Football

    Indiana Holds Football Media Day

    Go Hoosiers! The Hoosiers closed day four of camp with Media Day on Monday evening.
    Go Hoosiers!
    The Hoosiers closed day four of camp with Media Day on Monday evening.
    Go Hoosiers!

    Aug. 6, 2013

    Day 4 Practice Photo Gallery

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Closing out its fourth day of preseason camp, the Indiana football program hosted its annual Media Day on Monday evening. Head coach Kevin Wilson, the Hoosiers coaching staff and 19 players met with the media.

    Below is a transcript from Wilson's press conference:

    Kevin Wilson: Guys, appreciate you being here. Again, we've had four practices, not had a full padded day, two days in shoulder pads. Even if it was full pads, everything is not full out scrimmage for a week. Again, going back, winter was outstanding, spring was really good. We stayed reasonably healthy through those periods. We did have a good class on paper, added a couple good walk ons. We've got everybody back for the most part on the team and the walk ons. We've got some better depth. When I say depth we still need to be a lot better at every position, so we're walking around just with all the answers and just excited and pleased everywhere, but there's a lot of guys that played, a lot of guys in year three or year two that have gotten stronger. Some of you guys had a chance, you saw Mark Hill. Those guys do an awesome job.

    Going back from when we started, when I was talking about being the coach here, my one quota if I say I've got to have something, it was I need some commitment to the weight room because May, June and July we're not allowed as coaches to be at those workouts at all. During the recruiting period you can be there if you want to but you're basically gone recruiting so those guys are spending more time with our kids than us. So Mark Hill I think is special. Will Peoples came with him. Both those guys were at Oklahoma. Will played. We had good teams there and it wasn't always just great talent and traditional. We did a good job with Jerry Schmidt and his crowd developing those guys. I think if you watch us keep going, you're going to see guys getting stronger, getting faster, getting more mature. I think you're seeing it a little bit in practice and hopefully that's going to translate into better play. You've still got to go play. I know Coach (Randy) Walker used to say all the time that we don't have a bench press competition all the time on the 50 yard line. But the stronger you are, the more confident we do have a speed oriented staff. If you watch our team we don't have a bunch of what I call very heavy, sloppy players. That's a lot of the way we train. But with Mark Hill, Will Peoples, Rick Danison who's been here, had experience with the Bengals, I think a quality guy, Lyonel Anderson has been with us in his fourth year and then Deonte Mack, a former player. You've got O line guys, D line guys, tight end guys, skill guys. It's a diverse group that can relate to those players, and I think we had a good summer. So if you guys want something to look at because we're not allowed to be there but maybe ask some of the players or some of the coaches about what goes on in summer, because, again, a lot of games are won and lost without the coach being there, and where they start at.

    I think we're starting at a higher point. We have a long way to go. We're not close to what it needs to be.

    Anyway, I like the way things I think we came back in very, very good shape. You can tell I think looking at us we are bigger. I think the strength numbers are stronger. We haven't maxed out since I've been here, and I'm not supposed to know the numbers from summer workouts because then that makes it not voluntary. But when you're sitting there looking at guys that weighed 268 last year and now they're 295, they've got a little bit shoot, Mr. Fischer will like this, our one punter, Mr. Campos, I think has went from a 225 bench with one to maybe nine or 10, and now he's all piped up and got a little swag, so I got the punting out right away just for you Fisch. His bench press looks good.

    Anyway, a lot of guys are back. Summer has been good. We have had four days. It's off to a pretty good start, but we haven't done a whole lot the first two days in helmets. We have yet to really cut it loose and go. We're trying to work the young guys in and we're trying to get taking weight lifting and track, which is what the summer is and you do summer ball, but it's different when you really get into playing with pads and how to play fast with pads, how to play fast when you know you're getting hit. A lot of guys play fast when there's no contact. When the pads get on, do they still play with that same speed? And as coverages adjust and guys tweak things, do they play at the same speed? It's so early in camp to say we're doing good. In my opinion, it's okay, but it needs to be a lot better, because I think our standard needs to be where this team can practice at a consistent high level. We've got a lot of depth, a lot of guys back and we're healthy.

