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September 2, 2013

Kevin Wilson

COACH WILSON:¬† Thanks for being here on a holiday, you know, on our schedule.¬† And this week was a little unusual with the Thursday game, so we practiced, gave them Friday off because we had to, either Friday or Saturday.¬† In our routine you have to have an off day.¬† We gave them Friday off so we could practice a little harder on Saturday, and even though today is a holiday we thought going back‑to‑back practices, so today is an academic recovery day.¬† Our guys are kind of eating and doing a little study hall stuff, so it's an off day.¬† So appreciate you coming on a holiday because moving forward this is a non‑practice day for us.¬† We will practice on Sunday evenings.
Next week will be different playing a Saturday game.  Sunday practice is tapered just because of coming off the game last night, it was three days postgame so it was a different workday.
Going back to Indiana State, again looking at it, I thought we played really, really hard, which was really one of our main objectives going in, our goals.  I thought our effort playing reasonably physical, can always get better, but we didn't want to question that and I didn't question that at all.  And in all phases and by a lot of guys, I thought our effort was pretty solid and something we want to build on.  That comes from the way we practice, it comes from several years of building on that and continuing to get stronger and not just in the weight room but stronger in effort and practice habits and competition.  It's a nice positive we have right now as we're trying to build and keep moving these guys forward this year and years to come.
Concern areas:¬† We had three turnovers in the game, two gave them 14 points, an immediate 14 points without our defense being on the field.¬† Plus we had the ball on the ground a couple times, center‑quarterback exchange.¬† One time Tevin just got it loose but got it back.¬† D'Angelo had it out one time on the sideline where it got it knocked out.¬† You might not have even seen it, but it got knocked out, so that's got to improve.¬† Last year it was game 10 before we lost a fumble, and we lose one in the first game and it's unacceptable and not what we stand behind.¬† That's not talk, so we've got to work on that.
We had 17 missed tackles.  You're always going to miss maybe a few, but that's a little bit more than we want and it's probably less than it's been, but it's more than we want.  We did have some miscommunication with our defense, just getting calls and getting guys lined up.  If we can continue to communicate better and get our alignments better and tackle better, the defense will continue to improve, and it's got a chance to be better but we've got to clean those areas up.
We had some kicking errors, we had that turnover before the half which was huge.¬† We had a miscommunication one time on a short punt where we almost had another turnover, where our returner didn't do a go job getting people out of the way.¬† Had two penalties on the kickoff team that let them start on the 40 ‑‑ a kick went out of bounds and a 15‑yard penalty and you can't play with short fields, especially this week but in all weeks.
Positives:¬† We had 78 guys play in the game by our count.¬† A lot of young guys, a lot of guys, walk‑on dudes that don't get a lot of chances, and it's great for those guys because our walk‑on program is veteran guys.¬† You don't see ‑‑ our scout teams are awesome.¬† To get those guys on the field is awesome.
We did create two turnovers.¬† We'd like to find a few more if we can.¬† I think we had 10‑plus three‑and‑outs not counting the turnovers.
We go three‑and‑out, have a long drive, and then I think we go three‑and‑out, three‑and‑out, one‑play turnover, three‑and‑out, four‑play turnover, three‑and‑out.¬† We got on a good run until that blotch before the half, and it was really pretty good until they worked us in the fourth quarter.¬† So other than their second drive and then the scramble blotch fourth‑quarter drive, our defense was pretty solid.
I thought our 3rd‑down defense was really good.¬† They only converted 19 percent on 3rd down, which was good, and that was because our 1st down and 2nd down was good.¬† There wasn't a lot of 3rd and 1s.¬† You play Navy, you're going to get a bunch of 3rd and 1s and 2s, because they just run their option and play‑action game, get short down‑and‑distance deals, which work in your favor.
