Coach Wilson's Weekly Press Conference - Sept. 20

    Go Hoosiers! Head coach Kevin Wilson and the Hoosiers face North Texas on Saturday.
    Go Hoosiers!
    Head coach Kevin Wilson and the Hoosiers face North Texas on Saturday.
    Go Hoosiers!

    Sept. 20, 2011

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    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana head football coach Kevin Wilson met with the assembled media at his weekly Tuesday afternoon press conference. Below is a partial transcript:

    On having the defensive linemen attack the gaps or play the man:
    "Each week is a little different. It's not as big of a deal as sometimes in coverage, based on where your safeties are. Do you try and thicken up and buck up things and - when I say two gap - you're kind of being thick on a guy and occupying a guy and kind of playing A and B? Or they say `hey, I just have the A gap' or `hey, I just have the B gap' and `this guy has the C gap' and it's a little more assertive.

    "I think we thought from the first game against Ball State, and we'll keep doing that defensively, by the first game where we kind of got head up, we just kind of didn't get off blocks. We kind of just got caught and we weren't able to occupy and get off blocks as much as we thought. And that happened the next week against Virginia, instead of being head up on guard we were a little more inside or outside shades, and the same last week against South Carolina State. We did some things we wanted to come back and get a little bit more head ups, so it's just a subtle tweak.

    "It's no different than sometimes a receiver widening a split, tiding a split, a cornerback tucking inside to take away an inside route or lining up outside cause he's got outside help. You're always tweaking a little bit. It's not a huge philosophical deal, but what you do when you do those things is you have to match the coverage with it. The safeties know what they're doing. The corners know what they're doing. It's not like it's a brand new defense. It's just basically taking a part of our package and emphasizing some other things a little bit more than we were doing from the start."



    On what leads to those changes week in and week out:
    "Certain situations, certain formation groups, certain schemes. Certain weeks it's no different than offensively when you have inside runs or outside runs. One week you might be more inside-oriented because of the defense. The next week it could be outside. It could be the same passing game or does it use quick passes or move the pocket. Defensively, it's all a part of the package.

    "For example, game three was a lot like game one as far as some of the things we wanted to do. But that was because of the opponent and their structure and their style of offensive play. Each week I know Coach [Doug] Mallory, Coach [Mike] Ekeler, not just those two, but there are others, keep implementing their thoughts on trying to get [Adam] Replogle, [Larry] Black, [Nicholas] Sliger and those guys making plays along with the guys off the edge."

    On what the team needs to do this week to have success:
    "Defensively, we have to show up and tackle a little bit better - angles, safety, corner supports, getting off blocks up front, getting a lot of pressure on the quarterback. We did that a couple times blitzing last week and we played pretty good third down defense, but there were some drives we didn't get them to third down. They were first down and getting four, five or six yards. Then on second down getting four, five or six yards and it was first down again. We never got them to third down. When we got them [to third down], it was because we played some good first down defense and forced them in to second-and-long and third-and-long.

    "They were 4-for-14 [on third downs] and that's reasonable and kind of where you want to be. I like to be even greedier and be better than that, but that was good. The deal was there were some drives we didn't get them there. We let them stay in too many plays. We have to keep working on attacking the gaps, getting off blocks, taking four-yard plays and getting them down to one or two.

    "Again you look at us, our yards per attempt. It's like we're working really hard, moving it down the field. We want people to work equally as hard against us and offensively, we don't want to work as hard. We want to have some chunk plays, some big plays. But there was some okay stuff."

    On younger guys making mistakes versus older guys
    "It's frustrating for all of them. You coddle the young guys and say it's excused because he's a young guy. When you're making a bunch of mistakes, to me it's a couple things. One, the guy's confidence level or maturity or thought process that's causing him to think about things where he's missing an assignment, missing a play and then having a penalty. Football is a game far away from perfect, so there are a lot of errors. Whether it be missed assignments, blown coverages or missed tackles, there's always the negative that you try and eliminate the self-inflicted wounds, as Coach Hep and I used to call them at Miami many years ago. You try to decrease those each and every week.

    "Last week those crept in really big. To say it's a young guy as an excuse - I don't get that. I always think `what's the guys confidence level? What's he thinking?'

    "Number two, what are you practicing? Are you doing things where he's thinking so much that you're cluttering his mind? Typically when you have errors, you also have to look at the coaching format. What are you doing that's enabling this guy to jump offsides as many times as he did? Are we getting sloppy in practice habits? Are our hands getting outside so we're clamping and getting cheap holding calls?

    "A lot of times you can point fingers at the players, but you also need to make sure you're pointing a thumb at yourself in practice and what you're doing as you move forward. It's a double-edged deal and I think a lot of that falls back on our shoulders as coaches."

    On North Texas:
    "We're going into their stadium. It'll be an exciting deal for them. It's their second game in there. It's a brand new facility. They have a new coaching staff and they're looking for their first win. They've played three quality opponents in Florida International - who is off to a 3-0 start having beat North Texas, Louisville and Central Florida, who everybody thought was going to be a heck of a team this year. Some people were voting Central Florida in the Top 25, so International is off to a good start. Houston is 3-0, doing well like they've been doing the past few years. And they played Alabama, so they've played three really good teams.

    "Kickoff returns are very good and their running back last year was eighth in the country, so rush defense is going to be key. Offensively, we have been an offense that has looked okay at times, but we sputter around. We let people kind of hang around. When you go on the road and you don't convert situations and you don't score [touchdowns] and kick field goals and you let an opponent hang around. Those kick returns are huge because they get momentum and you get in a dogfight.

    "I think this game is going to be a bigger challenge than most and I'm looking forward, as we build what we are doing, to see if our guys have the week we need. We had some success on Saturday, now can we practice hard after success. We talked last week about practicing hard after failure. Can we practice hard after success and can we take it on the road? We are going to get a good challenge from North Texas and not just on kick returns, in all phases. Their running back is a heck of a player."


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