BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana head football coach Kevin Wilson met with the assembled media at his weekly Tuesday afternoon press conference.
Below is the transcript:
On the defense against Penn State:
"We had some third downs, some opportunities to get off the field, and we didn't. The offense has got to execute to keep the defense off the field and the defense has got to execute to keep the defense off the field. There were some times we had them on schedule and guys are going to make plays. They're going to make some third downs, but they shouldn't make as many as they did, especially third-and-longs. We're trying to show the positives - that we're creating turnovers; that we're not giving up points. But we're also trying to show, I wouldn't say the negatives, but where we can improve and where we need better run support from safeties and backers or the defensive line, staying sound, staying gap sound. Again, there's a lot of room for improvement. That was a nice, better performance, but it's not the standard that we want. It's not what we're looking for and that's not being disrespectful. We're making strides on that side. I don't think we're making strides offensively right now, but I think the defense is making strides. I still think for the standard that we need, short term and long term, it's going to be a tremendous challenge this week and it needs to be a heck of a lot better."
On the team's offense performance against Penn State:
"I don't know if I'm happy about anything offensively. I mean, Dusty [Kiel] has played better. The quarterbacks get all the credit and all the blame, but it's based on the guys around him. I keep saying that. When you can't run the ball, you get one-dimensional, people are teeing off on you, your pocket's collapsing, you can't see as well, you can't follow through and step through your throws. It's easy to be off target when your receivers are dropping passes, when you do get a block right, when you do make the right read, when you do deliver the ball on target and drop it. The offense is at fault just as much as the defense. We're all a function of 11 guys working together. It's always a little hectic and out of sync, but you got to minimize it. We have way too many mental errors, way too many. Way too many loafs, guys not playing as hard as they can play. We basically just showed that it's a total group thing. This is you and do you like the way this looks because this is the way it looks forever. This game is recorded, it's finished and it's in the chapters forever. My way of fixing things is we continue to practice and practice hard. We continue to have a positive attitude and more forward. If you don't like the way it looks, keep practicing in a lethargic way, you're going to play in a lethargic way. Dusty did well. He didn't haunt us with negative decisions. He did a nice job with leading us out there, but at the same time we need everybody across the board offensively to pick up. Both he and Ed [Wright-Baker], they both have done well, but they need to do better as we move forward."
On the quarterbacks:
"I think the more Dusty [Kiel] has the opportunity to play the better he's going to get. Dusty's issue in practice is, and you saw it against South Carolina State on a play that was wiped off with offsetting penalties, is he doesn't take care of the ball very well. The main difference between the two wasn't that one had a stronger arm or better arm, that one could run better than the other, that one communicated the offense better than the other, just Ed [Wright-Baker] was much better in taking care of the ball. We are plus in the turnover ratio, and we still keep leaving it on the ground one or two times a game. That being said, Ed has been responsible for the most turnovers with a couple fumbles and the picks he's had. The ball is in the quarterback's hands the most. He's the guy who can screw it up the quickest. The difference in preseason; Ed was cleaner. As Dusty plays and the more he plays the more comfortable he gets, the slower it gets, the more things get off their plates. I think they're both competitors and good friends. I don't think they fight against each other. I think they push each other and we'll see how it moves forward."
On playing aggressive at the end of the first half:
"When they have a time out and you're not running the ball well, you can run the ball to get the clock moving, but they're going to take a time out. Now that means they have one less time out, but in the college game with the chains stopping on first downs, you have a lot of time on offense for two minutes. We needed to get the first down. Our deal was right there we weren't going to try to be greedy, and stress us out, but we thought we needed to get the first down and whether we ran it or threw it we thought running, we were struggling running the ball. If we ran it, four seconds or five seconds would run off the clock, they would have called a time out. They would have had one less time out, but they still would have had the ball. That being said, we just thought the best deal was trying to hit one of our less stress protections, high percentage throws to try to move the chains. We needed to get a first down. They had two time outs and with two timeouts you need 47 seconds or less, because you take a knee, take a knee. Under 40 seconds, we've got it down to a mathematical science. We're sitting with 1:30 left and they were going to make us punt. We had to get a first. That was something Coach [Bob] Stoops, as a defensive guy, used to say all the time at Oklahoma. You've got to get the first down. Don't worry about their time outs. Just get the first down whatever you do, so that was our thought. But we weren't trying to be stupid and we weren't trying to score. We were just trying to get one first down and get out of the half. That was another situation where the defense did bail us out. Another great job by those guys."
