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October 31, 2016

Kevin Wilson

Bloomington, Indiana

KEVIN WILSON: All right, the last game, defensively Marcus Oliver played a very strong game, was our defense player of the game. He had nine tackles, two sacks, two caused fumbles. Played really good in the second half in particular. Tony Fields had a heck of a game. He was 8-8 in opportunities and seven total tackles. Every time he had a chance to make a play he batted perfect. Those were our two pest players defensively. Marcelino Ball made some plays, really played hard, with great effort. Let a few things out, got to fit some plays better, some balls got outside of us, we lost contain more than we had in any game, we didn't get off blocks as well and didn't tackle as well. Credit Maryland, they were a very good offensive team coming in, but we got to do better. Even though we had some glitches we did, I know Coach Allen talked before, he talked about critical time execution, whether it be the first third down, we get a pressure sack that takes them out of a four down territory or maybe a possible field goal, although it was into the wind, I don't know if they would have kicked the field goal from there, but with the sack caused them to punt. And from there we took the opening drive down. Greg Gooch's tackle on the speed sweep, when it was third and three on about the 12, 13, 14, yard line, it was holding them to a field goal, that's a four-point play.

Marcus Oliver at mid field on third and three causes a fumble that goes out of bounds, but the lost yardage caused them to punt, they might have went for it at mid field, if he doesn't make that play. Then his caused fumble that Marcelino recovered. And then A'Shon Riggins on the two-point stop. Those were all four, five critical point saving defensive plays and when you're in a one possession game, you don't make those plays, you're on the wrong side of the ledger defensively. We got to play better. We did our third interception of the year negated by penalty and we did have several drives with an unsportsmanlike on fans that led to touchdown. The late hit was kind of protecting the quarterback, not a hard hit, but the shot that Hoff had on the quarterback gave him one more play. So some of our penalties, first half, we jump offsides, we get hands to face on an interception, next play they score a touchdown. So three of their touchdown drives we had some critical penalties and our discipline's got to improve significantly. Offensively Dan Feeney played well, outstanding game. Five knock downs, playing hard back to back, looking like himself. Ian Thomas at tight end, five knock downs and 33 plays, graded really, really high, coming on at tight end which is really helping our play. And I think our tight end and O line play has been the best it's been, which really helped the offense, it's the best it's been in a while, they had a great week of practice. Devine Redding was really good with 134 total yards. And Tyler Natee with 111 yards. Tyler was freshman Big-10 Player Of The Week and Marcus was the Defensive Player Of The Week. I think it's the first time we had a defensive player since 2005, somebody said, and first time we had one in a Big-10 game, before that I think it was a non-conference game. So great credit to Marcus, appreciate his efforts. Wide receivers played hard, but nothing special. Richard Lagow, his best game, graded out extremely high, was really great on third downs, really great standing in the pocket, his best game by far. Offensively, the good start, the two drives early, and we bogged down, drive three and four in the scoring zone, but that was good to see. Two touchdowns out gate really got us going. The first third down conversion, we didn't make our first third down at Northwestern where we drop a pass. We actually misconnect -- we didn't get that first drive going, we got that first drive going, it was just a little shallow crosser that Nick Westbrook had a nine yard gain that got us going. That's a play that no one remembers, but it was really good play that got us going, because we hadn't gotten going a few times. So some simple plays were critical to the offense, they had no turnovers, they're third downs were better, rushing yardage was really, really good. Again, we still glitched some score zone opportunities, we got some selfishness in some of our demeanor that needs to get cleaned up as we move forward. Kicking game, kick coverage wasn't good, two out of bounds, our kicking game was very, very poor. Which is not good. Didn't get much out of kick return. Only had two punts. One wasn't that good. Punt return didn't do much. We can impact the game there. Didn't. PAT, field goal. We miss a hold at PAT and we miss a field goal. So us kicking the ball was very, very poor. Offensive player of the game, we had three, Feeney, Redding and Natee. Defensive player of the game was Marcus Oliver. Both he and Tyler got recognized by the Big-10. There's no special team player of the game. Scouts were Payton Ramsey, who is doing awesome. Chris Gage and Alex Rodriguez. Scout D was Andre Brown, Thomas Henderson and Jake Atar. Going into Rutgers, they're coming off an open date. As they went through the coaching change at Rutgers, it can look a little, 2-6, not good, but they played right now teams that are rated 2, 4, and 6. Couple of those games got away from them. They played two of those games on the road that are tough venues. One's long travel. The Michigan contest which they played three, four weeks ago now. First quarter they're three and out, three and out, three and out, Michigan playing after them, and then Michigan made a few plays and it snowballed. The other games, against Iowa it's a 14-7 one possession game. Their Illinois game's a one possession game until a couple plays at the end make it 24-7. And then their last game at Minnesota, which I think is a team that's played as good or much better than we have this year, last play of the game Minnesota kicks a field goal to win the game 34-32. They settled on a different quarterback. They're very good at the line of scrimmage. O line, D line. We have not been a team that handles success well. Going on the road is hard. Winning Big-10 games is hard. And we had some things Saturday that if we don't fix and take out of our football will haunt us. It will be a strong challenge. And looking forward to a good week and seeing if we can get better and keep moving forward. Questions?

