#iufb Weekly Press Conference - Nov. 18, 2013
Nov. 18, 2013
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana Football started off Ohio State Week by hosting its weekly press conference on Monday, taking questions from the assembled media. Head coach Kevin Wilson, offensive coordinator Seth Littrell and defensive coordinator Doug Mallory discussed the latest in the world of Hoosier Football.
Head Coach Kevin Wilson
A complete transcript from Coach Wilson can be viewed below.
Offensive Coordinator Seth Littrell
Defensive Coordinator Doug Mallory
COACH WILSON: Good game. Offensively, we had no one play as poor as we played, not this year, but in several years. We didn't handle the elements, didn't handle the road, didn't handle their defense very well. They played very, very well. But we were off and didn't run it and didn't connect in the passing game.
Defensively, now we gave up some big plays and called on some guys to be recognized, Clyde Newton, second game he started as a true freshman, had 14 tackles, then Ralph Green up front was the most productive he's been. Redshirt freshman. Those guys did pretty well. As a matter of fact, Darius Latham played well. He didn't get a championship grade for a couple of mental errors. He's a young guy, still busting, but getting some good play out of the young guys there.
So Clyde, 14 hits in the second start. Two weeks in a row leading tackler in his first two starts. Some things to build on with him. We have to keep building a lot of other guys around him. Special teams, our kick units have been pretty good. Erich Toth was recognized for special teams player of the game. We had two punts inside the 20, two inside the 10. Handled the wind pretty well. Thought he did a nice job. Kenny Mullen, on a couple of our teams really stood out in coverage and effort. Those are special team players.
Again, tough game, they played well. Kicking was okay. Again, offense way out of whack. Didn't handle the elements, the weather, the defense. They played very, very well. Didn't run it in the games that we've been on the wrong end of the ledger, the running game has been missing. The games we've played very, very well, we've had run game. Then the opposite, we've had four victories and played solid run defense. And the six games we've lost, our run defense has not shown up at all.
Tough challenge this week with Ohio State, who is very, very good in spread with skill, good line. Basically a two back system. Braxton Miller is a quarterback, but he is a tremendous runner and can beat you with his arm with some great guys with a great challenge for defenses. Defensively a couple teams have given up some points. But just like us last year, we scored some points, but we scored them late. It's kind of catching up, and kind of skews the score because they're up 24 points going into the fourth quarter.
Same thing last week. Couple points away and whatnot, so they're playing good. Great challenge, again, coming off one of our poorest performances to date.
Another announcement I'll make. Ted Bolser has been recognized as one of eight semifinalists for the Mackey Award.
Q. How long do you think it's going to take to build a defense that you can win consistently with?
COACH WILSON: The other day we're playing up there with some guys that we have five true freshmen in the front seven. Actually, the true freshmen, we had more because Oliver was playing Sam backer instead of Mike. We also had Funderburk on Thursday in practice running and playing and threw out a disc in his back. So he has a surgery disc. We keep getting some little nicks.
But what it is is an opportunity. Again, for some of the young guys, Forisse Hardin got hurt, and Clyde Newton stepped up. So for those young guys, that's a great question you're asking, the young guys get into deep water. I think our offense did that a couple years ago. It was very anemic. With that took some growing pains and took off, you'd like to think that playing with Kenney and those guys a lot more, and big Ralph is a red shirt freshman, Nick Mangieri and Zack Shaw are second year players as well. The three linebackers we're playing are freshmen. We've just got to get the back end shored up.
The loss of Antonio Allen I think hurts his development as well as our team. He's a young guy. I'm seeing nice things out of Chase Dutra and Kris Smith. I like a lot of the young guys. But we're going to work hard in the off season with just lifting and running, and what can we do to everyone always says you can develop offense quicker than defense and I'm not an offensive coach, I guess, but I don't know.
I thought there were a couple positions on offense that were kind of hard to play. Playing a true freshman quarterback, playing a left tackle, those are hard positions to play. And we played some true freshmen out there. So some of it is talent. But I think some of it, outside of our recruiting, what are we doing to develop? Because even though we want the recruiting to continue to pick up, and I think it has, we're always left to develop our players.