    Roster updates: We talked about those quickly the other day. I have gotten notification that our one guy Daryl Chestnut is going to be in a similar situation to Taj (Williams), so he will not be here for the fall and our plan, we're looking at the choices of trying to get him as a mid year, so that will replace him with another walk on. That will give us six walk on spots that we will reward with scholarships here probably about a week, week and a half from now, so next Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday we'll go through the scrimmage, and we've got a pretty to me we've got 12, 14, 15 walk ons that are special team and two deep that help us still.

    So unfortunate about Daryl, but at the same time we did sign three backs. If you've seen us, Laray (Smith) looks very fast. We've got the other animals back. Those two guys moving forward, Taj and Daryl, the plan will be to try to get their situations, and they're very close, where they're officially eligible where they would start in January. And then what I can do right now is use their space for a walk on when our mid year players graduate and move on we can replace, and then in the scholarship world, they still are part of last year's 23, and we can still sign forward so it doesn't take an initial scholarship away.

    We talked about Chase Hoobler, who about 10 days ago had some irritation coming off an injury, who said he thought things were great and just maybe, I don't know if he came back too soon or just the way he's made, but has a stress fracture that will be operated on and probably typically that will take pushing four months, so that maybe basically shoots his year. We are lucky in that signing four of the JC guys with (Steven) Funderburk being here mid year, there's a lot more depth, a lot of guys coming back, and we played last year without Chase the bulk of the year. It's really unfortunate more for him than us, because I think our team is getting again, when I'm talking about depth, it's not injury. The depth is for competition and guys fighting to get on the field. Again, there's more guys, and to me he's a good kid, fourth year kid, a good dude, good student, and you want him to do well. So it's more you feel for Chase, but all of a sudden there's going to be some issues at backer and we'll move forward in a good way. Good teams handle adversity. We came out okay last year, first game made Tre (Roberson) not run the ball, kind of got into it the second game the way it was going to go. When he got hurt, we didn't handle those next five games well. Our program has yet to handle adversity. Moving forward we'll see if we're more mature physically, but then also mentally because as you go through this game it's how you deal when things don't do well because we missed a bunch of blocks and the best team in the country does and we missed tackles and the best team in the country and we call bad plays, and the best teams in the country do. But you keep compounding good and good and good and more good things happen, and we've got to get to a point, year three, physically better, a lot of guys back, good class, that when you get a bump in the road it's a bump, and it's not a detour and we keep moving forward.

    Real quick, offensively you've got the 10 starters back, but Collin Rahrig has got 16 starts and he's the one guy you say is not a starter so you've kind of got basically you guys don't really watch linemen, but if you do, he's probably lineman three or four out there. He's a good player.

    Probably our best backup player on the offensive line, and maybe in our top five is Jake Reed, and they're in a battle to figure out who the center is. That being said, it's got Bernard Taylor playing a little bit better at guard and Dan Feeney coming on at guard because there's some really good competition. Ralston Evans, Pete Bachman, Dimitric Camiel give us tackle bodies, but those guys need to play at a higher level because Peyton Eckert and (Jason) Spriggs are solid, really decent tackles, maybe better than decent.

    Our other guys are big, but Bachman, we've moved him from D, Pete Bachman out of Cincinnati and Dimitric Camiel who we redshirted, and then Ralston Evans, who was very impressive in spring, we need somebody there to be next guy in that's a high level guy, because again, you can get a hiccup along the way and the play needs to not fall off.

    Inside we're a little bit better with guys like Cody Evers. I think he's got one career start and sometimes right now might be working with our threes. The way that Jacob Bailey and David Kaminski came on, there's some good depth inside.

    Tight end, Ted (Bolser) is a solid player, got to get so much better at blocking, having a great presence and being complete. Corsaro is a quality player. Short term, Matt Zakrzewski has been an impressive, different player. I'd like to see that continue. I've got four days, only two in shoulder pads, and that's not just as a fullback. It's either he or Danny Friend as a third guy. Strong, looks good, we need to get him to play well, and we'll see if he can help us at fullback.

