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November 26, 2016

Kevin Wilson

Bloomington, Indiana

Purdue - 24, Indiana - 26

Indiana Head Coach†Kevin Wilson

Opening Statement:

COACH WILSON: It was a tough game. Proud of our guys to do what they needed to to get over the top. Defense played well. I think offensively, they did a great job. Gave us some coverage looks and committed us to the pass. We ran but didn't run as good as we needed to. Some stats looked like we ran it better than they did, but that was kind of one of our Achilles, ability to throw it. They did a great job on us there. Got some good little push out of Zander and those guys in the running game, which was good to see.

Turnovers hurt us, again, early, we got baited on a couple, again, good looks by those guys. They kind of had changed some coverage and baited our quarterback but we were able to clean that up.

Come from behind to get the rival win, to get a win to get to six, have a meaningful game in November. When you don't play well, still play good enough to win; a lot to build on a lot to work on. We'll head out recruiting, get our team polished up, a couple weeks. After that, we're into finals. I'm sure we'll be -- the conference and administration will work hard to find us a great bowl spot, and our kids are excited to have the practices and the opportunities; but really, to go out and represent the school and keep moving forward and see if we get fortunate to get a great opponent and play well enough and see if we can do what we need to get a Bowl victory. So it was a good win. Proud of our guys.

Q.  You were really aggressive last off-season about trying to get the defense improved and this is another day where it felt like those guys kind of helped the line, as the offense worked through some different things. How gratifying is it to see how far that unit has come, particularly with just how aggressive you were?
COACH WILSON: Very much. Credit to Tom (Allen), one just with him and getting his staff and everybody and on the same page, so they could take the message to the players, and they have been very consistent with them and their standard.

I'm really proud of the D-line. We lost some very good D-Linemen off last year's team, four seniors. Had a big impact in last year's game and last year's -- this game, last year's season. And to overcome that with the effort that those guys played with up front; all the secondary players are back. Tom did a great job, and Coach Shelby and Coach Joseph and Coach Inge, getting those guys clean. But they have gotten so much better.

And at the same time when we look at it, I don't think -- were we're so far off, it's better. I think we're really encouraged but we're not satisfied with where it is. I know Coach Allen's comment today was, what it will take defensively to win the game, and we were able to do that. It's a sign, again, we are a more complete team because of them. But I know he and our players keep saying we want to keep working, keep building, keep recruiting and keep it moving forward.

Q.  Winning over your rival, going to a Bowl game, how important is that to your program?
COACH WILSON: Well, we've been and we're still not, I don't think as consistent as we want to be. We've been very, very competitive the last few years, couple three, four years, and we've had some wins. But we haven't been able to back it up -- back it up a little bit. Still, to me, we let some slip away. We're also very fortunate to win a couple.

But to have the group, that to me, overcame this year -- I mean, today we're on our fifth tackle. Coy Cronk woke up this morning with basically a virus, and was having a hard time keeping anything down, so we're on our fifth right tackle. And we got a couple -- after Devine Redding, got a couple walk-ons playing running back and keep going through all these things and the guys keep playing.

And just very, very encouraged, very appreciative of Zander (Diamont) and him embracing his role and being a backup quarterback and second guy, and embracing the role where a quarterback -- to me the gratifying thing is we have a group of things, and we were talking about with Coach Allen, the big approach has been love. They love each other, they love playing the game, they love representing the school, and I think they are -- it's nice of them to have some accomplishments, but I think there's a great internal chemistry that those kids have for each other. There's only 11 suited-out seniors playing today, and it was nice to see those guys play well.

Q.  On Zander Diamont…
COACH WILSON: One of the things -- if you put him on scales, I bet he's a buck 61 (161). Just came to me a week ago, been talking about, hey, I can graduate in the summer and I think this is it. He's been talking with his family. I even asked him after the game, I said, "Are you sure?"

He said, "Yeah, I took a few hits out there today, Coach." One of his gifts is his ability to run. He's a small guy and he plays with a lot of heart and a lot of courage and that was a decision he and his family came to. I think they had discussed it for quite some time.

Last year, Wes Rogers went through senior day and came back -- graduating, working hard to get him into grad school. But I'm sure again, he, a couple of those guys will talk, but he and I'm sure Oliver, those guys, will look at the pro evaluation, visit with their families and see what their options are; that time of year.

But I think Zander, I think is kind of at the point where he thought this was last few games here he's played. Not that he's been hurt, but I think some of the hits are adding up on him, was his comments.

Q.  Talk about Tegray Scales and Marcus Oliver in particular, big plays they were making. I think they each had four tackles for loss and a couple of sacks.
COACH WILSON: They have been -- that's not today; that's this week. Marcus is our -- when Tegray went down, he truly became the team captain instead of the defensive captain. He's gotten -- kind of like we said a few weeks ago, running the defense and his stats are always rock solid. Tegray is probably flashed with a few more numbers and statistically made a few more tackles, but those are the heart and soul of our defense, the backbone; and when you're good on defense, you're good at linebacker.

Those guys up front hold them up but those guys connect the back to the front and the front to the back; and they are the glue. And it's a credit to Coach Inge, but really Tom and their connection to get those guys to play. And then you add Marcelino (Ball), those three backers have been really good. Best crew of backers we've had, and I think actually some of the better linebacking, one of the better linebacking cores in the Big Ten. Great junior players, love those kids.