So I'm going to look really hard at what we're doing in lifting, running, change of direction. What are we doing with a culture and attitude of our building to play better defense? Then we'll look at personnel and schemes and coaching and all those kind of deals.
But to me it's my problem. It's my fault because I am the head coach. As we're sitting here playing in year three it comes down to an offensive minded guy, we have five coaches on defense and we trust them to do their job. I'm part of the offensive staff, which a lot of guys are like that. But when you're head coach, you're in charge of everything, and we've got to make some strides.
I'm looking very hard I'm not talking practice, organization. What are we doing from attitude, cultural standpoint. Because with a bunch of young guys that we have, I think we're only playing one senior. It should get better, and it needs to get better, and it's my job to make sure it's got to get better.
Q. Do you have any idea why historically, really you have to go back to the Bill Mallory era, why historically Indiana has always seemed to have had such a hard time whether it's recruiting to defense or just playing defense?
COACH WILSON: Well, I do think it is a little harder to find. There are not as many of those guys. For example, we took 14 guys on defense last year? The year before that we took 13. The majority of our classes in recruiting have been defensive in the last couple of years. But I do think most coaches, if you're recruiting and it came down to A or B at the end of your class, there are three spots left. If it's a really good defensive player or really good offensive player, unless it's a dynamic quarterback or tailback, you're probably always taking defensive guys. The haves probably take a few more of those better players that you'd love to trickle to you. I don't think there is many.
I think the teams that play good get better. That's why I've got to look at our development. What are we doing offensively? Sometimes we talk about it, no huddle, spread offense, what we do to compliment it. I do think if you look at numbers, you can't compare numbers to date defensively to 20 years ago. It's just a different day.
So the numbers and points are going to be more stats. You go back and say 1993 the average was this. I mean, we were third in the nation averaging what we average right now in 2000, and scoring on the offense. Now it gets you about 15th, 20th, something like that. So the numbers are skewed.
But the game is being played in space, and, again, my deal is we'll keep recruiting them. We'll keep trying to emphasize, but I've also got to look at player development and program development because we've developed one side. Maybe that side's easier. I don't know. I'm not saying it's not. I know that's my "background", but when you're the head guy, like our kicking has gotten better. That's not my background. We've made some strides kicking. And we've got guys covering kicks and it's a defensive play, and we're really good in kick coverage and not bad in punt coverage. So there are things we've gotten better at. We've just got to keep making strides.
With two weeks to go, chance for a bowl opportunity with two weeks, our goal is always constant improvement. I just met with our leaders, seniors. I need their best two weeks. We need to finish these two weeks the best we can. Get better offense from a week ago. Got a great challenge this week, and we have to bring every phase of our defense along.
Q. With that bowl eligibility, to pick up the last two wins, you need to win the last two games, do you talk about them about that sense of urgency or do you prepare any different because these are must win games for you?
COACH WILSON: We have to prepare slightly different because it's the end of the year and fatigue and injury. At the same time, when we rush the ball we have a physical presence and play run defense, we're better. It's a double edged sword. We'll do some things a little different because of wear and tear. There are certain things we have to emphasize. We have talked.
The comment is Ohio State is undefeated. Tremendous team. You don't have a chance. You're not a bowl team. Then the thought was if you win this one, no, you've got to win both. So nothing is for granted. Nothing is, in short, good or bad. It's the best week. Go play as hard as we can, as best we can, and see if we can be competitive this week and get us on the right side. Then from there, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday of next week.
These guys have a lot of respect for how far some of these seniors and what they've gone through and where we're at. They're giving us a good go. We're not going to get sloppy and go back acting like we were. We're going to keep building because we have. We're going to build these last two weeks, so great challenge.
The urgency is we've got to keep getting better more than we've got to get this win to be a bowl team. We've got to beat Ohio State. Great team, undefeated team. No, we've got to get better. That's been the message last night and earlier today, which is our consistent message.