    We're also messing a little bit or experimenting with Mike Replogle, who's played D end, played linebacker, played a little fullback to give us some short yardage goal line in everyday we do that Big Ten period, but what we're doing is getting our short yardage and things ready when that happens, so that's a good thing for us.

    The most experienced positions offensively, are the running backs and receivers, and there's some depth and players. Stephen Houston, a quality player; Tevin Coleman having as good a preseason four days as he had in spring, and he's very talented. D'Angelo is the third; really intrigued with Laray Smith, very, very fast. Just getting him to know which way to go and hang onto the ball, but it goes really fast, and he's hands down the fastest person that walks in this building. He can roll.

    So we've got some speed there. We'll see if we can channel that into being a good player.

    But got a chance at tailback but we haven't been good at tailback since we've been here. Even though coaches have nothing to do with this as much, this is from 1990 until now I believe this is the first time I've had two straight years without a 1,000 yard back. We're still very average at back, and it's not offensive line, it's backs, too, now, because sometimes we get what we block and it isn't taking one from 80, but it's taking two and getting three and four, so we need to be a lot better there.

    It's a competitive situation. Those guys need to step up, as do the tight ends to help the line so that the run game can get going.

    Receiver wise may be our best because, one, decent players, healthy, but there is strong competition there, whether it be Duwyce Wilson, who's looking good right now and he's with the twos, he's looking as good as any one. Isaiah Roundtree, who's backing up Shane Wynn in Ricky Jones' slot, looking really good.

    You've got Nick Stoner out there. We'll be intrigued with either Isaac Griffith or Anthony Young, so there's going to be some players other than just Cody (Latimer) and Kofi (Hughes) and Shane Wynn, and we need those because in our deal we're going to play fast enough you need some guys there, so some depth.

    And the last deal, quarterbacks, all look good, not as sharp as I want, but again, it's early. Not bad by any means. We're all doing a lot more moving around, whether it be movement throws, awkward throws, quarterback run game, and we're throwing it a lot. So I like what we've got. We'll see how it plays out, and we don't have a timeline but we're working them hard and they're all doing well.

    They're not going to talk to you guys until the end of this week because I want those guys to play ball. We're not trying to be nice to them. They all do well. You saw practice today, most of you. They're solid. Like to see them be better.

    Defensively, we've definitely got to make some strides. A lot of guys back, nine, we lose the two D tackles with (Adam) Replogle, three counting (Nicholas) Sliger, so you've got Sliger, Replogle and Larry Black gone. BothRalph Green, Alex Todd, and Adarius Rayner coming back with the guys we've got. We even had Bobby Richardson playing some in there today, who was pushing 280, '75, a little bit more active so he doesn't play there all the time, but in certain situations when you're playing stretch teams and you're playing sweeps or passing situations.

    We're very talented there. We're a little inexperienced, and maybe that's the Achilles heel. But not slighting the guys at left because two of those guys went to pro camps. The guys that came in and the guys that are there, there's more talent that's been there. It's inexperience. We'll see if it plays.

    We've got to get better at end. That's why Bobby has been outside. We even had Darius Latham a little bit playing outside. We've got to make some play at defensive end. We've got (Ryan) Phillis back, Zack Shaw looks solid, (Nick) Mangieri has looked solid. But we haven't been bad, but we've got to make some plays out there. We need some game changing plays, some pressure, some stops by harassing the quarterback and making people feel uncomfortable, and it's been a little too comfortable whether we can stop the run or get after the quarterback.

    A lot of competition, a lot of guys playing, and Coach (Jon Fabris) Fabs and Coach (James) Patton doing a good job there.

    Linebacker wise, we need some step ups there more than D line. We've got (David) Cooper back, we've got Jacarri (Alexander) back, we've got Griffin (Dahlstrom) back, we've got Flo Hardin back, but we need some guys to play significantly better at backer, run and pass.

    William Inge is a good coach. We're doing a lot defensively to hopefully simplify some communication and where our eyes go to cut it loose and play fast. We've got to play better there, though.

