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 miscommunications on defense:
"To me you need to talk. You need to be on the same page. I had the opportunity to see a work out and a comment that was made by someone going through the work out was that just because you know the call, it's not about you. Don't be selfish and that you got it. It's about the guy playing to the right and left. Make sure they got it. Offensively, you don't typically yell out what you're doing a lot because it will tip off your plays. Hey, I'm double-teaming. Hey, I'm running a post route. You want to maybe hold your cards offensively, but defensively yell it out - the coverages, the blitzes, the checks - that's a part of it. But again, a part has to do with coaching. We have to make sure as coaches we keep looking at our players. I keep saying all the time, put yourself in the players position and with his time of task and what you're asking him to do, don't make him think or adjust too much. But the more positioning you do the more thinking you do and the more miscommunication it leads to, so it's a double-edged sword. But again, heard it the other day from one of the coaches in an interview, it's communication and it's clarity of communication. Everyone's on the same page. I'm not disappointed. It's not where it needs to be, and we'll keep working as we move forward."
On overcoming mistakes:
"The other day we had a guy blitz that's never blitzed, he just busted and missed the call. That's no different than when the right guard should block the linebacker and he stays on the down lineman. The guy just made a mistake. Now he made a mistake in man coverage and now nobody is guarding his man and the guy's wide open. At the same time, the week before we're in some third-down situations that Penn State works us. I think our coaches thoughts were let's get aggressive and instead of letting them protect and work us on the routes let's bring pressure. Unfortunately a guy just busted and that's part of the plan and players will always bust, young players might bust a little more, but you move forward as you go with it. Defensively, what does that mean? You don't blitz? You don't get there and they sit there and they pick you apart? When I say double-edged sword, you pick your spots. Just because a guy busts does that mean you never go back to it? You just try and teach that guy how to move forward, not to make that play. I was more concerned that the guy made an error the next play. Good players mess up. You got to forget about it and move on. That's a sign of teaching players how to be good players. When you make a bust you can still have a good game. Play the next play and keep moving on."
On the quarterback play:
"Quarterback wise, Dusty (Kiel) hurt an ankle. He actually has a pretty significant sprain. He's got what would be considered a high ankle gig and he was trying to play through it (against Illinois). He indicated that to me at the end of the third quarter when he fluttered a couple passes. I think he actually hurt it earlier in the game on one of the plays where he flicked it to Stephen (Houston) and Stephen had a nice run. He kind of battled through it, was hanging in there pretty good, but his comment was he couldn't push off and that's why he couldn't get on the ball. Tre (Roberson) played down the stretch. Tre came in, Ed (Wright-Baker) did well last week but we kind of thought watching him run, he practiced a fair amount, as much as the other guys, but again with him we thought we're going to have to run around a little bit. We're going to have to go against a good rush. Protection is going to break down, didn't want to put him in a vulnerable situation where at 95 percent he could have gotten hurt again or re-tweaked it. Ed looked really good yesterday as we started moving forward, so if he's not full go he is awfully, awfully close. See if we can get him and Tre going as we move forward this week. That's why we didn't play Ed. He could have played, but the plan was to go with Dusty and try to work Tre in. When Dusty got injured, it became Tre totally and I thought for a young guy Tre handled it pretty good. He had one issue with a communicational snap that really was more on the center than him. His communication was good. I thought he played calm. He didn't get rattled. He had one interception when protection was breaking. He throws it a smidge quick and our tight end stumbles out of the break and it hits him on the helmet and the ball goes up in the air. He didn't force the ball. He's doing okay and he can make a few plays running around. Playing as much as he did, Tre did well and we'll continue to go to him."
On Bobby Richardson:
"He played very well, and especially since we go through a bulk of our training, you know we go through the bulk of preseason with Mark Murphy as a safety. Leon (Beckum) gets hurt, and now he's a linebacker, so not only is he a freshman, but we go through preseason summer training in a position. You take Bobby; we got him as a defensive tackle, which is what he played. But the way the defensive ends were playing, we didn't need him at tackle because we did have a little depth there. We kick him over to end, and I think that instinctively shows a kid coming out of a good program down south, well coached, playing at a high school in Florida, heck of a program down in Tampa. He's kind of playing on instincts, and the more he plays, the better he does, but he's off to a good start."
On the level of play of the defense from the first half to the second half:
"That last drive (against Illinois) was the first time all year I thought we kind of got worked at the end. I think our conditioning level, and if anything, I think we've gotten our kids in shape. I think in doing so we've leaned them up and gotten a little light. Now we've got to build some of our young guys back up. I think we've leaned some fat off, now we've got to bulk some muscle mass back on to us, and recruit some big bodies, and get more size as we move forward. But you know again, the defense has to execute and make a stop. That's not pointing a finger at them, but offensively you've got to convert third downs, keep your drives going. Time of possession is a two-way street. You know the offense can hang the defense out, but the defense needs to salvage itself. They were on the field a fair amount. They were going against a pretty good offense that has pretty good balance. They might have got worked a little bit, but that's the first game. I sense the way we played against Penn State down the stretch, the way we played against North Texas down the stretch, our defense has kind of been reasonably okay. I don't know if it's been good at any time of the year, but it's been as good in the third and fourth quarters as it's been at the start."