Q. When you talk about defense, you mentioned coaching. I'm just interested where you're going with it.
COACH WILSON: To me, I evaluate everything. First of all, I'm going to start with me. If there's a problem with the defense, there is a problem with me. If there's a problem with recruiting, there is a problem with me. If there is a problem with the social behavior on the team, there is a problem with me, so I set the standard for it. My deal is we have not created the standard we need there.
So I'll start with myself. Then we'll look at staff, we'll keep looking at recruiting and player development. But the real deal is we're going through this week, get one day better, have a good week, go after Ohio State Saturday. Do the same thing the following week, and we'll build from there and see.
Q. What are the chances that Tevin comes back?
COACH WILSON: Just saw him down there. He's still got soreness it's going to be a stretch to get him back and get him going full speed. I know he's working awfully hard. I know our medical staff is doing a whole lot with him. But I think it's a smidge of a stretch, we'll see. He has the opportunity, but I know he's working hard. He's had a pretty good year and he wants to get back out there.
But Stephen had one critical error with the fumble. And D'Angelo came in and played okay, and we need those guys to play strong for us.
Q. Where were they with the error with those fumbles? Was it the center, a slick ball? What was it?
COACH WILSON: A little of both. Two of the snaps, and we have Wes at center, and his snap has a little bit of velocity, and he just snapped it real hard and maybe a little fastball and our quarterbacks didn't handle it well. Then we had an exchange issue for handing it off. Our tailback didn't get the hand off.
Q. I know you had a long relationship with Coach Meyer. Where do you see similarities between the offense you guys run?
COACH WILSON: Again, they're playing with a quarterback. We have two different ones we play. Their guy is always a running threat. Nate's not as big of a run threat for us. I think Braxton is a tremendous runner for a quarterback. Now a lot of guys say the guy can't throw. I mean, his passing percentage is 68%, which is a better passing percentage than us. I think they're going to run the ball a little bit more optionally than we are because of the running threat at quarterback. But I think they've really involved their passing game and taken shots on the field, and some percentage play and really good players. It's a very good offensive line. It could be a spread technique like I think most teams are. Even though it's spread, there is no huddle.
There is a physical presence, and I think that's a sign of really good teams. When we've had that on our team, we've been a good offense and played better defense. We haven't had our physical presence and played the run well. We struggled. So the way they do it, they've got to get a run threat. Going out in space, fast guys, and they've got to deliver the mail pretty good. So it's a very good offense.
Q. Can you talk about the offensive line being physical, in terms of your line, any update on injuries and where you guys are personnel wise?
COACH WILSON: Jake Bailey just fell in to on the inside period on Wednesday. Just basically chipped a bone in his knee. So he's manageable to try to get back out. Think he'll practice some this week. We'll see. I think Collin Rahrig was dressing last week and in practice Thursday. We didn't think he was quite full tilt. I'm anticipating him back in the mix this week.
We'll see about Jake Bailey, and we've got to get Jake Reed back in there. He's coming back off his ankle full speed. Cody Evers came in and was actually our fourth right guard that we've played. Actually fifth, if you count Jake Reed having played over there. But we need Jake Reed back in the mix. Nice to have Collin back in the mix. I think Wes is doing okay. So, yeah a little nicked up there.
Q. Can you talk about Darius Latham a little bit. What have you seen from him this year? Where does he need to be? Where does he need to go?
COACH WILSON: Well, you're playing different positions. Out in high school, he played D line. Once he gets on the edge, basketball skilled kid, so you're kind of playing in there now with a little more combative in that tight box where you can double team both ways. Whether it be this guy coming this way, a guy coming this way. So it's very competitive. Takes a very mature person to play there and we look up and see what's going on and get on skates and get out as a young player. He's learning how to play harder, learning how to play lower, learning how to play with his hands. Learning how to trust the call and stay in his gap. We had a couple of busts the other day where those guys once in a while think there is something going on they should peek over here and get out of the gap and there goes the running back because we don't cancel the gap out.
So he's doing well the more he plays. We said a few weeks ago that we're struggling on defense. One of the best things to do is just to play with those young guys and throw them out in deep water, and let them try to swim the best they can. The more they do it, the more they get their head above water. We've had some issues with it, but with him and David Kenney and those young backers, whether we play with them or play through some of the stuff, the better they're going to be, the better we're going to be.