Q. The slow starts in their games, is there a mentality that your team has to have to have that killer instinct to get those tack-on scores that puts them out of their misery?
KEVIN WILSON: I don't --it again, I don't know how much you can score early or late if any game gets out of hand in college ball. With just no-huddle, kicking issues everyone's having, a lot of people are more aggressive blocking kicks. We got to a great job in our kick protection this week and in kick cover. It would be nice to start fast, which we didn't at Northwestern on the road and we didn't in the early kick. Although I thought we had a good week of prep and we played three good quarters. Last week we came out and nothing -- we didn't talk a lot about it, except we just made a couple third downs early. We make the crossing route, we stand there and make a middle crossing route, we hit a screen on third and something down there. We had several third down conversions that got us to the end zone. And so to me -- and same thing defensively. We get a sack that caused them to punt and we got a turnover. So we got some stops early last game and we got some conversions. Vice versa, in the two previous games, the opposite happened. We didn't get the stop out the gate and we didn't get a conversion. So it's execution, and again, I don't know if anything, like last game, as well as we played, you got a few glitches, human error, and you don't play better disciplined football, you don't take care of the football -- we did better job last week of that -- you know, I don't know if no lead's safe. So as far as anybody out of their misery, we got to get better. We got to get our kicking better, tackle better. Our offense has been inconsistent and we got to prove that we're a consistent football team. And do it on the road. So getting off to a good start would be early, would be good, to get off to a good early start, but we also got to play four quarters, because you don't win on road if you don't go the distance.

Q. Brandon Knight kind of exit --
KEVIN WILSON: He got a leg injury that -- he's not going to require surgery, but he's going to be kind of gimped up here for awhile. I don't know if he'll be going this week. So he's got lower leg deal.

Q. Talk about what Delroy Baker did.
KEVIN WILSON: He did good. He did all right. Yeah. Bailey did good when Feeney wasn't there. We got 85 scholarships.

Q. (No microphone.)
KEVIN WILSON: Guys like he and Diamont, you're in a world where sometimes you get down, you get selfish. Those are two guys that haven't played probably as much as they would like. They both played a lot the other day. But they have been pretty good teammates. When you're in a world where selfishness is kind of easy and individual needs and your things, those have been pretty good teammates. So it was good. Greg's coaching him hard. He's been here for awhile. We'll have big DaVondre Love can play out there. Feeney has played out there if we need it. There will be -- we'll have five guys. But it was good for Delroy and that's why, again, patience, working hard, getting better. Our team needs to get better this week. And I think it's a credit to Delroy, Delroy had a solid performance, he can do better. He's not as good as Brandon Knight, that's why he wasn't starting. At the same time, too, everyone around him, like Ian Thomas playing better, and Danny Finn playing better at tight end helps tackles. And so it's one thing for Delroy to come in, but any time -- you're at the time of year where every team's got injuries and guys have to continue to pick it up. But it was good to have Delroy come in and play well.