    The freshmen are really good. T.J. Simmons, really good. You saw him in spring. Clyde Newton, Marcus Oliver, really good. Kris Smith, very good but a little light. Those guys are very, very talented. Will they play? Got a chance to be on teams, got a chance to compete. Need them better. There's some things to work with, but we need Cooper and Griff, and we need Jacarri, and we need Flo Hardin to start playing like Big Ten defensive players that play linebacker in this league.

    Secondary, (Greg) Heban and (Mark) Murphy solid at safety, and they'll be challenged because Antonio Allen is pretty good, so there will be some things going on there. We did take Tim Bennett. We were going to do it in the spring, but with Murphy being out, with (Chase) Dutra, and (Antonio) Allen not being here, Tim Bennett plays safety. He's a more physical guy. Timmy Bennett is out at corner. We wanted to do it in spring, just numbers didn't allow it. Hopefully that doesn't hinder him and us, but I think you'll see him starting.

    It was between Mike Hunter that started or Kenny Mullen that started, but we've got guys that started; it's been too easy to start on defense. We've got Rashard Fant coming in as a young guy, so with Dutra, Allen, Fant on the back end, those young backers with Allen and Latham up front, as the pads go and it gets week two, it would be nice to see some of those guys in the mix to play.

    We start hitting and thumping, right now everybody is Chuckles the Clown. But about 10, 12 days into two a days we'll see if those guys really want to cut it loose and fly around and play.

    Last, kickers: Punting situation, (Nick) Campos and (Erich) Toth. Toth is a returner, but Campos is off to a great start. There's some competition. Mitch Ewald definitely our kicker. Got a quality player at as snapper (Matt Dooley), and our return guys are back.

    A lot of guys back, but I'm telling you, this group can be pretty decent, and as we go, we've got to learn how to kick it up in practice and how to study, take care of my body, have the mindset and come in like a high level player and not just come in and go work hard.

    We're working hard, but how to come in to work at a high level and see if we take a step. That's a quick rundown of the guys, and with that being said, we'll turn it over to you.

    Q. From a culture standpoint do guys come into camp more ready for camp than they have previously?

    Kevin Wilson: Well, the calendar gave us a chance to have a four, five, six day break when they were here for summer. We have so many weeks off, so summer school ended a week ago Friday. Our first practice was this Friday. So we kind of had one of those weeks where it still wasn't spring break week. You still need to stretch and keep your groin and hammy and keep your weight we had a reporting. We had a target weight you needed to be at and you were going to be judged by coming in what we told you to weigh.

    Our team had a weigh in. But there was a little break for us. But do have better now, what I am looking for, we've got good leaders in the locker room. I think we've got good leaders around the dorm and in the community. I need some leaders when the bullets are flying on the field to step up with how we lead and what we accept, and missing a tackle or missing a block isn't always just okay. My bad, because my bad, it isn't okay when you drop a pass. A guy says, that's okay. It isn't okay. When you've got a pick six and you drop it, it isn't okay.

    So as we go through this, what I'm looking for and pushing to see, some of these kids I think are awesome kids and doing a good job leading, how do we start leading on the field. It's kind of tough in the no huddle world? You don't really circle the wagons and talk a whole lot because you're kind of on the island and doing it yourself. Again, what is our standard and how do we lead with performance is what I'm really looking for.

    Q. I saw you guys at Bristol the other day, and I think Urban Meyer said the next three weeks are going to make or break every team in America. He was talking about preseason numbers. Is that just because there's so many more practices concentrated as opposed to the rest of the season, or how do you see that and what do you want to get done in these three weeks?

    Kevin Wilson: Well, in our world with the four non conference games at home, and to have the season you want to have, you've got to start fast. So are we good enough to be off base and play at a high level and get the wins you want because of your talent or the match up in the schedule? I don't know, and believe, quote, I don't know what mid season form is. But I do think we need to, quote, start fast, and I think that's one of the exciting things of our schedule.