Players of the game:  We had Sudfeld and Coleman on offense.  Both played well.  Not surprised; good players.  I think Nate right now has got the highest passer rating in the country, and Tre's is higher than his.  He didn't have enough passes to be rated.  Both those guys played very, very well.  We gave it to Nate, but Tre had three touchdowns, wasn't a bad deal.
Defensively Mangieri, who's had an awesome camp, very active, he's going to have a good year for us, keep coming on.  He's a good young player.  TJ Simmons' first start, leading tackler, really played well, looks like a vet, good future for him.  Greg Heban was rock solid on the back end.
Special teams:  I awarded four guys, Ewald, except for the one kickoff, I didn't like that, but 10 extra points, 10 for 10, 1 for 1 on the field goals, six touchbacks.  I think he's one of the better kickers in this league.  Like I say, we keep it up, he'll break the point record here for kickers and all that jive, or be close to it.  He should have it, I think.
Shane Wynn with the big return ‑‑¬† I think Shane is one of the few players in the country now to score more than two ways.¬† He's got a kick return, punt return.¬† I think first one since George Taliaferro, I think he added an interception, all that, so one of all the great players here, he's a dynamic player.¬† He had three touchdowns.¬† Teddy Bolser and Cody Latimer were awesome on special‑team coverage.¬† Both those guys are tremendous players and they score a touchdown and then you watch Bolser, he's the first guy down covering a kick after you score a touchdown.¬† That's what you want.¬† That's great to see.
Scout team players of the week, Andrew Wilson.¬† You saw him come out and play well.¬† He's a young, solid player for us.¬† Billy Ivan, who's an old vet, doesn't play much.¬† He's giving you a great look on the scout team.¬† That's what winning teams do.¬† Here's a fourth‑year guy who wants to be starting.¬† That's a quality job.¬† Jordan Wallace same deal.¬† Here's a guy, into year two and didn't play as much as he wants, but he's your scout team player of the week because he's giving you a great go.¬† And Garrett Libertowski, so those guys did an awesome job.¬† Like I said, our scout awards are awesome.
Health issues:  I think we came out of the game pretty good.  We'll have Wynn I think going full go Tuesday.  He was a little limited last night, getting close to getting Eckert back, Ryan Thompson practiced.  We'll see where we are.  We're close with Alex Todd, getting him in the mix, and I think we're close with Cormier.  I think we're more healthy than we were a week ago, which is a good deal moving forward into Navy.  Anticipate having a lot of guys going as we go through this week.
Now, if their reps get limited and they don't practice a lot on Tuesday and Wednesday, probably won't see them, but I anticipate the way they look and the way they're coming along, unless there's a hiccup along the way we'll be good.
Going into Navy, we're their opener.  It's a team, of course, we played them last year.  We've got a decent feel for them.  I'm sure they've got a good feel for us and probably a better feel than we do because they've seen us play.  As usual when you start with someone's opener there's new wrinkles.  I know we're a game they've been looking forward, they want to get off to a good start.  You look at their schedule, they put a lot of emphasis in coming out and playing well.  A lot of guys back on their team, a lot of starters from the bowl team.  I think they've been to bowls now in the last 10 years.  They won the Commander in Chief trophy eight of the last 10, so it's a quality team, winning team.
Again, they're very, very well‑coached.¬† Coach Ken, shoot, he's been there for what, 16 years, and I think he'll say this is maybe their most talented team with all the guys coming back and their success the way they recruited.¬† It's going to be a big challenge for us.
We talk a lot about the option.¬† You guys know that's a‑‑ the real deal about the option is it's just a different style of game.¬† Last week we had 18 possessions counting Shane's kickoff return.¬† We had 18 possessions going into the fourth quarter.
Last year against Navy we had 10 for the game.¬† You'll get eight, nine, 10, 11, if you get more than 12, either they're scoring fast or you're playing good D and they've turned it over.¬† It's a short game.¬† And what that does, that minimizes your opportunities so your errors are more exposed and more critical because it's like at‑bats; you're not going to get as many swings, so you've got to be pretty productive in what you're doing.
