BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana head football coach Kevin Wilson met with the assembled media at his weekly Tuesday afternoon press conference. Below is the transcript:
"Quickly on Iowa, going back and looking at that game. On the defensive side, you guys saw it all. We didn't do a good job of getting defensive stops other than making them punt through the fourth quarter. Staying on blocks, not getting off tackling, missing on tackles, them running through us. The biggest thing, in man coverage we played soft. They worked us on hitches. There was a really good play one time when Michael Hunter plays a guy man-to-man, makes a good break, they come back the next play and they make a play on us. We see a guy that can, but just doesn't do it consistently back to back. Third down, getting off the field, we had some third down opportunities where we didn't get stops. Red zone, causing them to maybe kick some field goals like we do on offense instead of getting into the end zone. We didn't create turnovers. (Adam) Replogle and Kenny Mullen both played really well, but those were our only two. Kenny is a young guy, playing corner, playing a little bit of our nickel, spying a little bit. Did a nice job, got some pressure with some blitz. He's gaining on it and doing a good job in the kicking game.
"Offensively, it was a little bit better to some degree. Had some balance. Red zone offense is still a concern, you go back to Illinois where our defense created some good field position and we didn't score. Think we started the third quarter with two very long drives, but we got three points. We don't really make a big deal about total yardage, rushing yardage and passing yardage. You want to get points, and in this day and age you've got to score some points. We've got to work it where we can get in the end zone a lot more than we're doing, so that's a concern. We had zero turnovers. That's the first time since the opening game so that's a plus, but again, we've got to score points. Tre (Roberson) Stephen Houston, Kofi Hughes and Cody Latimer played well at the skill positions. Max Dedmond had his best game. We recognized Max as one of the players of the game. The young offensive linemen are getting better. I think Justin Pagán has kind of settled in and played well for us down the stretch.
"Our kick cover wasn't particularly good. We let them pop some out. In returns we had three penalties on returns where we just grabbed a guy and pulled him down as we were getting beat. I think we had some more penalties than we've had, but I would credit our guys, at least for the most part, it was maybe sloppy play but it was effort play. It wasn't like just foolishly jumping offsides. Getting our hands outside or torquing and turning the guy, we've got to be better than that moving forward.
"Of course with Northwestern coming up, Homecoming here back at home. They've struggled a little bit by record, but offensively they've been very impressive. Last week they put the most yards of anyone on Penn State to date. They were up big on Illinois, played a good run of some good teams at Iowa, Michigan, four good teams in a row. They've played well early. Offensively, got to have respect for Mr. (Dan) Persa, what he is fighting through, his background, but the (Kain) Colter kid comes in and they don't miss a beat. (Jeremy) Ebert at receiver is awesome. Again very good on offense. Defensively, they have been battling, kind of like us but probably a little bit further along, playing better defense than we are, but a challenge for Homecoming. It would be nice to see if we can move and get a win, but it will be a tough challenge with those guys."
On Northwestern's defense:
"(Northwestern defensive coordinator) Coach (Mike) Hankwitz, much like (Iowa defensive coordinator) Coach (Norm) Parker, has been around a very long time. He has a simple, strong way that he approaches defensive play. At the same time, Iowa, other than just bringing a one guy blitz off the edge once in awhile, they lined up like that in 2000. That's kind of how they line up and play their deal. We again started with some long fields after a couple of penalties on kick returns, got into some third and longs, didn't manage it and got off the field. It was disappointing. I think at the three-minute mark they were working a drive, it's 21-14 and we have a chance to make a pick and we don't. They score with a minute and thirty-something and then they score with 16 seconds to make it 35-14. Even though they're playing good on offense, it's a reasonably competitive game and in a four-minute mark just boom. That's a couple of weeks in a row it happened. Going back to the Virginia game, right before the half, with the fumble that gave away some points. We've imploded in the last few minutes of the first half of a few games where even when we're behind we've thrown away seven or 10 points and made our task even harder coming out of the third quarter and I don't know why."
