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INDIANA UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
November 14, 2016
COACH WILSON: Hitting back on our last game here. Quickly, again, just some defensive things were good but not a good finish. Offense, big plays. Struggled with turnovers were extremely difficult to overcome, difference in the game.
Players that we thought played well, our offensive player of the game we recognized Dan Feeney and Devine Redding. I think Dan had 12 knock downs. In fact, I heard them say today that Coach Frey missed two of them. So might have had 14. Devine had over 100 yards, played very hard. Ran the ball well offensively.
Defensively Tony Fields really good. I think he was 10 of 10 in opportunities, had a chance to make a play. Had eight solo tackles interception on the ball. Played well showed up in kicking game. And Marcus Oliver very strong game.
Our special team player of the game, guy's been playing very well, graded very well, all three of our safeties played well, but Chase Dutra kind of rotating with Tony and John Crawford at safety and playing his best football. All three of those guys had winning performances for us at the safety position as did Tegray.
I think up front Greg Gooch and Jacob Robinson played well. But Chase Dutra was recognized as special team player of the game. It's about three weeks in a row recognized on punt cover, kickoff return, just great effort and a guy that's playing a lot of football on the defensive side.
Gavin Everett defensively, Ryan Watercutter, Grayson Stover and Clyde Newton were the scout guys, did a good look for us there.
Michigan coming or going to Michigan this week, they're coming off a loss. Talk about playing great all year, 9-1. They'll be three or four or five in the college poll when it comes out, by rankings they're up there, played great.
They're really good in all phases when you watch them. I mean offensively I think they're running for 230 and passing for 230. And a lot of people talk about balance, you think it's 50/50 or even, but those are pretty stout numbers both directions. They throw it very efficiently. Always have. Their quarterback played very well. Strong tight end, couple tight ends. They play four, five, six of them. But Jake Butt is outstanding. Their fullback plays awesome. Playing shuffle running backs. Want to watch the young freshmen Chris Evans from Ben Davis, who a lot of you guys know has played -- an outstanding year and dynamic player. Receivers outside have lit it up.
Last year one kid, I think, he had five touchdowns against us and he's back. And the other receiver's playing better than him this year. So again a very complete offense and have played very solid all year.
Defensively, probably playing better on defense than their 11 points a game, giving up. Very attack-oriented. They talk a lot about pressure, but the pressure they put is just how hard they play every play. Whether they're blitzing or not blitzing, whether challenging every throw, a lot of man-to-man coverages, bracket coverages and just a front with -- playing seven, eight, nine, ten guys, linebackers pinning their ears back getting after you. Kicked it well. Like I said I know they came off Iowa played an outstanding game.
I think you look at our league and several teams that played well or several teams in our league have played really, really well this season.
But I think the Penn State outing and the home field effect there that they had against Ohio State and then the Iowa outing last week at Michigan, great environments and teams really playing hard and very opportunistic. And those were two awesome wins against two great teams as the season propels.
So it'll be a huge challenge going up there. I think our kids, we came in yesterday and really I think had a little different point, I think when you look at our team, I think a lot of people, we've been close. Well, this is the first time we've been close to winning games and played bad.
We've been close and played as good as we could. Didn't turn it over and we weren't good enough. We were physically matched up good, and the things that we're close on that need to get out of our football, I think, are correctible. When you're not big enough or fast enough or deep enough or can't kick it -- we've got a great kicker, got him back on point the other day. Need to keep him on point.
We've got to take care of the ball. Five turnovers, went from third in the nation in fewest fumbles after week eight and at week ten I think we're at 101. So we've dropped I think 98 spots in two weeks. So, again -- and to me it's coaching and that's culture. And we've kind of addressed that again. I think I was ridiculed years ago when Tevin Coleman went to Ann Arbor and fumbled and came out. But our deal is if you fumble you don't play. I don't know what's up with that but that's how we play here. That's our culture, and I take responsibility for those fumbles because I think we've gotten lax with that.
Nothing personal or direct but we're going to get back fight to squeeze, to hang on the ball, take care of the ball. We've got to protect the quarterback and throw it good.
Then defensively, they were good the other day. Build on that. Didn't finish as good as they want. Gotta create a few more turnovers and eliminate the big plays.
A lot to build on. Address it with the kids. We've got a great challenge, great opportunity. I know the kids are looking forward to it. It will be a big week as we move into this one.
Q. Pretty adamant about taking the blame on Saturday for his two fumbles. Did you say anything to him going into this week to get him to hold onto --
COACH WILSON: I said during the game, I said you're acting allocation bit like Griff here but relax. You're good. You didn't mean to. I think -- we talked with some of our youthfulness about some guys being a little more mature. We talked to seniors about don't squeeze so tight and don't press.
You've gotta do your best, you've gotta do it with focus and have that discipline and confidence. And sometimes, I know he wasn't trying to fumble. But again we did -- when he said yesterday he said, he goes to me, walked by grabbed him, we weren't even talking about this, he said, I don't care what you say I lost that game. I said I don't care what you said, I lost that game.