They're led by the quarterback Keenan Reynolds, who's awesome.¬† You look at last year, he comes in‑‑ I know before we played them, the quarterback, the starter gets injured and he wins the Air Force game on the road.¬† The way he battled for them at Army, brings them from behind.¬† Those are the games of the year for those two teams that are games of life for those men over there.
For a freshman he's very calm.  I think he throws the ball better than most option guys.  Very smart, coach's kid, quality, quality player.
Their fullbacks returning, almost 1,000‑yard rusher.¬† I think they think they might have someone better than him if you can believe the write‑ups.¬† And of course they lost a couple good slot players, but they're going to get the ball on the perimeter, cut you down with their speed sweeps, lull you to sleep, shots over the top, a tremendous offense led by a great quarterback.
Defensively very sound, a three‑man front, a lot of bend‑but‑not‑break style, four across and two deep structures, not blitzing a lot, playing guys on the edges, making it hard to get around them, trying to outnumber you, but at the same time not giving up big plays over the top.¬† They're very, very strong.¬† If you look at their numbers you might not think they're impressive until you look at their 3rd down defense and their red zone defense because they will get you on schedule and get you stopped, and you might move the ball on them but they don't yield a lot of points and then you don't get a lot of drive opportunities.
You put that together with their punter, who's an awesome punter, and the way they play the offense, and that's why they've been in bowl games nine of the last 10 years.  They're a tremendous program.
For us, overall thoughts against a big week:¬† We talked about getting better.¬† It's a good start.¬† I thought we played hard.¬† I want to build on that because I think you gain physicalness and effort and momentum as you go through the year.¬† I thought last night we had a really good go.¬† It was crisp, it was sharp, we did some good‑on‑good for some speed and to get some hitting and some thumping.¬† It wasn't a scrimmage but it looked and sounded and felt like good team the way you want to work it.
But it's a big week for us.  We need to step up and we need everything around here to step up, whether it be in our building as coaches.  We had two No.40s on the field first time we kick off.  That's an error on me and our staff.  We've got to look at where we're putting players.  We've got a guy doing a job; is that a job he can do?  And keep putting our kids in good positions and coaching better.
What we're doing in our nutrition, rehab, what we're doing in managing the game and getting the crowd more excited, what we're doing as fans.¬† This is a big week.¬† We've got four non‑conference in a row at home, we've got eight at home, we need to be better across the board as a team.¬† We need everyone associated with the game to be better.
I loved this week.  I thought our student body last week was awesome.  That game started, they filled it up to the top as far as I've seen.  I know it was a school night, but this week with a 6:00 game, we ought to get a great deal more tailgate atmosphere pregame when we do the walk and get some energy and get the band and the cheerleaders cranking.  We need to play well, but we need it exciting.
This is a no‑huddle team.¬† They're a no‑huddle team we're playing, and the louder our crowd can be and the more energy we can create to make that a challenge will be very, very positive for us.¬† So it's a big week and want to see us get better in all phases.

Q.  How do you continue to get guys to play physical and defend that without getting bogged down?
COACH WILSON:¬† Well, that's the essence‑‑ the more you coach and the more adjustments you make, the more you think.¬† A great line I said I think a year ago that I heard, I think it was Marshall Faulk at the combine when somebody ran a 4.23, they said, that's great, but the best way to slow a fast man down is to make them think.¬† So that's a part of their offense.¬† They make you play assignment football, they make you think, and I'm sure they're going to come out in some pistol set because it's a pistol option and there's every concept that they can do from the bone that you can do in pistol.
We're a one‑back team but basically every play we do is a two‑back play.¬† We run power, we run down around, we run zone plays.¬† Instead of having a lead blocker, we put them out, they cover the guys.¬† Protections are the same, the runs are the same.
So for us it's not different.¬† That's why we can go one‑back to two‑back and we don't think it's hard.¬† But defensively, the more you think, the harder it is.¬† That's why when I got here, in my opinion this is the most difficult team we play, and the reason being everything we do this week defensively you throw it away and don't do it again because you want to keep building.