Q. You talked last week about it being an opportunity in the sense of even though about every game is on TV now, that was an ESPN2 game. This is an ABC game, a 3:30 ABC. Does that add a little element of urgency in terms of what you want to show people on national TV this Saturday?
COACH WILSON: Well, we've talked about that. But they have a chance to be sometimes to me, it's a credit to the opponents too now because sometimes you're playing and I do think again, we've made some strides. We've talked to the guys in a positive way. You come to the Big Ten, you want to play in big games. You want to get notoriety. You're getting some clips on ESPN, you're getting some plays of the week, notoriety. This is why you're here. This is why you work. This is what you want. You want this.
So, to me, it's a tremendous challenge and a great team. But I'm excited we have an opportunity to play this game on ABC and ESPN2 the rest of the country. I guess it's ABC in our Big Ten region. That's good for our program because it's going to help us in recruiting. Now we need to go out and perform and not play like we did last Saturday because that's not what you need.
Q. What was your team's mindset after the blowout loss? What was the mindset? Did you like the energy of the team?
COACH WILSON: Well, we hadn't been doing a great deal. We did a little bit more last night not for punishment, but get some energy and get bounce back into our step and flush the funk out of that performance of that trip. So we didn't go out and do a bunch of things like you played bad and here's your penance or punishment.
It's Sunday of the Ohio State week. Let's go out and get some good stances, not be overly combative. Let's get moving around and get some energy going. So we expressed that to the guys. I thought we had a pretty good go at it. I think each group was different in how they wanted to address the game.
Did they want to go through and have some things that they need to address, or did they want to move on and start talking Ohio State? You've played now 10 games, so cover three is cover three. A hitch route is a hitch route, a zone play is a zone play, so do you want to rehash that play and be negative, negative, negative, it's not right. Some things need to be coached and corrected, and sometimes it needs to be flushed and moved on.
So I think every position was a little different. Each side of the ball was a little different and how each coach demands on his guys. I thought the practice was okay.
Q. You mentioned the offense struggled with the elements. Obviously any passing offense is going to struggle with the rain, but is that something that can be overcome with scheme?
COACH WILSON: I don't know. The week before it was pretty windy out here against Illinois, and then you go to Michigan and it was sleeting or hailing there in the warm ups. It was raining. We were playing Penn State out here. So we went out there a couple times and practiced. Hey, offense go outside into it.
If it's a really bad day, we're going to have a miserable practice, we won't practice in slop. But sometimes we'll practice throwing into the wind. You want to hit your balls into the wind to maximize. So you want to stress yourself out in practice. I was really kind of surprised we didn't play as clean. Even though it was a little tough and there were certain parts of the game that were tougher. But at the same time the really tough thing was Wisconsin.
So they're going to be the top 10, 12 teams in the defensive stats. It was a good team. They got off blocks and we didn't stay on. We were a little bit off. The weather is a part of it. We were moving forward like I told the offense beforehand. Texas Tech is where a lot of our passing comes through, and they would take a 20 mile an hour wind every day in Lubbock and think it was balmy.
You learn how to practice in it and play in it. When you're going to play in the Big Ten, some teams in the past, Drew Brees was pretty good at Purdue. Northwestern was pretty good in the plains up here. I think can you throw the ball well. I'm not going to use that I'm just surprised we didn't handle it better.
Disappointed because we've been in that situation. We've played some pretty good teams. That's why you've got to give credit to Wisconsin because that wasn't a weather game and they kicked up field. This week it will be the opponent. We're both playing on the same field so we've got to handle it. To me that would be a copout. We've handled it in games. We've handled it the week before okay on a pretty windy day with the rain, wind. We've handled it in practice. We're better than that. We missed the shots and some plays and we've got to make those.
Q. Was there anything else that stood out to you as to why when you watched film?
COACH WILSON: They were just off. There were a couple snaps with Wes throwing the fastball, but you have to catch the ball. You want to get it out quick and throw into coverage before you catch it. Timing of some throws. I mean, the first pick he's throwing a wet ball into the wind. It's actually open for a touchdown if you can throw the proper throw because we beat him on post that we had two plays early.
