Head coach Kevin Wilson discussed the Iowa Hawkeyes this afternoon.
Oct. 30, 2012
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana head football coach Kevin Wilson met with the assembled media at his weekly Tuesday afternoon press conference. Co-defensive coordinator Doug Mallory and assistant offensive coordinator Kevin Johns also discussed Saturday's Iowa game.
Below is a partial transcript:
"Recapping Illinois real quick, of course it was nice that we got a win, but there are a lot of things that we need to clean up on. We had some good performances, but there are some things that we need to continue to polish if we're going to have a chance this week and down the stretch with these remaining four games in the league. Special teams, we got the big turnover (Greg Heban fumble recovery), which was huge. We got points off of that. It was a good punt by Erich (Toth), who's done a nice job of filling in for Mitchell Voss. He's been steady for us, so he did a really nice job there. (Mitch) Ewald has done really well in placements and kicks, but we did have the one kick out of bounds. We make a big play and we decided at halftime, and it wasn't a huge wind, but it was the difference between kicking out of the end zone or a short kick, being a little bit more aggressive with deep throws, maybe worry about the ball hanging up, so maybe it wasn't worth a possession, but it was worth thinking about what to do. We decided in the second half to kick off into the wind because we wanted, for the fourth quarter, we had a really nice high kick, had great coverage, defense got a stop, later we created a turnover and got some points, so I think we thought that was the best way to play it, but you have to execute. I think the kids did a great job, it started with Mitch's kick and the kick cover, so the kicking game was solid.
"Defensively, we made some strides. We did have 14 missed tackles. We have to play a little bit harder. Thought we had a few guys not playing quite at the energy that we've seen in the previous few weeks, so we didn't get off blocks and weren't as physical as we needed to be. We made some sacks and had some stops and still we need to keep pushing. Positives, we held them to 17 points. We did get the sacks, so we created a turnover on defense, one with special teams. They had the ball twice inside the 5-yard line and we hold them to three points, and at the end of the game they don't score, so a couple of red zone stops were good.
"Offensively, it was one of our worst performances. I think the Illinois defense going into it, they're a little bit more skilled and proficient than people give them credit for. Their front seven, particularly, was very good. Only 1-of-13 on third down is a little disappointing. We only had seven good plays and I don't think we were being very physical. We did have one good drive at the end of the fourth quarter, but the offense was pretty anemic all day. We didn't turn the ball over. We did score when we crossed the midfield. The fourth quarter drive was nice, but we need to be a lot cleaner. It was nice to see our defense come through. We're kind of picking it up, but again, we still haven't played a complete game yet. It was good to get a win.
"Performances, Greg Heban was our special teams player of the game and Adam Replogle was our defensive player of the game. Offensively, Stephen Houston and Nate Sudfeld (were our players of the game. The guys behind the scenes - Jake Reed, offensive line, playing center, and Anthony Davis, those names keep popping up and they did a great job on our scout team again, as did Ralph Green. We're ecstatic about him at defensive tackle as well as Garrett Welch, who's a walk-on DB from Noblesville .
"It was nice to win, but there's a lot to work on and we keep trying to talk to our guys. If we're building our team, we're going to get better down the stretch, every team does, that's good. It's nice to have a positive scoreboard, but there's a lot to improve on, there's a lot to build on, and now we can maybe be in a positive situation, but still try to keep building because we've got a long ways to go. We're going to keep pushing this week to have a better week and we'll need one to have a chance as we play against Iowa this Saturday."
On keeping the team grounded after the Illinois win:
"Our comments to them, again, our common theme. We're pushing them to improve daily and when we've had some shortcomings, we wanted them to keep coming, and now we've had a positive, but let's not look with rose-colored glasses. Let's look and see where our timing is off in the pass game, our protection can be better, perimeter blocking, backside reach blocking, missed tackles, getting off blocks. We created some plays, but we also missed some plays defensively, so that's been our thing. And again, I think we're getting some great leadership from Adam Replogle and Will Matte, Larry Black and those senior guys. Kofi Hughes and Stephen Houston, Mark Murphy and those guys. Greg Heban, picked up some slack, which is good too, but we need to keep building. If our kids are truly embracing our values, we've had two really nice days of practice, and we're off to a good start, and that's our theme of the year, keep getting better. I would expect us to get better this week and we'll need to because again, it's evident, if you go 1-of-13 (on third down), you're not going to perform well. You have 14 missed tackles. That's going to haunt you. They missed a couple shots and we had an opportunity to make a play or two, that they missed, so you don't want to rely on a team giving you the game. You need to keep pushing and working. We'll see as we go forward. That's our challenge."
On what makes Iowa a challenge:
"Coach Ferentz has had much success. Coach Fry got that thing going and Coach Ferentz has kept it going. They lost their last two, but they've lost to good teams. They lost to Iowa State, who's playing really well in the Big 12, their rival game early. Like we did, they kind of blew one at the end against Central Michigan, where they made a play or two, but they've lost two recent games against two good teams. It's a prideful team. They're tough. They're physical. They've had some injuries, but they're a program that overcomes that. It doesn't matter who their running back is, they're going to zone it up and get downhill and they always have a tremendous line. Defensively, same way. Their tape looks like it did when I was at Northwestern, 10 or 11 years ago, when they were building what became the 2002 championship team. Philosophically, they're sound and structured. A lot of things they do we're trying to emulate. Coach Ferentz is one of the better coaches in our profession and one of the better guys in the profession. His kids will have a great week and we need to learn to win at home. We need to learn to keep getting better, and this will be a challenge because this is a winning football program that we're playing and we're trying to become that. For us to put together a good week and go out and compete and see where we stack up against these guys will be a big challenge and we look forward to the challenge. I respect their program and what they do, and there's a lot of good ones in our league, but the program we're playing is one that I truly respect everything they do."
On taking it one game at a time:
"We've talked about that. It was pointed out today that we control our destiny, and I told our team if you haven't figured that out, you control that every day of your life. We all control our destiny and it's kind of nice that we can control making our day the best it can be and having a good week of practice. We've won a Big Ten football game and we need a better week and we need to play better to beat Iowa. As we build our team, that's what we're trying to do. It's constantly and consistently getting better every day, and that's the mindset we're trying to build with our guys, on the field, off the field, and in fact trying to change their outlook on life. How they look at the daily approach of being a college student, being a college athlete, and their developing into young men. The scenario to us is that we're a team that has not played very good. We're doing some things that you need to do to get better, and we're starting to do that more often on Saturdays. But we have pointed out that all of the really good teams get stronger and better down the stretch, and the really great competitors, the great individual players and the great teams get stronger as you go. I was worried, weeks ago, when we expelled a lot of energy and effort and we were physical, we were enthusiastic, and we put forth great energy in some games, could we repeat it? But I think with the standard that we set in practice, our guys have shown that we will repeat that. Last week wasn't quite as good as I've seen, and we're challenging our guys to pick it up this week because we need to play better. We keep it focused on one week, and we keep it focused really on one day and our whole program goal, the whole year, there's not one game red lettered. We're going to get better in every part of our program: the head coach, assistant coaches, video, training room, dietitian, players, scout teamers, kickoff, every guy getting better every day. That's been our motto. That's been our mojo. That's what we're emphasizing and we're slowly doing that."