This game might hurt you three and four and five games down the road because instead of building and going from your week one mistakes and improving, okay, you did this week one but now let's totally put that on the shelf because this is an option team because here's an option team, but it's an option team that's going to have some movement and some gun passes.  It's going to be a tremendous challenge, and I'm going to tell you something:  It's going to be a game we're going to have to do some adjusting and see if we're smart enough as coaches and players to understand what happened and get lined up because we might get caught once or twice where you don't want to be, and that's an advantage that those guys have.
We have the advantage of playing a game.  We also have the advantage of playing a game not showing everything we wanted to do, which was kind of by design, as was last year.  We had some things back last year, got in a close game.  This year some things we're going to we didn't get to.
Everybody always has a couple cards up their sleeve, and this week it'll be a challenge to see defensively what we can do because this is a heck of a challenge for us.

Q.  You talked about your scout team a little bit.  Do you have someone that can simulate their option with your scout team effectively?  And the other thing is when you don't have tape on somebody and you're expecting them to do something maybe a little different than they did last year, how hard is that?
COACH WILSON:  It's hard.  It was a big challenge last week because you weren't sure what you were getting, new coordinators, new coaches, really what's their personnel.
Typically, though, even though it's new looks, most teams conceptually don't get far off with their concepts.  So it might be pistol midline instead of under center or pistol dive option instead of under center or an offset gun back running a zone read play where still you're accounting for who's got the veer, who's got the quarterback, who's got the pitch.
And that's where I do think defensively in this day and age‑‑ I mean, I for years listened to defensive coaches in meetings, and it seems like they're making more checks and more adjustments than the offense does because they're trying to stop every play.¬† And I think some teams that are really getting pretty good on defense are really keeping it very, very simple and being gap sound, where do your eyes go.¬† That's something we've worked very hard on to try to be better is what's the integrity of our defense, what's the structure, and where do your eyes go.¬† And that's with this option deal, who's got who, are you gap sound, and do you not get lulled to sleep and get your eyes because as soon as you get lulled to sleep and your eyes aren't where they're supposed to, there goes a go ball in the post over the top for a big one.¬† So it's a challenge there.
As far as running it, we do run it during the year, and we have Kofi and Tre do it.  We won't do that this week because we need to prepare for us.  So typically we always take same type of runner to do it, and then the difficult deal is reacting to play action pass because if you have the runner throw, he can't throw so then you put the other quarterback in there and the defense knows, well, this must be a pass because now it's a real quarterback.  So that's the deal.  But we'll see how it goes.
We had a very good look last year and we actually didn't play horrible by the way we played defense.  We actually played fair defensively against them last year, and I thought we had a pretty good look.  But it'll be a challenge.
And the other challenge is we don't want to go whacking them like they do all the time, which is legal blocks, but the way they go in leg, so that'll be a challenge, too.

Q.  You've got two young guys (inaudible) does that cause you some issues because these guys haven't played?
COACH WILSON:  Yeah, and it's a good question.  I guess if they're running their midline to the three, he's got to close, which they know.  But most of their stuff goes is where the ends closing, or you're playing switch games and ends and backers and safeties and who's got dive pitch and quarterback, and first you've got to count if they're doing things in gun, the offset back or pistol back and all that.
But again, those guys up front will play hard.¬† I do think we will have a little bit of a size advantage, and hopefully we can get our guys to play in a way that I don't know‑‑ what we're trying to do as far as exactly yet because we're trying to start the full‑go prep, of whether it be you're trying to anchor your gaps or penetrate your gaps.¬† Typically their linemen have been a little bit smaller and they're scrambling and cutting and whacking and all of that.¬† Be interesting to see with our size, how our size matches up and is that an advantage or disadvantage.