On defending Illinois:
"Good tackling, proper coverage, staying on top of routes, rushing the quarterback. Those would be some good things to show. These guys are good, and when you've got a quarterback run game, a little option game, you know you get some concern because you've got to account for him. It's a different animal back there. You know Nathan Scheelhaase is their leading rusher. They've got very good running backs. They will get downhill. They have got a very good fullback, good o-line, big tight end, but there is an option part of their offense, to not be a true wishbone. Defensively, if you talk to our defensive guys, you would get concerned with which coverages, blitzes, looks you can do, because the threat of the quarterback run is one more animal to defend on the field and kind of limits us there. He's [Scheelhaase] a very unique player, and I didn't study much but I did recruit him. He was at Oklahoma's camp a couple years in a row trying to be a quarterback, and his father played at Iowa, with Coach [Bob] Stoops. I know the family, know the kid well. He comes from a great program. Brandon Shelby, our cornerbacks coach, is from the same high school, and he's got some great qualities. He's well coached by Paul Petrino. He's developing into a quality quarterback, because you watch him now and he knows how to set his feet, play with base, play with balance, and you can see him go through reads, so he's very athletic. He can make plays with his feet, can make plays on the run, but he's getting into being a really solid, good quarterback. He's got a great future."
On Nathan Scheelhaase's passing game:
"I don't know what he was, but he's pretty good now. He stands in the pocket and he looks like a quarterback. You just watch his feet, the way he sets his feet, his balance, his body control, the way the ball comes out. Again, that's also a credit, because I have seen him in person, I know he's worked awfully hard, and I know he's getting well coached by Paul [Petrino]. I think it's a combination of all parties there."
On creating pressure and containing Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase:
"You've got to keep guys like that in the pocket. I wouldn't say, for example, Ed [Wright-Baker] has made a bunch of plays kind of running around, although you would think he's mister scramble guy and he just can take off. I don't think right now they've got Nate Scheelhaase trying to be a run-around quarterback on third down. He's not going to drop back, glance a second and take off. He's going to go through his progressions, go through his reads. You know it's a double-headed sword, sometimes you get so worried in the way we are rushing the passer, you get so worried about staying in your lanes, then you struggle rushing the quarterback, because it's almost like you're running in quicksand. That being said, to me we've got to get up field, get some edges and get some penetration. Distort the pocket and get him uncomfortable, and it's going to be a challenge because we've got to do a great job of run defense, getting them into third-and-longs. If this team plays on schedule, it's a really good offense."
On Illinois' defense leading the Big Ten in sacks:
"They are good up front you and very active. I think they are very sound in what they do, but if you look at it from an offensive lineman's perspective it might look junky to you. Where they are going to kick into some looks where they're still gap sound. They know what they are doing. They are responsible. They have got it all covered, but they don't just line up in one look. They make you mentally work as an offensive lineman. They make you mentally work as a quarterback to understand where your protection issues are, how to kick your protection, how to get rid of the ball. They have a hybrid at the linebacker-type spot where they will go from a three-man front to a four-man front by just sliding over, covering the guards and making the linebacker a rush defensive end. Or they kick it into a three-man front and make you work up with some linebackers or a 46 defense, the double-eagle bear look. Again, multiple looks but gap sound. That being said, I think a lot of their sacks are from a lot of their coverages. Coach [Ron] Zook, himself being an old defensive back, they play a fair amount of challenge man coverage. They are making you work to get open, so as it takes you time to get open it's allowing the rush time to get there. To me sacks are a team deal, and they've got a nice package and know what they're doing."
On Illinois becoming a nationally ranked team:
"All I've got a chance to watch are the five games this year. Knowing from afar a little bit, I do think you go back and look a couple years ago they make some decisions at coordinator with a defensive coordinator and offensive coordinator. They've got some stability. They have hired a couple good coaches, and their packages have gotten sound and clean. They have developed their quarterbacks; their quarterback now is in his second year in that system. The offensive line's come along, so probably a combination of a couple, three years ago, some leadership choices, a philosophical choice, offense and defense of what we want to do, and some stick-to-itivness. Where they have stayed the plan, stayed the course, along the way recruited some good players, developed some good players. They've got decent size, decent speed. That being said, the schedule is set up where they have played well. They have gotten confident. They have had success. It's kind of snowballing and they will come in as a pretty good football team, so we need to play awfully well this week to get them."