On the freshmen progressing:
"The more you play the better you're getting. Bernard Taylor played every snap against Iowa, every snap against Wisconsin, three quarters against Penn State and Illinois. He's not where you want yet, but he's gaining on it. Same with Peyton Eckert and Collin (Rahrig) is doing well and the receivers. I'd like to get D'Angelo (Roberts) back in the mix. We had him on some kickoff cover teams the other day to get him going a little. Tre's (Roberson) situation has played out to where he's getting a chance. Kenny Mullen, we're starting to see him show up a little more. Those guys all make mistakes and there are some growing pains with it and we lack some size with those guys, but they have some energy and they're competing. They're getting to where they realize that they only need to make the game as big as it is. That guy is just another guy like me and let's go battle a little bit. I think we're making some strides, still a long way off, but that groups going.
"At the same time, Max Dedmond, Jeff Thomas, Adam Replogle, we're getting some solid play out of those older guys that have been pretty steady for us down the stretch. I think Andrew McDonald and Justin Pagán are becoming a little steadier for us and they're practicing better. I think they're gaining confidence and starting to trust our schemes and what we're teaching. I see some of those older guys hanging in there and I appreciate that."
On Tre Roberson:
"He's very calm and has done a nice job communicating. He's does a great job on the sideline as well. The more he plays the more comfortable he has gotten in practice trying to step up, trying to be more vocal, having more energy as we go. He has really practiced well the last couple of weeks. The more he plays the more confidence he has in himself. Early in the year, rotating guys through, it was hard to see separation. I thought as we went through last week's practice we knew Tuesday after practice he was probably going to be our starter. At the same time, it will be good to see how Ed (Wright-Baker) and Dusty (Kiel) respond. Sometimes competition is a great thing if players embrace it. I keep telling our guys all the time if you don't like your situation, change it. If you don't like the outcomes of games, change it. If you don't like your role, change it. If you don't like what we are doing on offensive or defensive, you need to change it with your effort, attitude and performance."
On finishing the season strong:
"We want to win each game. What do we think plan wise gives us a chance for Saturday. Everyone that's not playing gets a lift on Friday instead of coming to a special teams meeting. After practice we have a boatload of guys getting the extra shakes for weight gaining, so you are always building forward. Except for the seniors leaving, we are reasonably young in a lot of spots and you want to make some strides. At the same time, we have not said we are looking ahead to 2012 as much as we need to win this week. That has been our motto each week. We haven't executed our plan or played up to snuff to get it done, but that is our plan this week. We need to win against Northwestern, we need to win at home and we need to win on Homecoming. That's what we are going to make a commitment to and see if we can play good enough to get it done"
On Max Dedmond's play:
"He was very physical (at Iowa). I thought one of his best plays, he really extends on a third down when he's tackled a yard or two short and extends to get a first down. That was a great effort play. He had a couple very physical blocks. He and Ted (Bolser) are kind of splitting time more. I had those guys kind of subbing themselves every few plays. Ted to stay fresh and to get Max in the flow. Max probably got in some rhythm and played well. He had some physical point of attack blocks of the game and the year. Appreciate his effort. He's a great kid and it's nice to see him come through and play a good, solid game for us. He played with some great effort, which was great to see."
On the staff remaining positive:
"My deal is I'm trying to keep them pretty positive, because if we're not then nobody else is going to be. My gig each day is we've got to be the guys with the energy, the guys with the enthusiasm. We've got to make sure that we keep finding good in what we're trying to do, and try very hard to make sure to try to show them good plays, don't sit there and say this is wrong, this is wrong, this is wrong. Make sure we show them this is good, this is good, this is good. We can kind of build forward that way. I'm not trying to be the staff cheerleader, but I've been trying to make sure our guys again make sure they maintain a positive attitude and don't overcoach. At the end of the day did we make any improvement? If we did, good day. We need to keep making improvement and make sure we're putting the game plan together that gives us a chance to win. I think we've done a good job. I hope so. We've got some guys like (Mike) Ekeler and Kevin Johns, those are highly motivated, pretty positive guys in general. I don't necessarily look at things half empty or half full, I just look at it as it is. But I know this, it's not going to be better if we don't make it better mentally and our attitude as we approach it. You want your kids to have a great attitude. They won't have one if we don't. I've made a comment to a couple guys that I've been about as positive as I can be with them because we've got to be. With that being said, again we've got some things to play for, Homecoming, playing at home, Northwestern, four games remaining. We're not talking 2012. We're talking about what we've got to play for short term and what's in front of us. Give our seniors a chance to go out and keep building, the young guys building forward, but give the seniors a chance to go out as strong as they can, as good as they can, with as much energy and enthusiasm as we've got."