    We open up with an in state team. We played Indiana State last year so we know them. We know the match up. We know how it went. We've got Navy the next week. We know how it went. We have Bowling Green the next week, and then Missouri. So to me it should excite our players.

    What I think happens is in two a days our guys lift and train, but we pop those pads, and when you pop those pads there's a physical presence that no matter what your defense or offense is or your kicking, your team has to have. And when you pop your pads, you've got to reestablish what that is, and it's a snowball that either melts or it gets bigger as it rolls downhill and it gains momentum. And I think if you do things right, you physically get stronger and tougher, and it grows.

    Now, you can't beat your team up, but if you don't lay that foundation of what we're going to stand on and kind of build that, you're not going to have the team, whether you're spread or I, three man front, four man front, blitzing or not blitzing. If you don't have a physical presence, it's hard to be good in college football and it is impossible to be good in this league if you don't have a physical presence.

    That doesn't mean running the ball; the way you make competitive 3rd downs and scoring and game changing plays. So you pop those pads. Now you've got them on and we all get 29. We all get 29 opportunities, and they're all scrimmages. We've been in two helmets and two shoulder pads, but you're building the attitude. Running good football and playing good defense more than anything else, and that's the two things our program doesn't do good yet. Those things are attitude more than scheme and more than players.

    There's a mindset that says how I play D and there's a mindset that says because those two things are physical, combative. You're willing yourself that we're going to do something, and for us to make strides, we're stronger, more mature, but that to me is what the beauty of preseason is about. Also with so many guys coming back you also want to be fresh, so how do you build this toughness and stay fresh.

    As a coach you're always learning. I will say the guy I worked with at Oklahoma was as good as I ever seen, and I've worked with a lot of coaches, but how to be tough, demanding, but how to keep guys mentally and physically fresh. He had a gift in that deal. He was special. We're trying to see if we can get that as a gift in players, but that was a unique deal.

    Q. You talked about the physical strength of this team. How have you seen that manifest on the field so far without full pads?

    Kevin Wilson: One, I see us playing on our feet a lot more, where guys are strong to stay up because in our world sometimes, and it's a bad deal you stay up, your pad level gets high, your D line gets high, your O line gets high, your backs have to run too high. There's a pad level you've got to play with. Even we're talking about targeting and helmets, still the guy with leverage wins.

    But when you play so low you're following the friendly fire, and it's not the running back that gets tackles. It's getting thrown into a D line, my buddy's knee, my safety, my buddy's knee. So staying on our feet shows me we're a lot stronger because you're not stumble bumming around and falling all over the place, and I'm talking about there's 22 guys flying around running, and you see some guys physical, staying on blocks, getting off blocks and at the end of the play there's 22 guys that look kind of good moving around and staying up.

    We haven't done enough full go yet to say why; I just feel the line of scrimmage. But again, for example, I notice our receivers. I see guys catching the ball near the sidelines and they're strong enough they're staying inbounds because the sideline never misses a tackle. So one of our gigs is you should never run out of bounds when we're practicing unless we're practicing two minute. So when we're practicing, get used to making guys make tackles. So I see guys fighting to do that.

    And again, just in general, I mean, we've played basically the first two years without a 300 pound O lineman. We'll average more than that this year, so we're getting there. And what's exciting is these big guys are getting bigger, and we don't have a senior in the crowd. So we've even got more time.

    The deal is we're starting at a good place and how far we can go, and no matter how far we go we keep going because there's a lot of growth as we keep moving. The deal is can we keep growing? It's going to be a challenge.

    Q. What do you think about playing on Thursday night and are you happy to do it at the beginning of the season rather than having it be disruptive somewhere else in the season?

    Kevin Wilson: Yeah, I'm the person that wanted to play on Thursday because I wanted a few more days to transition to the second game because where Navy is not it's not slighting Indiana State, they had the ball with a chance to tie or win the game on us last year. But to get ready for that option, it's two more days of preparation, and we do some things we did a little bit today. We have a segment that we do, but it was really to play you make more strides from week one to week two, and we're also playing, because I asked really for two things when I got here. I said I need these guys as strength coaches, and when you play an option football team, it's a total waste of what you do defensively. You change philosophy wise everything you do. From a D line perspective to a linebacker's perspective, it doesn't fit. So it's seven days of waste, okay, and those guys, they're awesome.

