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April 13, 2011

Justin Peg

Kevin Wilson

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Indiana Coach Wilson. Coach, thanks for joining us.
COACH WILSON: Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: Make a quick opening statement and we'll take questions from the media.
COACH WILSON: Excited to be in the Big Ten. Concentrating solely on our team. Not looking across the conference at the Big Ten. Been able to put together a great staff, worked hard for our kids. Had a productive spring, wrapping up the spring game this Saturday.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach. Let's go to questions.

Q. What is the number one question that you want to get an answer to this spring?
COACH WILSON: Try to see if I can get our young men to start having some confidence in their abilities, believing in themselves, having a more positive outlook in the way we approach the game, the way we approach practice, just the way we go about our business.
I think our talent level is reasonable, has been really competitive. I think it's more of a mindset focus than anything else.

Q. You mentioned changing the mindset, some of the expectations during spring practice. How much of this spring practice has been trying to change the culture of the program as much as X's and O's?
COACH WILSON: It's been a lot. We've got a very enthusiastic staff, I think a group that brings a lot of energy to the meeting room, to the practice field, to workouts with a great strength coaching staff we've been able to put together. There's been a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of energy.
Again, changing our culture really starts internally with me, our staff, throughout our organization, 200 plus, 250 members of not just our football team, but our training room, our student trainers, our office help. We're working hard to blend a style that's very confident, has a great deal of expectation and belief in what we're trying to do.

Q. Coach, Ben Chappell threw for over three thousand yards, 24 touchdowns, he's departed. Talk about the battle to replace him.
COACH WILSON: The quarterback battle, especially that position, is a position I feel needs to be earned. It's not given by any means. It's not a popularity contest or a media vote or what the fans think is best. It's someone that is going to lead your team. I think that takes time.
We have four players with Teddy Schell, a senior, Adam Follett, two sophomores with Ed Wright-Baker and Dusty Kiel. They've all competed.
We structure our practice where sometimes we actually have two groups going. There's actually two quarterbacks doing things at one time. Even though we've gotten reps for four guys, there's a lot of ways we do things in practice where we're getting double work. That allows us to give reps to those kids, evaluate those young men.
I'm not just looking at their spring performance, but how they go through summer in their voluntary workouts whereas coaches we step away, can't be here. Who is going to lead the team this summer, get those receivers, get our timing down, get the seven-on-sevens going. We'll wait till two-a-days prior to the first week before we truly settle on a player.
They're all doing well. Very pleased with a lot of things I'm seeing. But it's really a long way away before we formulate a true two-deep roster. We have a lot of competition, a lot of freshmen coming in that we're going to blend those guys into our two-deep.
We're going to finish spring strong, let the summer play out before we finalize a lot of spots. Quarterback is a critical spot and we're going to let that one play out.

Q. Has Mike Ekeler run head first into anything he wasn't supposed to run into?
COACH WILSON: If we can get players to run as fast and hit as hard as him, we'll play great defense. He's doing a great job. Excited to have him here.

Q. When you were at Oklahoma, when Bo was there, how well did you get to know Bo?
COACH WILSON: He was next door side-by-side for one year. Chuck Long was really running the offense at the time. I was the co-guy, had a lot of input doing what we were doing. Bo was the co-guy. We had similar capacities.
He's done a great job getting Nebraska going in a great way, at a great place. Again, I got a lot of respect for him.
It was kind of tough for Mike to leave a great situation there, the Nebraska coaching tradition. But to have a chance to be a little bit more of the coordinator type, him and Doug, there with Bo and Carl, I think Bo was a little farther down the line.
I know it was tough to leave. I know he's excited. I appreciate the job he's doing. He's a great coach for us.