Q.  How far along in your preparation are you, because not only did you face them last year but you started last spring prepping for them so maybe the veterans have a lot more experience?
COACH WILSON:¬† Yeah, with so many guys back, but again, we don't go back a lot.¬† The nice thing to me, we did practice it once a week or twice a week a few plays to keep it fresh in their minds.¬† This year we do get it early.¬† We'll kind of flush it and get it back to defensive development and offensive development.¬† At the same time, it's a challenging offense, but again, there are teams and they're making tweaks because I think San Jose held them to 140‑some yards, and I think they had 178 yards against Army with a 10‑man front if you read their articles and listen to that stuff.
It's a run‑oriented deal.¬† Again, we had great opportunities in the game last year.¬† We take the opening drive down and we got the ball on the first drive on the 10‑yard line.¬† We had a miscommunication, our back goes the wrong way, we get off schedule, kick a field goal.¬† There's a four‑point swing there.
We give a pick six, there's seven more points; there's an 11‑point swing there.¬† Let alone at the end of the game when we can't execute a four‑minute drive properly, we give up a touchdown and then throw a pick.
So again, those errors get magnified in this game because there's not a lot of opportunities.  But again, a lot of guys back.  You try as hard as you can to get the speed you're talking about, and it's a difficult deal.  But at the same time everybody talks about they're going to have a hard time figuring us out, the way we throw and run and catch and the speed we do it at.
It is what it is.  They've got a heck of a team; I think we've got a pretty good team, too.  It ought to be a lot of fun.  It ought to be a great crowd and get this place rolling.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
COACH WILSON:  I think, again, Tre started well, and after the throw I said let's give Nate a shot, and then Tre started to say, hey, took a shot here, I don't know which side.  They checked it out, thought it was a bruise.  But then we scored, scored fast, punt return, boom, it was 42 all of a sudden, so like hey, do we need to go out and take another hit on him.
We'll see how they practice.¬† Again, you sit there and look, they both played pretty well, and then by the time Cam got in, he had a drop.¬† He had a competitive play that could have been caught.¬† He should have been 4 of 7 or 5 of 7.¬† As a matter of fact, he actually had a touchdown opportunity when we kicked the field goal; we had a receiver run the wrong route, or we probably would have scored a touchdown.¬† He was like, hey, there it is, where you at, and he got stuck waiting for a receiver thatran ‑‑ a young guy that ran the wrong play.
So his numbers don't look good, but he was probably in our world 4 of 7 or 5 of 7 by where he put the ball.  So we'll probably see them all.  We'll just see how they practice.
I thought they all looked sharp last night, and like I say, I don't think our kids really matter, I don't think it's a problem.  Like I say, I think we've shown the quarterback has got a chance to play well, and he'll need to play well again this week for us to win, whoever it is, whether it is one, all, multiple.  Whoever it is, they'd better play well for us.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
COACH WILSON:¬† Different than last week but similar, some three‑man front, but last week those guys put seven guys in the box, made it difficult to run, left you one‑on‑one all day.¬† They're not going to leave you one‑on‑one.¬† They're going to play a little bit more fringe guys where I'm halfway playing the run and halfway rallying the pass, so getting hats on some of their edge players are difficult.
That being said, it's more of an umbrella soft deal.  They make you snap it again, again, again, again, saying you'll get off schedule.  So again, a procedure penalty gets you a 1st and 15 behind the chains hurts you; a dropped pass that gets you 2nd and 10, gets you behind the chains, hurts you; an MA, a guy goes the wrong way, penetration 2nd and 12 hurts you because you're not going to get as many drives.
They know what they're doing with Coach Green.  Shoot, I'm at GA when he's at NC State with Coach Sheridan back in the day.  So tremendous defense, rock solid, play well, and their defense works with their offense and their kicking, and that's why they're in bowl games every year.