    So the real deal, we're playing Thursday night. Looked like last year we're playing for a chance to control our destiny and 24,000 people came. So I don't know who's coming anyway. So it wasn't about crowd, it was not slighting Indiana State, it was getting ready to play Navy, and I pushed for that as hard as I could because I thought it was best for our program, and that's not a slight of Indiana State because we saw last year what those guys and Shakir Bell can do. So it wasn't a slight to them, but playing Navy's opener, for this team to be successful, we need to start well and do our best against those teams, and they're going to be a challenge. You saw what Indiana State did last year; we saw Navy, that's a bowl game; Bowling Green is a bowl game, as good a team as has beaten us; and then here comes a Missouri that's a very talented SEC. We need to get those games.

    Again in doing that, I wanted two more days, and so we'll got through preseason. Then we'll have game week, Indiana State, and what we'll do out of that, we'll have a Saturday Sunday, take Monday off and then a Tuesday Wednesday so it's not like an open date but I'm still in to really change gears.

    The best thing is not the Thursday night game first or middle of the year. The best deal is we get the option over with earlier because last year I kept having to do it so now, I will say this. We use the option to try to get the offense to understand a little bit of pad level because the way we play, you can play high, so I don't use that as a negative. But I push I appreciate our administration and the Big Ten Network giving us that opportunity because I think it's in the best interest of our kids and we've still got to go play. There's no guarantees, but that's going to be big for us.

    Q. Is that so you can see how you do this year compared to last year?

    Kevin Wilson: You know, whether you do good or bad really has nothing to do with it because it's a completely new crowd. You've got new leaders, both teams. You've got new guys coming in. They have a new coach coming in. So just because you lost a year ago or one a year ago, really other than if you think it gives you confidence or lack thereof, truly if you're a good football team, starting in January you wipe this clean and you start the process again. So we can have better numbers or worse numbers. This is this team, and this team never really got together ever until four days ago because our coaches weren't with us in summer.

    The first time we were all together actually was before we went paint balling on the 1st. This is the first time we have been together united as a group, here's what we need to do. And we had a lot of us there, so there's a lot of dynamics. Every year it starts back over.

    I just like the fact we've got a challenging schedule and I love the fact we've got eight home games. We had six the first year. You should do a study, how many Big Ten teams play six at home. How many do it back to back years. Potentially we'll do it four of my first five years, so I don't want all this complaining about eight home games, I can't come. How about coming and getting loud and let's win some games together and get this thing going the right way. I want everybody to jump on right now. Let's get rolling. These kids are going to play hard and we're going to have some fun and let's be a little bit more proactive and let's get excited about having eight.

    Q. The Thursday night game gives you a chance to be in the national spotlight. Is that something you embrace?

    Kevin Wilson: A great point, and there's not as many games, and you do make strides from week one to week two so you really can coach up during that open week and not be rushed because you've got to catch your breath a little because that won't be a free weekend. We'll be here. We've got rules of time and what we can and can't do, but I'm not talking coaches, our players will be using that as a big stepping stone weekend.

    That's true, but again, when you're on the Big Ten Network you're getting it every week. Game 3 is ESPNU. Would be nice to get more on ESPN's because you really get good coverage there because everyone is going to click on that one on Saturday. So we're going to get coverage, but it is nice to get Thursday. It is good to get the coverage you're talking about. At the same time there's two Big Ten games, and I think we're a little bit the satellite game. You would have loved to have been the prime timer.

    Q. Have you talked to the kids about outside expectations? I know inside the locker room the expectations are always high.

    Kevin Wilson: Yeah, not really. I would like our outside expectations to be high. I think our fan base and alumni expect and want and demand more, not accept the way if we don't coach well or we don't come to play well and don't get the outcome we get and we're not going to get every call and get every bounce and maybe don't get every game, but I'd like the outside expectations to be high. But what we've really concentrated for quite a while is just our organization and those guys to your right and what they do in there.