Q. (No microphone.)
KEVIN WILSON: He's gotten beaten out. He practices, he's just not in the mix.

Q. (Question about the kicking game.)
KEVIN WILSON: A little bit of both. Starts with coaching. What you inspect versus expect, what you enable guys to did, and then you got to get the right guys out there. It's the time of year where you take a little bit off your linebackers covering kicks, you got your backups in, they better do the job. Those kick transition plays are hard. So, I mean, it's a -- kicking has not, it didn't hurt us the other day, it just didn't help us. It was disappointing kick two out of bounds. One return was to the 35, except they had a holding penalty -- sorry, kick cover team which has actually been, through the years, kind of decent, has not been well. Our field goal protection and our hold has been off this year. That needs to pick up. Punting's gotten a little bit better. Not great but better. And we got to make something in the return game.

Q. Talked about the coaching change and you're not going to learn that much from last year's film because of that, but just last year's game, you had a lot of guys who played in that game last year. Just emotionally, does that resonate this week at all?
KEVIN WILSON: No. It's like you guys, who are you going to talk about. All the guys that are playing hurt and everybody wants to deal in the negatives. We're dealing on. We got a really good team. Trying to get better. And it's this week. We let that one get away with a kicking blunder and a couple turnovers in the fourth quarter and letting plays out and, you know, that one's, you know, we didn't even, that, that's the first I actually thought about when you first brought it up. We are looking at them this year and us this week, for what it's worth. I mean, it's not a revenge, there's no, there's no, you -- to me, every year, every game, every team, every week's different, so it's like, hey, here's where you're at, here's your injuries you're dealing with. Here's some things that are working or not working. Here's some things you got to improve on from coaching or player development or expectations. You're kind of just in the present and here's where it is. I think our football team as a whole learned from that, but I don't think that has anything to do with this week. I think we learned from that a while past and kind of went on past it, I think. And maybe a kid's mentioned it or a coach mentioned it, but in my scouting report, we talk about their team, this year, this week. That's all we dealt with.

Q. (Question about Marcelino Ball.)
KEVIN WILSON: He's good. Neither is Coy Cronk. And if you think about it, you got A'Shon Riggins, Coy Cronk and Marcelino Ball. Those are three freshmen that are playing three of the hardest positions in college football in one of the hardest brackets in college football. So if you want to say a guy that played, what was it, Division II? When he's at Lafayette Catholic? And now he's playing left tackle in the Big-10, starting every game, we're on an island and you can't hide, against some of the better players in college ball, that's not an easy task. And to come up to work like he's done -- you got A'Shon Riggins out there, you can't hide, and we're playing one-on-one and Marcelino gets out there one-on-one and the way we do some things in coverage he's got to support the edge, support the run and one-on-one. And all three of those guys have been very impressive in their talent, but I think more than their talent, just -- they're kind of mature kids. They don't get rattled -- Marcelino -- they're great families, very well-educated families, they're very mature for their ages. They were groomed as young kids to kind of be men and they can stand out there in a man's game and as a young man and mentally process and not make the game bigger than it is. I've been impressed with those guys. There are freshmen in our freshmen class that probably have more skill than those guys, but those guys are more grown and they're more complete and they're playing well. And they're playing -- they're more grown than some of our older guys. It's just with their maturity and the way they go about their stuff. Those are three really good players. Marcelino is awesome. He's a big time player. And those other two guys aren't far behind. They ought to be Freshmen All-Americans and all that stuff. They're pretty legit, to tell you the truth.

Q. The way Marcus Oliver plays and leads to these forced fumbles, he's broken records and that --
KEVIN WILSON: He goes for the ball. It would be nice to have more of them do it. The one play you see him rear back and just -- on the one that went out of bounds, he's got a knack for it. You talk about tackling the ball and nose to the ball, we did give up a touchdown when one of our DB's went to tackle the ball instead of the guy on their one long run. So there's a fine line. But we practice it, we practice it in drills, we do it today, we did it today. And the give away take away deal is huge in winning games. So I know coaches have emphasized it, I know he would like to have more. I know he's disappointed that penalties have taken away turnovers. And turnovers are huge. But Marcus has a knack. And he's good. He's got an eye, I would say like it's easy when you're playing sports that you visually get distracted a lot, I think he's got his eye on the ball a lot. I don't think he gets distracted. That would be interesting to ask him. In golfing sometimes you watch the club instead of the ball, you visually get distracted and it's just sitting there. I think there's a lot of moving parts and I think Marcus has -- everybody talks about a nose for the ball, I think he's got an eye for the ball. I think he sees it and is pretty uniquely gifted there. I don't think it's luck, because it's happened a lot. Happens a lot in practice too.