Q. It must be difficult to gauge, you're four months away from your first game, you said your talent level is reasonable. Does that require a massive upgrade or can you be competitive right away?
COACH WILSON: Well, they were 5-7 last year. I think we've lost in the last two years I think 7 games. I think there were 10 games in the last two years in the fourth quarter where we led, we were tied, down 3 or down 7. We've lost 7 of those games. We lost some players, Ben Chappell, Tandon Doss, a couple guys on defense. We have 15 starters back from a team that's been really right in the hunt but for whatever reason couldn't close out a game, couldn't get a stop, couldn't make a play, have a foolish error, things that get you beat.
This program has been solid. Most games in the Big Ten week in and week out are competitive. I think we've been competitive, but we haven't been winning.
Yes, we want to upgrade our talent. But we spent more time in the four months we've been here trying to coach our seniors on how to be good seniors, our starters on how to work, not be satisfied and complacent. We spent more time totally focused on this year and this team than we have on a three-year or five-year plan on what we want to be down the road. We're trying to be as good as we can, the best we can right now.
Realistically, you look at the way this team has played, it's right in the mix. It just needs to learn, grow, figure it out. That's our charge. That's what we're trying to get accomplished here right now.

Q. You talked about instilling a mindset and so on. What's the key to doing that during the summer when you only get so much time?
COACH WILSON: They're on their own. If you talk to our players, my expectations are I coach the seniors and the best players the hardest, hold them to a high standard because they're the guys that run the team. There's more time that the team spends in the locker room, there's more time that the team is going to spend together this summer than they are with me as the coach.
We've worked really hard to try to direct our seniors and our best players on the values, the work ethic, the way they practice, the way they prepare, because again there's some little things like that where maybe we can make some strides. We get in some of these games next fall.
This year is completely different. Because we were kind of close last year doesn't mean we're going to be kind of close or better this year. Each year is different. You build your physicalness, your toughness, you build your foundation.
We're building this team, but we're working hard to get these seniors to lead the team with the values, the work ethic, the accountability that we expect. We'll see when we come back to the two-a-days. Had a good winter. Chapter two is spring ball. Getting ready to shut that down and go into chapter three which is the summer. Our strength coaches are there, but the players run the summer.
It will be interesting to see if our team is interested in getting over the hump. Great teams have great summers. We'll see if these kids want to do it.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.
COACH WILSON: Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Justin Pag. Justin, thanks for joining us.
JUSTIN PAG: Thanks for having me.
THE MODERATOR: Talk about your spring practice so far and then we'll take some questions.
JUSTIN PAG: Spring practice is going real well. Excited for it. Ready for the spring game coming up on Saturday.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Let's go to questions.

Q. What is a reasonable expectation? With a new coaching staff, a new attitude, what is a reasonable expectation for you this fall?
JUSTIN PAG: The expectation is we're going to be better, we're going to do the work that we haven't done before. We're going to get used to pushing past the point where your mind tells you you can't go anymore.

Q. Talk a little bit about your offensive line. Bringing back four starters. Talk about the guys coming back and replacing James Brewer.
JUSTIN PAG: A lot are coming back. We've all played together somewhat, whether it be at different positions or whatever. We have good chemistry. We're friends off the field. So it builds when we come on the field. There's a trust within the guys that are in there that is really good.
The younger guys that are stepping in, Cody Evers, Ralston Evans, those guys are doing real well, picking up the system real quick.

Q. Your coach talked about Ben Chappell departing. Talk about the quarterbacks coming back, the battle for the starting position.
JUSTIN PAG: Well, I don't know who the coaches are going to pick. Personally they're four great competitors. They're all I think well-suited to play in the Big Ten. I'm excited for whoever gets the job.

Q. What has it been like, the adjustment to Kevin Wilson?
JUSTIN PAG: It's a different adjustment, but it's a great adjustment. I'm real excited where he wants us to go, where he's taking us, the demeanor of the players, how it's changed since he's been here. I'm real excited for this season.

Q. Your defense is returning six starters. Talk about the guys that are coming back and the guys you're battling on the other side?
JUSTIN PAG: One guy I go against every down is Darius Johnson. He's a great athlete, great competitor. Another guy, Jeff Thomas and Leon Beckum, those guys will come down and hit you. I'm getting them better and they're getting me better.
THE MODERATOR: Justin, we appreciate the time. Best of luck for the rest of the spring.
JUSTIN PAG: Thank you.

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