Q.  What went into the decision with the safety there at the end?
COACH WILSON: With ten seconds, we didn't know. We thought we could run it off. Sometimes you risk -- the home second clock deal, but we got a second on there. We kind of drew it up in the dirt. Zander turned around, thought he was going to trip on the one for a second, like run to the back corner, hang as long as you can and step out.

But we were trying to run it down and from there. I gave him a chance to, you know, we couldn't on-side kick it but we thought we could mop it down there and see what was up. We lot lucky. We knew they were going to do the razzle dazzle play down on the yard. We thought their greatest chance to win the game was a punt block, and by doing that, we thought we'd just minimize the odds.

Q.  The pair of interceptions by Jonathan Crawford, what's allowed him to be so effective?
COACH WILSON: Yeah, I didn't see the second, because I was working with the offense. The first one was a batted ball, team deal, good to see. And again, we're talking about those linebackers, the way we played, too, with Marcelino (Ball) as outside backer safety and the way Jonathan Crawford fit in, that's the fourth key piece -- those guys have been something.

Jonathan Crawford, an outstanding sophomore player. A lot of times a guy like him has a great freshman year and you don't see the second year as well. He's a very talented person. Great student of the game. Has bought into our scheme, bought into learning. But that's a little bit of a team deal, too, because I know the one pick was a little bit of a team deal but March she will has had a great, great season for us.

Q.  Devine Redding had 99 yards today, the big one down to the one and second year in a row, a thousand yards. Talk about him.
COACH WILSON: It was a hard thousand yards. There was a lot of tough sledding. He's a steady guy. He's one of our best practice guys. Like some of our guys this next week, we'll get some time off here for a little bit, work our developmental players, our young guys, our freshmen. These guys beat up a little bit. We need to get him fast and fresh to the Bowl game.

He's a Steady Eddie kid. What you guys see and the way he plays week after week, sometimes maybe not the most flashy but he's like that in spring ball and he's like that in summer. He's one of our best leaders. Credit to Coach McCullough, back-to-back, I think it's first time, since what, '91, back-to-back thousand yard deals. So I think a few years ago, we had not had a thousand-yard back in 20-some years, or maybe 15 years, whatever it is and now with Tevin (Coleman) and Jordan (Howard), Devine, we've got a good run. And credit to the O-line, too, and that line was beat up and it's a credit to those guys.

But we'll be a better team. We thought today going into the game, we had to run the ball, and if we didn't, it would have been a hard deal. One of our big difference, I kept showing games the last couple days: Thursday night, look who won the game, look at the turnovers, look at the rush. Friday, look who won the game, turnovers and rush. I didn't like those turnovers we had, but I thought we had to run the ball and stop the run.

Q.  There's a long history in this game of coaches on their way out. How much were you concerned about the emotional lift they might get for this game?
COACH WILSON: I was really concerned, one, just watching them play. I made this comment, I said something to Gerad Parker before the game. He told me that years ago, in 2007, he was a GA and we were sitting beside on each other on a plane going to a coaching event. And he said, "I remember that, you're that GA from Kentucky." He said yeah.

One year coordinator, and he got named the interim coach, because I know him well, his background from Michigan and the pros, I know they have got a lot of quality coaches up there. But when I listened to him and watched him, I was very impressed with his leadership skills, and the way his team had played and I have no doubt -- now, I think I was more convinced than our team. And I was saying this week, I expected them to play well. And I was concerned, because we talk about all the points this year -- this one's, whatever, point spreads in the game, and blah, blah, blah.

Today our motto is, again, keep it simple, communicate, get lined up, squeeze the ball, don't turn it over, run the football, keep the ball in front. We had some simple messages because in a big game, sometimes the mind wanders and you get out of whack and we were working really hard to make it simple. I have a lot of respect -- I have a lot of respect for our rival, I always say that and we're very, very blessed and from afar and I shared that with Coach after the game, I have a lot of respect for the way he's handled that team and he's done a great job and we're very, very fortunate and very, very happy we won that game today.

Q.  Have you tried to impress upon this team how important it is for this program to achieve back-to-back Bowl eligibility?
COACH WILSON: Quite honestly, no. Everybody knows that, because everybody knows that. But all we talked about was the simplicity of the game what it takes to win the game. Don't make the game bigger than it is. And the by-product of, we -- it's great to have this back-to-back Bowl for recruiting, practice opportunities, exposure, right to the conference and our team, great credit to some seniors that have given a ton. Guys have sacrificed a lot of effort and sweat and blood and tears, and to give those guys -- Jacob Bailey, his comments on the team I read the other day, hey, I just want one more month. That's pretty cool now, because to me, that's more important than you're a Bowl team; you get to spend more time together.

Because when you spend time together playing ball, it's different than when you're spending time around campus, and the bonds they get and all that. You heard the guys -- our guys have fun in practice. They love working hard. So to me, it's, you know, it was more about, you just get more time with them than the historical deal about it. I think we are learning from history and we are trying to grow and create our own history and again, proud of these seniors, great group of guys.

Everybody good? Appreciate it. Happy holidays everybody.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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