Q. The way you ran the wildcat this week, how much did you work on it prior to this to last week's preparation for this game?
KEVIN WILSON: Very little. We have been doing it some, because we always do like a zone read option period and we have always used Tyler as some of that just to handle the ball. He's naturally, he played, he played quarterback for two years, he played at one of the better high school programs in the country, he played in crowds a lot larger than the one we had Saturday a lot of times in high school. So he's used to being in front of people, playing realtime football, and being the guy. So, he handles the ball really well. And so we had always done power read and zone read plays. We wrinkled that, some of those things up on Monday, because Maryland did a fair amount of that with Perry Hillis and their running game. We actually went against each other and kind of, we were getting looks for us, but we were kind of serving the defense and the nature of the opponent allowed to us do that. Sometimes when we do stuff like that though my experience says, I put a lot of time on that, like that first snap Wes doesn't snap it on time. Thankfully they caught him for being in procedure, because he snapped it over his head. Because my experience says, I spend a lot of time doing those wrinkles and then we don't do them in the game and you have a poor week because you end up doing a lot of things you don't practice because you practiced the wrinkles. So we were able last week to go off of some banked reps; and he being a great quarterback, of handling that. And then from that it was subtle wrinkles of normal things we do and then we were able to go against a defense because Maryland was a little bit of a running team that did that. And that helped, that then helped us keep our passing game and our third down game sharp. And we were good, except for the scoring zone being sharp. So the timing of the way last week's practice, the opponent helped us, because we had some crossover work that got us a lot of reps that even helped sync it up. Because they -- the credit was to the kids. And the wrinkle was okay, but the credit was the line and it's the best the tight ends played and the best the line had played in a long time. And so when they do their stuff -- you can scheme up anything, but when you don't block people, you got problems. We hadn't blocked. We had played some strong defenses -- no slight to Maryland's, because I think they're in about the mid 50s in total defense -- but we played some decent defenses and so, but, anyway, there was some banked reps there.

Q. Do you continue to use it?
KEVIN WILSON: Yeah, we'll see. You can. It's a fine line where you get too cute and get too much. We got to find a run game. We got to do something to run the ball and I really felt with our offensive line, Devine coming pack and Danny, you could run some normal stuff, and some of those weeks our base stuff we didn't run block it very well and we didn't get a run game going, so it was just trying to jump start the run game. And now that doesn't really change our offense still, it's still the same offense and we'll we -- to me we've always played the personnel. We're a little bit different when Tevin was a running back, a little bit different when Jordan is the running back, we're a little bit different when Shane was in the slot. You're a little bit different when Teddy is tight end versus Danny Friend. You always play to personnel and what guys can and can't do. But that's a unique group and we'll find ways we can -- and I couldn't have told you last week we were going to do a lot or a little. I had no idea. Because you really don't know. You just get in the flow of games and all of a sudden you kind of ride some hot hands. I thought the way we transitioned back and forth was good. The credit was the blocking, the credit was the kids executed. How was that?

Q. Do you guys ever just say, okay, let's, I don't want to say whimsical, but let's try something new, something different, just to see how it works? Do you do that a lot or try to stay to the basics?
KEVIN WILSON: Oh, you got to stay basics. I have, like all I do in the meetings is think out loud a bunch. And I got a lot more thoughts than we ever get to. Just stupid stuff. Just throwing stuff, how about this, how about this, how about that, how about this, look at this guy. Because then you got to center it back down and not get too much. Because you got to be able to execute it. So we throw a lot out there every week. The kids will tell you a couple weeks ago like, hey, man, don't do too much, just let us go play hard. There's a fine line. And so last week we were able to do it where we relied off some banked reps that we had, we had some crossover practice, and we were able to do many so things where it didn't get heavy in preparation. So you didn't feel weighted down, you didn't feel loaded down. And going forward it will be interesting, because, again, you can get way too smart, way too cute, you got to find some answers. Again the run game though it struggled, the run/pass game it struggled, we gotten one dimensional and we're, the broken offense is a lot better when you can run it. And last week we did.

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