That's me and him going back and forth and neither one would take no to the answer. I can call different plays. When they don't work do something else. We always look at it. You don't make a block, you don't make a throw, you don't make catch, sometimes they don't work.
Sometimes I remember I had a kid get hurt. I said, I wish I would have called another play, he wouldn't have got hurt. At the same time, you make decisions, move forward with them. I talked to him, hey, man, the old conversation we have Griff. Let it go. And I think he's a good enough player, he will definitely do that. That's unusual.
But I know he talked about wanting to leave a legacy. I'd like to see how he finishes again down the stretch here. And he's put in that position and it will be interesting to see, I think he's man enough to overcome and finish like great players finish. Be neat to see how he competes this week, great practice today. Light work as we build. But be neat to see how he finishes. He's a special player, I think. We had a bad day.
Q. Michigan coming off a loss. Really didn't run the ball well. What can you guys take away from the Penn State game where you held Big Ten's best back to 60 yards, what kind of confidence does that give you going forward?
COACH WILSON: Well, you know, you look at like a week ago we were watching Penn State really have a great running day against that Iowa defense. I think they ran for 340 or 50, 60. I think that 567 is the most yardage they've had in a game in Penn State, in a Big Ten game since '94. That being said, though, Iowa came in answered the call. We talk about what do you hear and what's your influences, what's your motivating factors?
Iowa looked very, very motivated. And our deal is like our defense played well but they should still, to me, be very, very motivated that it wasn't good enough.
And you should have confidence. You should see it. You should feel it. You should believe it. You should see all those tackles for losses. The week before a lot of three-and-outs.
There's a lot of good things. But there's two weeks in a row where, at the end of the game, we're not getting some stops that we need. And we gave up a few big plays. And when you commit to the run, like typically you've got to -- unless you're better than people or someone doesn't try to run the ball, you've got to commit to stop the run.
When you commit to stop the run, then you've got some guys out there one-on-one. And sometimes -- we were in position one-on-one and they made some plays. If you watch our guys, there were some times when they're in position and our guys still make -- Westbrook, Ricky, Mitchell, they come up with some good plays one-on-one.
So when we talk about the competitive play, when it's you and him and the ability to make the play. So they made a few competitive plays, but to build on, they should have confidence but they should also have a lot of fire because it wasn't good enough.
I think that's how Coach Allen is approaching it. Like you should see it. You should feel it. You should see it going it the way it wants to go. That's not where we want it to be and let's keep pushing for it.
And to me, I mean, it was evident watching Iowa's defense two weeks in a row, we saw two different things.
And I think it was more of a mindset and, of course, one's at home, one's away, tough crowd. We're going away this week, so we won't have the crowd behind us.
But at the same time, when you're playing defense, I think the crowd affects offense on the road more than defense. Typically, they're kind of quiet when they're operating.
And so your ability to get lined up and communicate doesn't really -- as a matter of fact, it's actually harder for defenses at home if your crowd's really cheering and creating the havoc that you want them to create.
So like to see those guys build on it. And I think they will. Coach Allen's again pretty driven about what he wants. And I know he likes a lot of things and I know he's many things, I know he's pleased, but I know he's not satisfied. I know he's going to keep pushing for it, to keep building it.
Q. Saquon Barkley had 20 yards and 20 carries at the end of the third quarter. And he had a 21-yard run in that stretch, too, which tells you how well he was being stopped. Tony Fields said he thought it was the best fit up front that he's seen. Did you see anything on film?
COACH WILSON: I would say again, when you have confidence in your teammates and you trust that they're going to be in position, then, you know, do your job.
I think sometimes, I talked to Coach Allen about it, but I always felt, in years past, in working with our guys, you know, if a guy didn't believe that a linebacker was going to be there, the "D" lineman is trying to do too much. Or if the linebacker didn't trust what the "D" line was doing, he was doing too much, or the safeties, because they all basically work in conjunction with each other and their ability to keep leverage and eye discipline and structure and so on.
The more we do the coach's package, the better it gets. But also the more success they have, the more confidence they have in not just in themselves but they confidence in each other.
They're all seeing now how, when they put it together, that individually there will be a lot of plays made if you work as a team, the plays will come your way.
Where I think in the past, the individual, I gotta do this, I gotta do this. It's simple, but you've got a job to do, do the assignment, kick some tail while you're doing it.
Q. A guy like Peppers can be all over the field. How challenging is that?
COACH WILSON: From a defensive perspective, now because, again, I've been engulfed kind of watching their defense. They're, of course, moving him around. And so much what they do is either from pressures, and here other guys coming are playing man to man.
When they're man to man, I think where they look at matchups, and they're not going to flip everybody all over the place. Their corners kind of play left and right. But corners get matched up on certain guys. Backers get matched up on certain guys.
And that means sometimes it looks like they'll take a guy like Peppers and, based on matchups, almost have him as an inside linebacker because they need him playing man to man against that type of athlete. Next week it might be against a tight end or a slot player.
So he moves around defensively based on their calls. Also looks like he and a lot of their guys move around based on their opponent and how they're trying to match up in their coverage structure in matchups.