    Don't talk a lot about it. As a matter of fact we actually talk sometimes really that we don't think people still expect a lot of us and try to build, stroke that chip on the shoulder a little bit because quite honestly I don't think people expect a lot of us yet, and you want to use that as a little bit of a motivating factor because one of my pet peeves is trying to do everything you can to prove people wrong with what you're doing. There's great deal of satisfaction doing so. We actually try to use the opposite of what you're saying and stroke it a little bit.

    Q. The schemes that you're running this year or that you won't run this year, same as last year, different from the first two years, or are you doing anything different just because you feel more confident in your kids?

    Kevin Wilson: Well, one, yes, more confident, more experience, you can do more. When Tre got hurt and we got limited with how much we exposed the quarterbacks, didn't feel Cam or Nate were strong enough and been with us and we didn't have anyone other than those two we thought we could win with. So we did a lot to protect those guys, but with the pressure put on them and the mental pressure, and the thought and the hits that we want those guys to take, the ability to run.

    The line will be more mature, can handle more; receivers can adjust and handle more conversions of routes. We've got to make those strides defensively, and I think we're doing some things defensively, whether just being subtle commitment to where guys are spaced to where their eyes are to be a little better in run defense.

    You always try and take advantage of personnel, and so you're always tweaking a little, but I think the gist of what we do we still kind of do, we need to do it better, though.

    Q. On that note, Coach Mallory said the other day that he thinks on defense they can play three linebackers more often, not have to go as much nickel. Do you agree with him on that note on defense, and is there anything that you can do offensively different because of personnel that way?

    Kevin Wilson: Well, again, you're allowed to match substitutions, so when everybody talks about no huddle, if they run a receiver out, you have time to bring someone to cover him. The deal is if you have a dude that can block and play receiver, play tight end, flex out, play running back, and you start moving him around, you want linebackers and safeties that can do that, big enough, strong enough to be run support players, athletic enough to play in space.

    Now, certain situations and substitutions you'll go to nickel or even dime, whether it be 60, if he's you name it whatever, three man rush, drop eight, goal line, bring all your big boys in there, whatever.

    So you're always going to match up. But I do think with guys like Flo (Hardin), who's a converted safety; Clyde Newton, who's a running back playing linebacker; Kris Smith, the same kind of deal; with Jacarri's (Alexander) ability, I think you'll see a little bit more linebackers that can play in space, and in my opinion right now the bulk of our league is still so run oriented we need the bodies that can stop the run because that's still where I don't think we hit it right.

    Q. Talk about the running game, just getting more of a balance there, just how important that is.

    Kevin Wilson: You know, to me it's not just balance but the ability to be solid at it, so it's not 50/50 or even yards 200 and 200. It's how efficient, how many three and four and five and nickels are there when you run the ball that keep you on schedule, you know what I'm saying? When you're a good running team, the red zone is so much easier, and inside the 10 tight zone is so much easier, and the 3rd and mediums are so much easier because there's a lot of stress that comes off of you.

    To me it's not to me balance means you can do both well. Never was a stat number. For example, we go no huddle. There were games last year where we had 70 plays and the opponent had 70 plays, so I still don't understand how our defense gets more tired than them, 70 and 70. We had 24 minutes they had 26 minutes but they're standing around. The deal is if you go no huddle you need more plays because it's like at bats. It's at bats. Why do you bat the best guy one, two, three? To get more swings. The reason you go no huddle, you want more cuts, you want 80, 85 cuts, not 70, 75. Then at the end your time possession is about the same, but the snaps played, 85 snaps versus 65 snaps. We want to get to there.

    In your run game deal, it's not balance, it's execution. It's being able, because if you can run the ball, you can play action.

    It's a great question. But here's the deal: I think our stats look pretty good. Our running and competitive stats are horrible. Our 3rd down conversions are horrible. Our ability to score points when we get to the 35 is horrible because the other stats look kind of good but it doesn't relate to points, and points relate to wins, and the run game you're talking about will give us the wins, so we'll use that as an opportunity.

     

     

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