Head coach Kevin Wilson talked about Saturday's Penn State game at his weekly press conference.
Nov. 13, 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 talked Saturday's visit to Penn State.
Below is a partial transcript:
"Quickly on Wisconsin, again we didn't play well. A lot of work to do there; continue to improve in all phases. We have to get our offense back on track, get our run game going. Kicking game, nothing glaringly good, nothing glaringly bad, but didn't make anything. Where we're at, we need to impact the game in kicking if we're going to win some Big Ten games, especially playing against a quality opponent. It wasn't a bad performance, but we need to make some money and we didn't. Defensively, we just got blocked, got worked. They did a nice job and we did not do a good job. I think we tabulated 410 yards on 14 plays, some missed tackles and some missed assignments got us. Wisconsin didn't do anything unusual. They had a new quarterback but kind of ran the stuff they've run. We just have to prepare and we have to play better. I thought we had a good week last week. The real deal is we have battled through some close games; we need to see what our resiliency, our leadership, what our toughness is and how far we've came. Can we come back? I didn't like our second half effort. First time I've said that. I thought we've continued to battle and we didn't battle like we need to and like the standard of what we're trying to build needs to be. We'll see if we can have a strong week and it is a great challenge going into Penn State. A team that's played very well, they've lost a couple, yes, but they've been on a great run and lost two games recently to two quality opponents. They're playing good football and it'll be a good challenge."
On what he does to make sure the team doesn't take a step back:
"Well, we've talked a little bit. I even told them after the game, for that being their last game on the home field for our seniors, a handful of those seniors have been really, really good. It's unfortunate we had a knee injury to Charles Love, got caught there, caught a ball at the end and got hit on the knee and he's got an ACL, so that basically ended his career as a senior. He's one of our five scholarship guys so that's unfortunate for Charles. We still have Ted (Bolser), we have Anthony Corsaro who's played for us and Paul Phillips who fell behind a little bit coming off an injury but he's back practicing. We mentioned him a couple weeks as scout player of the week. He was the week before. We'll still have some depth there and be okay, but it's unfortunate for Charles because he had battled off a knee injury last year, came back and was having some success for us as a complementary player to Ted and that was unfortunate. We did talk to the guys as seniors, you can say `okay, that last experience is maybe something I don't like,' but those guys have done a lot of things that we like. We just asked our guys are we strong enough to continue to be what we want to be and go back and keep building? We didn't point a bunch of fingers. I thought we had really good work last week. Apparently we didn't game plan well and we just didn't react to some situations. We really settled down and played a pretty good second quarter. The offense took a little time to get on track. I think defensively we held them to 11, 12, 13 yards until the kid (James White) popped that one run. As a matter of fact, they had two touchdown runs on third-and-11 and third-and-16. You'd like to think we're good and we're in a position to make that play, but unfortunately we just didn't shoot our gun, didn't make a tackle and that fast kid made a good play. That took the wind out of ourselves. The next quarter we've got them fourth-and-2, and we bust coverage and continue to drive it and now the game is 31-7. We're still going to play uphill, but I thought we settled down and had a chance to make it a solid Big Ten game. We were a little bit behind early, but going into halftime 17-7, I thought maybe we had weathered the storm, settled down and play ball, but then we didn't, it snowballed. I don't think we're back to what it was, but we'll see. I think this really is a pretty good week for us to see if we're mature enough, strong enough, have we made strides. We've been having a good attitude; we've had a good one so far. We had good practices last week. We just didn't execute and play well. I would love to see these men come back and respond to what our standard is. They have set the standard, we set it but they embrace it. Love to see these guys come back and have the week we need to have. If we're building our program, this is a good week to see what we've got. I'm looking forward to seeing it. It's going to be a tough challenge now. It's a good football team we're facing. It's a good place to go play. They're going to be in our division every year and we're going to play them every year and every other year we're going over there. We need to get used to playing Wisconsin and apparently we're not at that standard yet, but we have to keep pushing to get there, so we'll see what we've got."
On how much they focus on themselves vs. the other team each week:
"We do that every week, not to slight opponents, because you do have to know their tendencies, their formations, their tendencies of run-pass, their blitzes, their coverage, their coverage looks, so you talk about it, but to me, always, I think defenses have to be a little more concerned with the opponent because they change from week to week. A running quarterback spread attack vs. a traditional attack vs. a wishbone attack. Defensively, you probably spend a lot more. As an offensive coach, and in my mind I still spend a lot of time with that group and on that side, I worry a lot more about us and what we do in our execution. We're at a time of the year where you've seen a lot, you've seen most of it and the bulk of our scouting report Monday was we're playing a very good team, but the bulk was us and how do we respond, how do we practice, what's our leadership, what's our toughness, what's our competitive spirit? Do we fight and compete for four quarters, which needs to be our standard. We spent a great deal of talk on that. Not looking at what we did wrong, but looking at what we're going to do to improve and move forward. A lot about us."