You don't -- I mean, he's an awesome defensive player but they're all pretty stout. So you don't just point him out on defense. You've got to account for this three technique and this end coming off the edge and these press corners and all their safeties and all that.
So I think where he comes from is when he gets on the offensive field and where he's in the return game. Because that's to me where his niche is because he's going to play great defense and make his plays. But then what is he doing when he becomes a quarterback in their wildcat or at running back and what he does in return game.
So they're going to try to get him touches. At the same time, he's a heck of a defensive player. But their whole defense plays great defense. They're stout on D.
Q. Is this the first time where you're losing a close game, you're playing well, is that kind of the message that you said to the team after the game?
COACH WILSON: At halftime we said we thought we were really playing well. As soon as we came in, before we looked at the stats, made adjustments, I grabbed the guys and I said I really think you're playing hard and playing well and you're playing better than them, but let's make sure we don't beat ourselves. It's hard enough to beat the other team.
In the second half we were actually pretty good until the last fumble and the last drive when it got knocked out of Richard's hands.
So outside of a little execution in the fourth quarter, they played a good second half. We started fast with a good drive. We take it down fourth and one, one and a half, don't convert it, and we score again. We had a chance early to really get it going, stalled, two drives in the end of the third, early fourth, had a touchdown drive and then didn't do anything the last drive.
So, again, you take those first half mistakes out, and the way our defense played we had a chance to beat up on them. But we weren't. We said a week ago to our football team, if we continue with those mistakes, it would have been a hard time winning.
Well, that's now evident. Because we had some similar mistakes with turning the football over. So I think our team realizes that we have enough players. We're playing well in some different phases.
We can score a little bit more, but I think we're moving the football. Our third down conversions the last several weeks have been significantly better.
Our scoring zone the last week, the only one we didn't get was the fourth down. Our scoring zone was better. Our kicking is better.
Like I said, last week has been a little bit of an Achilles -- again, the game is not perfect. Even in this game, we're not going to need to play perfect this week to have a chance. You're not going to. But we need to play well. We knew we needed to play well. We played hard. We played tough. We did a lot of good things, but we had enough mistakes that we didn't play well.
Q. You have a dominant offensive lineman like (indiscernible). Do defenses change their scheme a little bit to deal with him, your play calling?
COACH WILSON: Well, sometimes we might say, hey -- especially like when they kick the ball on a punt or a kickoff, it goes into the end zone, you have the right, when it comes out to 20, 25, you want the middle, on the left or right. And sometimes it would be like, hey, we're going to run this play and sometimes like, hey, quarterback if we're going to throw it do you like it going left or right? And last week couple times like, hey, if we're going to run the ball I'd like to have it going this way because I know Dan's here.
But at the same time the way we're doing it, certain plays are tight end-oriented, split side-oriented, and I think defenses do more of attacking the structure of your formations than players. I don't think defenses attack him. I appreciate the way he's played tackle the last few weeks, which has been a great testament to him being a great player and a great teammate.
So I think most people would say he's a good player. I don't know if you really attack an O lineman. Sometimes you might say, if there's a weakness or a guy not playing let's get a defensive match-up you can create a third down passing situation.
The same deal if you're attacking a linebacker or a cover guy. If we had our druthers, let's get this receiver on this guy because it's a good matchup. But I don't think that happens to Dan from that perspective. I don't think.
Q. How is he doing physically, any new things any updates?
COACH WILSON: Couple bumps. Everyone kind of went today. We've got some guys gotta be smart with practice volume and time of year -- again, we've got a routine going. Last week we did a little tapering with some of the stuff we did just so we're fresh for Saturday. I thought we played really hard Saturday. We'll maintain some of that.
There's a lot -- I do think this and watching teams play, the best way to have chance at success is you fundamentally need to be good down the stretch. And as you get a little beat up or you are rotating guys around or they're playing different positions and as you start to shorten your practice so your team stays fresh, you need to make sure your fundamentals don't slip.
And we did talk to our team specifically because again last game we could have been better if we had been a little cleaner fundamentally securing the football. Just some fundamentals that we need to stay sharp.
As we finish, we don't want to wear our guys out but we do need to maintain a fundamentalist approach to what we're trying to get accomplished blocking, tackling, et cetera.
Q. Can (indiscernible) Iowa, Michigan, can you emulate next week?
COACH WILSON: Well, they're a little bit different offensively. They did a great job of tackling them. And which not -- very few people have done. I say tackling them, I say getting them on schedule.
They played, looks like, a slower game. More of a no huddle spread deal. I thought the last couple of weeks we did a little bit. But the stuff we've done with Zander and Tyler kind of had a niche, but has not been as much.
So we've got to find some running game because they ran it okay. They were just very, very patient. They were very, very fortunate and they got them in the stretch. When they got them down the stretch, they had a turnover at the end of the game. They had a couple of plays that won the game. Got in the fourth quarter. Great win. Great credit to them. Two really good teams playing. And, like I said, they were fortunate enough to get it done.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports