So you know, you can -- if you can drop eight and three guys can affect the quarterback, that's what you'd love to do. Or if you have three guys that can rush. And if you're in a four-man structure deal, can those four guys, if the guy is -- you want the guys patting the ball. Because if they are patting the ball, sooner or later guy's going to come open and he's going to find the seam. And so it's just if he can't -- but when you add on and you start bringing five-man pressure or six-man pressure, now you're playing man-to-man, or you have seams in your defense. And that's the rub. So the deal is, no matter what you're doing, you can't lift the pedal off trying to harass the quarterback.

Q. You mentioned fan support, how much does that play in?
COACH WILSON: It is what it is. We just talked about create your own energy. I think our team's close. We don't have (ph) a long way to go but I think we're playing good. It's just, we've got good fans. Those tailgates are still there. If you buy the good enough cooler, that stuff will stay cold for you. Just ride out the second half, man. Just play ball. I mean, we're just -- they're good kids. I'm not complaining about them but the great thing about the home crowd is the energy of the fans, and you love to have second half energy. And at the same time, the football team has to create it. The fans aren't going to cheer if you don't make plays. The more -- I remember saying that a long time ago as a coach, you guys start waving towels, if you make a play, they would yell. And it wasn't here, it was another school. It was great school. We make plays, they will start screaming.

So we're a part of that deal but I think our team, we slowly keep getting better. There's great competition. We have a great slate of games this year. Wake coming in and five Big Ten games. I think we've got a beautiful stadium, got a great setup around here. I think our team is working hard to be competitive.

Like Terry Evans said years ago, fans help you win games, and love to have our fans come help us because I think together, that's our house, and they are a part of us. It's not my house. It's not my team's house. That's our house. It's our fans' place. It's our place. You walk into the assembly hall, it's an advantage. It's a real advantage. I think actually this arena here is very loud. Very much on top of you.

When I go to some of the places I've ever played that were loud, Marshall, Oklahoma State, some of those places that are small and that are right on top of you, you can feel the fans. I hope our team will keep playing well and we keep the momentum going and the fans will embrace the energy of our team and ride out with us.

Q. Might be able to come back before the end of the year with ankle surgery -- how do you balance that and what is the thought process trying to get him back at the end of the year?
COACH WILSON: Well, one is health. If he has, I mean, that's the deal right now. It's short-term and long-term health risk with anyone coming off injury. That's what the doctor is looking at. Hey, short term, where is he today and this week. And where are we long term: Long term this season and long term your life when you're looking at things. That's what the doctors are looking at now.

So it's one thing, you've got a game coming up here in five, six days. But you have more games, you have a career and you have a life and the sport can be very demanding on you. First thing you look at is just physical well being, and from there, I'd ask a serious question, if you've got a red-shirt year, if you're a five-year guy or not, you know. And if he thinks he's not a five-year guy -- but at the same time, too. We could be talking about a moot point, but maybe the injury will be such that it's not even till Bowl time if you're a Bowl team. So we've got a lot of work to do about that.

But he's engaged in meetings. So is Jordan Fuchs. Jayshawn (ph) had his surgery. They are all doing well. We always talk about all the hurt guys. We've got a really hard-working, good-looking team out there that's going to have a really good challenge from a team that we respect. And hope we have a great crowd that's energetic, and trust both teams are going to play well. Sets up for a good ten-game run for our team and for our fan base and for recruiting, and looking forward to it.

Q. (No mic).
COACH WILSON: I just got a break -- we still got some hurt guys. But we still got some really good players who are going to try real hard to win.

You guys good? Have a good one.

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