On the offensive line's performance in the running game:
"At the same time, you throw it a boatload of times and don't get sacked. It takes 11 guys to block. A lot of times, the tight end is critical, back-side reach blocks, or front-side point of attack on a down scheme or a front-side sealing the edge. If you're running wide to a tight end he's got to seal the edge. If he's a man scheme, he's got to maintain the end. If you're running inside plays, those cut-off blocks by the back-side tackle and tight end are maybe more important than the front side. It's all the guys. Our line lacks a little bit of size, but it's a good group and it's battling and I actually think it's been reasonably pretty good. When you're not physically developed with age yet, when you can't just line up and mash folks, cause that's not our strength level yet. Tight end - same kind of deal. You're in a spread set and you don't have a true fullback. You lose the dynamic of a quarterback that runs because that's the extra blocker. That being said, some of our run game has to come a little bit off of the pass. Whether it be the runs with the bubbles, the short screen, the high percentage throws. The real deal is, we completed 25-of-46, and that's really not a high enough clip with the way we're doing things. Some of those are actually your runs. When you look at the numbers, we've got to get our run game going. It's always easy to slightly outnumber, have it one more edge player at safety. I'm not covering our line, they need to play better, but I think our line, with it's youth, and Will Matte does a great job as a leader, has been okay. At the same time, though, when you run the ball, you're a little bit better. It's just a little bit of our Achilles heel, with the personnel we have and with the injury and losing Tre (Roberson) and not having a couple walloping tight ends to seal the edge or a big old fullback to lead up in there all day. We're a little bit of a spread team that has to be a little more pass-oriented right now. It's not exactly what we want, but that's the cards we're dealt and that's how we've been playing them. Some weeks we've been playing it pretty well, but at the same time, we've got to find whether it be a good running game, we've got to find stress free plays that get drives on schedule. You can get three and four and five and six consistently without getting third-and-long. Get a couple first downs and get a drive moving. However you're doing that, no matter what the offense, that's what you're looking for every week to get you in rhythm. One of those plays to get you three, get you five, get you some nickels, get you some first downs and then get you rolling."
On whether quarterbacks need to stay calm and defense emotional during big games:
"You can be too calm at quarterback because you have to push to the edge. I think sometimes with Cam's (Coffman) demeanor, we're trying to bring Cam on a little bit where he's not too cautious. At the same time, we put the game in your hand. The game's called football and we put it in your hand. You can mess it up quicker than anyone else. We've got to not be foolish. I just thought we looked a little rushed. We showed several examples to our team offensively where you're just a little off. Spacing of routes, not different than in basketball, when you get cluttered up. We were our first three or four first downs, it was really just us, our timing, our spacing, we're a little bit off and then we're off the field. At the same time, when you don't have the run game going you're a little bit like an outside shooting basketball team where if your shots off a little bit you can be a little bit off, and we were a little bit off Saturday. That's credit to the opponent and it's also us learning how to, whether it be handling it into the wind, cause there was a smidge of wind, but there was at Illinois, very comparable. You've got to handle that element in the Big Ten every week. That's no excuse. We practice into the wind to get used to it. We practice outside every time we can unless it's just horrific. We've practiced in the rain this year outside so you're used to throwing it in the rain. We've practiced with the wind. The elements are just part of football and we're going to play a style of offense where I watch the (New England) Patriots and those kind of teams that throw it. You just have to learn how to manage and play that kind of game. I just thought we looked a little rushed and a little in a hurry instead of playing fast and quick, but not in a hurry. I thought we were a little out of whack. Why? I don't know. Maybe you have to learn that. It's always easy to be that way. It's easy to be in any game, just a little rushed, a little quick.
"Defensively, you do need the emotion you're talking about, at the same time you can do a bunch of jumping around, a bunch or rah-rah, it kind of wears off after a while. At the end of the game, it's still just the intensity, the competitiveness, the flying around and diving and getting off blocks and playing relentlessly. We didn't do that in the second half. You do need emotion as a football player, but you need to control it. You need to play with rage and it needs to be controlled. I think quarterbacks need to have that. I don't want the quarterbacks calm, but they need to play within themselves. Again, learning how to do that and we did not manage that game like we needed to. Was that because the game was big? I don't know. In our terms, we practiced like a normal week. We tried to not make it bigger than it was. We did get a little more media hype. At the same time, this is another media hype game to us. Maybe there's not as many things at stake, but you go into State College, it's a difficult place to play, it's a bunch of people, it's a tremendous program, it's a great football team, it's a team that we haven't beaten in years past and it's the next opportunity, the chance for this team to make a step. To make a step coming back off a poor performance. How do we come back and prepare, what's the process, do we embrace the process, do we go through that the right way? Do we go out and play as hard as we can? Do we make some plays and then see where the scoreboard tallies up to at the end and see where we stand? We're lucky to have a great opportunity this week and in the weeks to come."