It's not just the O, it's how they play as a team, and they're a tremendous, solid winning team, and for us to win this game we'll need to show that we're a complete, good team because our defense is not going to shut them down, and our offense is not going to outscore them.  This is a game where you win this game as a team or you lose this game as a team, and last year as a team we lost because we screwed up a couple opportunities, had a pick six, had a chance to get a couple stops.  We didn't do it.  So we'll see if we can win as a team this year because they win as a team.

Q.  What do you remember from about Nate?
COACH WILSON:¬† I remember talking to him when I was seeing Alex Todd at a hotel near Streetsboro, Ohio, on Friday night, saying, hey, I got word you're wanting to do this, and it was right in the semester and you don't want to be a mid‑year and I don't think we can get you in school right now; are you interested.¬† I think we'll throw the ball well.¬† Coach Littrell coming in is going to be similar to me; I think we're not throwing it like we need to.¬† We'll be better.¬† I think we've got a good school, it's far away from home, are you interested.
I thought his tape looked pretty good, but again, he was kind of playing in a pass ‑‑ catch and throw it every play.¬† Didn't know really how good an athlete he is; he's a better athlete than I thought and a great kid and very smart.

Q.  You said you can't necessarily shut down Navy and you've got to win it as a team.  With defending the option, is it more to try to limit the explosive plays and make the proper reads?  You don't want guys overplaying?
COACH WILSON:  Well, they can have some big ones, but really it's a slow death, too, because they'll go three, four, three, four, 4th and 1, go for it, 3rd and 4, run for three, 4th and 1, go for it.  They just nickel, dime, nickel, dime, nickel, dime you, and then that being said, then there is the big play, so you can't let it over the top.
They're very consistent with what they do, very solid.¬† It's kind of like, again, it can lull you to sleep, and then it's one of those games where when you've got young players that we've had, you get a little antsy and think, well, I thought maybe I should versus trust the defense, trust what you see, get in your gap, take your guy, put your eyes‑‑ you've got to win as a team.¬† You can't make a play to beat these guys; 11 guys do.
Same deal offensively; there's not one guy.¬† It's going to take a bunch of guys to beat this team.¬† You've got to beat them with 11 guys because they're going to make you snap it again, snap it again, seeing that 11 guys won't work together effectively.¬† If you're a good team on both sides, you play 11‑man football.
So when you're a young team, a guy starts thinking, well, I thought maybe they were going to do this instead of‑‑ no, I've got the dive or I've got the pitch or I'm locked on the outside guy.¬† So it's that trust factor we talk about.

Q.  Have you seen more trust between your players on defense than maybe in the past?
COACH WILSON:  Well, I think we've got a lot more.  I think they believe in how hard we practice and they believe in their talents.  I think they're starting to trust themselves.  I think they're also starting to see if you play together as a team and trust the scheme that it does work.  Quit worrying about I've got to help him.  If we wanted you to help him, we'd have told you.  Trust what we're telling you, do your job and it's right.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
COACH WILSON:¬† Yeah, but they'll be no‑huddle, too, and they can make it hard to substitute.¬† They're going to run everything at their bench and make you run 40 yards to get out there and all that.¬† So I mean, it's a short‑sided game a lot of times.¬† You guys in the press box, they'll be coming at you all day.¬† You'll get a good view of them.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
COACH WILSON:  Yeah, I mean, he was doing all the running, and I think he's already been cleared by whatever that impact test deal, and I think he'll go tomorrow and should begood, I've been told.  Like I say, he didn't quote.  He was out there every day.  We were texting Thursday night.  He said he's the toughest guy on the team.  I said, my little kid says quit faking it, you're good, let's roll.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
COACH WILSON:  Yeah, and if anything we're better, because some of those guys you didn't see or didn't see much.  Like with Tre's deal, he's good, he could have played that day.  Why, when it was, where it was.  I think, again, Peyton should be back practicing, we'll see.  Ryan Thompson is back practicing.  I think Todd is close and Cormier is close.  We'll see where those two guys are.  Outside of that, we're back to Feeney and Hoobs.

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