We had two open posts and a touchdown on the first drive. Yeah, we're going into the wind. But the thing we did the week before going into the wind, we didn't go down the field. We thought Illinois was sitting on us. So we said we're going to take some shots into it. That one just held up on Nate, and that happens once in a while.
Q. Your team is 43% on fourth down. It seems the movement in college and pro football is to be more aggressive on fourth down. How much beforehand are you saying it's four down territory?
COACH WILSON: I said it the whole game. When it's first and 10, you're in four down territory. We were in four down territory on the 1 yard line and we jumped off side. It was 3rd and 6 on the 6 and we didn't get it. Then we kicked the field goal. That was going to be a manageable four down and we were down points. We were in the four down territory in the fourth quarter and Tre took a loss of five. Now it's 4th and 12.
But Seth knows on 1st and 10. I'm telling Doug. I'm thinking like them. They're in four down territory right now. He's going four downs right now. I guarantee it. I'm not him, but that's how my mind's wired.
So we know going through the game when to go for it. You've got to be smart with it. Sometimes again when we get in some defensive stops offensively. That 40 something percent ought to be higher. Our offense is better than that. It's a little lower than you want. A couple of those, one at the end of the game, some of the stats are skewed, we're taking a knee at the end of the game, so a couple of times that's out of whack. But I'm communicating that all the way through.
Because to me I didn't like the play call when it was 3rd and 8, and I did a stressful protection, and we had to block a bunch of twists and blitzes and we threw a dig route and we didn't get it. And coach said go for it on fourth. And I thought, golly, I might have thrown a slant pass or screen or run because you've got fourth down in your back pocket.
I'm not calling out teams plays, but I'm talking with the defense saying my opinion, based on the field goal kicker you're in four down territory right now. I'm not them, but I'm thinking like them. I know for Seth I'm saying right away, when it's 1st and 10 you have four downs. That changes your first down, second down, and third down call.
Now if we get a holding penalty or something negative happens, then we adjust and that's how we do that. And I do think again, there is merit, not just with our team but the way things are going, it's all calculated gambles. You make the play, it's a good call. You miss it, it's a bad one. We lose the Illinois game and Tre makes a play on his own, we don't lose that game.
Everybody's saying how could he go for it there? Defense had to stop them. Offense didn't make the play. You make the play nobody talks about the call. You miss it and everybody says how can you be so but we need to make that play there. We had momentum, we scored. Is that why we won the game? No, but that's a nice part of the momentum.
But I think as an offensive coach, if I'm going for fourth down, they know it well before fourth down and we trump out of it. Like right before the half, what is the situation before the half? We don't want to put the punt team out there. So sometimes we're being aggressive, but you're picking your spots. Where our team is, we have to be aggressive, but if we hang our defense out to dry, that can hurt us really bad when we're picking our spots.
Q. You had brought up the delay, is it just a matter of you're trying for that perfect play? You're trying to think of that and you kind of lose track of it?
COACH WILSON: On that instance we ran a play twice. We ran into a no play call. We substituted quarterbacks. So when we substitute quarterbacks, they stand over the ball, so you lose ten, 12 seconds. But the fact that is interesting, now the substitution, when you substitute, the referee's supposed to stand over the ball. Anybody see that in the Northwestern Michigan game when the field goal team came on the field and no one caught that one? That was an amazing play too now, an amazing play.
But when you substitute, you lose it. Then you do a no play call to see what they're in. Then it's loud. He's telling everybody the play individually. I thought he was going to get it off. I think he looked up and there was time because I almost ran down with about five. He was telling them if he comes back and goes, boom, we can get it off. He lost track of time, and we just lost it by a second.
Q. Is that just a matter of you having to judge when to step in on that?
COACH WILSON: Correct. I thought looking at it live, he could have gotten it off. I think Tre just lost track. Again, it's also dynamics with a no play call. He's telling six guys it's this play, this play, this play because he's going down the line and he just lost track. I'm looking at it saying he's got it. He came back and wastes a second. Okay, where is it? And we got burned.
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