On the progression of the team halfway through the season:
"The couple disappointing things to me, one we talk about playing smart. We did go from 20 penalties to one. But turning the ball over like we did, giving a 10-point swing. It's a max protection. We got three guys running routes, seven guys blocking, and they rushed five guys. We've got seven-on-five. That's a complete shutdown, and they shouldn't be close. And to give up point differential mistakes like that, taking those things out of the offense, is concerning. Not having, even though we've gotten small, we still don't play with speed on offense, assertiveness. We play in granny gear. We don't come off with speed at receiver and running back. Our running back, Stephen Houston, the other day did run hard. First time, and he ran forward, and he ran behind his pads, and he went that way (forward) for a change instead of hesitating. I'm disappointed we don't play as hard as we're capable of playing. I see things in practice that I don't see on the field. I think we make the game bigger than it is. I don't think we go into the arena with the confidence or knowledge, trust what we do, do what we do. I know offensively, you know I had several comments from guys, `why did you do that?' We had a couple situations where guys did things like that. We didn't practice that way, never did it, never been told, what are you thinking? Where I think guys are pressing, trying to make a play, not trusting again, hey here comes a blitz, I should block the blitz, no you should block your guy, the tailback has the blitz, then we don't get a sack. We've got guys who are a little panicked, overreacting, lack of trusting the coach, trusting me, trusting the player beside them, trusting themselves. And as we build and move forward, we had a couple good weeks of practice. Last week's the best week of offensive work we've had. Came out yesterday with a good start. We're trying to build on it. There's a point in time it goes from over there (practice field) onto the game field. Great challenge and a tough challenge Saturday, but we will be the same until we make that transition. As coaches, we're being positive with it, they are practicing well, but we need to transfer it into the game period."
On the play of Mark Murphy:
"Very good. I think if you would ask the (defensive) guys, they'd say he's probably one of the better defensive players on our team, and that's unusual for a freshman. It's also unusual we took him from safety to linebacker, but he's solid. His dad was a heck of a player. He comes from a great high school program. And he's a guy back in the preseason summer running around, we wondered how fast and how good is this guy when you put pads on him. He's one of our better football players, and he's played well for us."
On Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson:
"I think he's really good. Have not seem him on a daily basis, and I can't compare him to anyone. He's a fifth -ear guy, three-year player off a program that was well coached at North Carolina State. They had a passing-style offense. Now he's coming into an offense where there's very little stress at quarterback. Great running game. They can lean on you. They can play on your terms. They're throwing to a lot of receivers that get single coverage, because you can't stop their run if you are playing soft coverage. You've got to get your corners and safeties and you need 11, 12, 13 or 14 guys up there to stop their run. When he's throwing the ball, he's throwing out there one-on-one. Great run game, great line. It looks like from afar and listening to comments, that he's come in as a fifth-year guy, but he's become a quality, big-time leader for them. And I think that's probably why they're off to such a great offensive start. Again, you know I'm a Carolina guy, so I always watched those North Carolina State games. I don't know if I'm pulling for them or against them, but I always watched them, and always liked him as a player. A little bit more of a one back, still running the ball, but one-back system. A guy that you saw run around that does make plays with his feet, can extend plays, but I don't think you call him a running quarterback, but he makes great plays on the run. Very accurate throws, very calm. He's a solid player on a really, really great offense. Reads really good."
On the team's first Big Ten road game:
"Well again, the energy and the effort. You've got to learn how to build off of their crowd. Because you're going to play in great arenas every week when you go on the road in this league. You're going to have to learn how to play in tough environments, loud environments, but how to embrace that. How to use that as a positive and not as a negative. They don't come out. They don't give them more points, because they're in the stands, but at the same time it is a challenge, how to embrace that challenge and learn from that. As you play against good teams, how to learn how to take the fight to a good team. Don't sit there on your heels, don't sit there passively, don't sit there worried about next week or who to play and not play, how to be aggressive. You've got to, when you go against a good opponent, you have to be aggressive. You cannot be timid. You've got to go at them with all you've got every play. Kicking game, offense, defense."
On the miscues being from a lack of talent or the mental aspect:
"The disappointing thing is the mental thing, and the disappointing is what I see some guys capable of doing, not seeing that trust and doing it on Saturday. We've got our team maybe in shape, where we've thinned up a little bit, but we're not quite as heavy, as thick, or as big as I'd like to be, but at the same time I thought we were overweight and not strong. We've leaned them up, now we've got to bulk up, build up, so in time we will physically get bigger and stronger. Then maybe a couple positions where you can never have too much team speed, at any skill set, but the disappointing thing is when we talk about playing smart football, not giving away turnovers, taking advantage of short fields, getting touchdowns, playing physical, being assertive, being aggressive. We still play the game with a little too much doubt, and that's what we're trying to sew up. That's our short-term fix, those are things we control, and again our kids are doing it and I'm not giving you coach speak. They are doing reasonable, positive things through the week in practice, but the transition from Thursdays to Fridays into Saturdays. we need some game success. We need some guys to click in on Saturday, realize it's not that hard. My old coach used to have an analogy with a two-by-four he laid on the floor, walk across it, and that's what practice is. For the game the two-by-four is coming off the top of the stadium. It's not going to break, but walking it's the same walk, but you think the risks are greater. Can you walk the same walk and do the same steps? That's the trust factor and again with new coaches, I haven't done a good job of earning their trust that these guys will bond with us and move forward. We'll keep working at it, and this will be a great challenge, and this game, again we've got to be aggressive, we've got to be physical, we've got to have some trust. We've got to have some guys step up and start trusting themselves, and trusting each other, so it will be a great test."