On whether the history of Penn State and Indiana is something to play for:
"We're looking for things to play for. We're going to play this team every year. Historically, we have not played well, last year, this year we've been up and down, got a couple wins but still haven't played like we need to, so we're building. As we build our program, the deal is you want to compete against Wisconsin. They're in our division. Ohio State, they're in our division. We're going to cross over and play Michigan State. We're going to play Illinois. We're going to play Purdue. We're going to play Penn State every year. Our deal is to play and be competitive and win. As we build, we've got to build to play with this football team. Not to make the opponent bigger than it is, but we've got to keep building to get a win. We've gotten one road win. If you're going to be a winning program, you've got to learn to win on the road. If you're going to play in the Big Ten, you've got to learn to win in challenging road environments with big crowds that are loud in big stadiums. That's the beauty of playing in the Big Ten. If our guys didn't want to do that they should have taken a smaller offer and went somewhere else. Let's embrace the challenge. It's more about the challenge of just playing a great opponent that you're going to play every year than really talking about the history. It's really nice though that you can do something that hasn't been done, but at the same time it's about preparation, executing, and for us, it's about a positive response that came out of a poor performance. How do we come back?"
On how Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin has blossomed under Coach Bill O'Brien:
"One, he's played a lot, and two, Coach O'Brien and Coach (Charlie) Fisher just package a game and know what they're doing. They know how to run the ball and protect the quarterback and throw the screens and the bootleg, the bootleg game and good mix. I really enjoy watching their offense, their play calling and the rhythm that they play with offensively. I think they've done a tremendous job, but the quarterback is the guy that makes it all go and Matt has played outstanding, played very well, very much within himself. That's a credit to not just coaching, because the young man has to embrace it and do it. It's one thing to say a guy is doing a great job and not know he has great coaches, because I know they've got great coaches there because I know those guys, but it's also a credit to the young man because he's got to go do it. It's his credit and his work and his leadership and his poise, his play-making ability. I think he's done an awesome job. I think he's a heck of a player."
On how this offense fits Penn State so well:
"There's some unusual dynamics with the transition going on, but they've still got the big offensive line, veteran group, the right end play has been awesome, they've been able to replace the running back they lost with kids that run hard and they've been running the ball well. They're going to have some balance in what they do. They have some tempo in what they do to get you on your heels. When you watch them, they move the pocket, which takes stress off the line. They use the screen game very well, which takes stress off the line. They maximum protect and take deep shots and back the secondary up. They piece an offense together in a very good way. It's a credit to all their pieces, too. They have one of the leading receivers in the league. They've got a couple tight ends, I guess one of them might be injured now, but their tight ends I think at one point in time had more catches than any tight end group in the country. They use that position well. To me, they move their parts around, they're well coached. It's not just a great scheme, it's how it's put together. A lot of people run the same plays. I think it's been one of our problems offensively, credit to the defenses that we've played, but I think as we've run our offense we've gotten into running plays and we haven't gotten into rhythm. We haven't gotten things going where we've evolved during a drive to get a defense on it's heels and to stick a run and move a pocket and take shots and do those things. Competing against these guys is going to be a tremendous challenge for our defense. As coaches, we watch tape because I always watch a lot of the opponent's defense, you're watching offenses go against that. I really enjoy the Penn State offense and I always have. Watching Coach O'Brien, I would always record Patriot games and record Colts games to watch Peyton Manning play. You record games and watch good teams, watch good players. You look at them in the offseason. It's just how it's all pieced together and how you do things, where you put your players in good position, it's fun to watch. It'll be a good challenge for our defense."
On what he sees in the Penn State defense:
"They're solid, big front, very good defensive linemen. Their two outside linebackers (Gerald) Hodges and Mike Mauti are special. I love the passion that Mauti plays with. He's outstanding. We've been paying okay prior to last week. We were playing okay with the offense still not playing like it needs to. We need to get our offense back in gear and this is going to be a tough challenge. On the road, communication is always an issue in a big arena. It's really the first time we've played in a big crowd. We've gone to UMass, but there weren't a lot of people. We played at Navy and Illinois, Northwestern, the crowds were in the 40 range. I guess it might be Fall Break or Thanksgiving Break, but still that place is going to get loud. The quarterbacks ability to communicate, hear your snap counts, work your silent counts, all that adds to the stress of the offense. With all that said, you're playing one really, really good defense. We're also playing an offense that's very capable of scoring points, but like we said when we first got in here this season, we need very good quarterback play and we need to be an offense that scores points in order to have a chance to win. Our defense has gotten better. We did not have a good second half, it snowballed, we settled down, played pretty good until they popped the play. We had a snowball defensive performance. We'll see if we can flush that out. We'll see if we can come back and play like we're capable of playing defensively. At the end of the day, with the kicking game and with the offense, we've got to find points to win on the road, win Big Ten games, have any chance against Penn State. That's going to be a tremendous challenge because they're well coached, good players, but you're not going to score seven or 10 or 14 points and win an old fashioned Big Ten game. That's not our style and it's not the style they play, so it's going to be a challenge. I thought that the last few weeks against Iowa, even Illinois, I thought their defensive front was going to give us some problems. Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, building to this game. We've had defenses that have had our offense not playing like it needs to play. It's a credit to those defenses. We need our offensive kids to respond. I really think our offense really needs to respond as well as our defense because if we have any chance this week on the road we need to come back and play at a high level. We have not been playing that. We'll see where we can go with that. It'll be a tough challenge. It'll be a lot of fun."