Kevin Wilson Press Conference Part I

Kevin Wilson looks back on the Indiana State game and ahead to Navy in this first installment of Kevin Wilson's weekly press conference.

a variety of topics from last week's Indiana State game to the upcoming game with Navy this Saturday.

Here are some highlights of what he had to say:

On Indiana State

"Going back to Indiana State, again looking at it, I thought we played really, really hard, which was really one of our main objectives going in, our goals. I thought our effort playing reasonably physical, can always get better, but we didn't want to question that and I didn't question that at all. And in all phases and by a lot of guys, I thought our effort was pretty solid and something we want to build on. That comes from the way we practice, it comes from several years of building on that and continuing to get stronger and not just in the weight room but stronger in effort and practice habits and competition. It's a nice positive we have right now as we're trying to build and keep moving these guys forward this year and years to come.

"Concern areas: We had three turnovers in the game, two gave them 14 points, an immediate 14 points without our defense being on the field. Plus we had the ball on the ground a couple times, center quarterback exchange. One time Tevin just got it loose but got it back. D'Angelo had it out one time on the sideline where it got it knocked out. You might not have even seen it, but it got knocked out, so that's got to improve. Last year it was game 10 before we lost a fumble, and we lose one in the first game and it's unacceptable and not what we stand behind. That's not talk, so we've got to work on that.

"We had 17 missed tackles. You're always going to miss maybe a few, but that's a little bit more than we want and it's probably less than it's been, but it's more than we want. We did have some miscommunication with our defense, just getting calls and getting guys lined up. If we can continue to communicate better and get our alignments better and tackle better, the defense will continue to improve, and it's got a chance to be better but we've got to clean those areas up.

"We had some kicking errors, we had that turnover before the half which was huge. We had a miscommunication one time on a short punt where we almost had another turnover, where our returner didn't do a go job getting people out of the way. Had two penalties on the kickoff team that let them start on the 40 a kick went out of bounds and a 15 yard penalty and you can't play with short fields, especially this week but in all weeks.

"Positives: We had 78 guys play in the game by our count. A lot of young guys, a lot of guys, walk on dudes that don't get a lot of chances, and it's great for those guys because our walk on program is veteran guys. You don't see our scout teams are awesome. To get those guys on the field is awesome. We did create two turnovers. We'd like to find a few more if we can. I think we had 10 plus three and outs not counting the turnovers. We go three and out, have a long drive, and then I think we go three and out, three and out, one play turnover, three and out, four play turnover, three and out. We got on a good run until that blotch before the half, and it was really pretty good until they worked us in the fourth quarter. Other than their second drive and then the scramble blotch fourth quarter drive, our defense was pretty solid.

"I thought our third down defense was really good. They only converted 19 percent on 3rd down, which was good, and that was because our first down and second down was good. There wasn't a lot of third and 1s. You play Navy, you're going to get a bunch of third and 1s and 2s, because they just run their option and play action game, get short down and distance deals, which work in your favor.

On Players of the Game

"We had Sudfeld and Coleman on offense. Both played well. Not surprised; good players. I think Nate right now has got the highest passer rating in the country, and Tre's is higher than his. He didn't have enough passes to be rated. Both those guys played very, very well. We gave it to Nate, but Tre had three touchdowns, wasn't a bad deal. Defensively Mangieri, who's had an awesome camp, very active, he's going to have a good year for us, keeps coming on. He's a good young player. T.J. Simmons first start, leading tackler, really played well, looks like a vet, good future for him. Greg Heban as rock solid on the back end. Special teams: I awarded four guys, Ewald, except for the one kickoff, I didn't like that, but 10 extra points, 10 for 10, 1 for 1 on the field goals, six touchbacks. I think he's one of the better kickers in this league. Like I say, we keep it up, he'll break the point record here for kickers or be close to it. Shane Wynn with the big return. I think Shane is one of the few players in the country now to score more than two ways. He's got a kick return, punt return. He's a dynamic player. He had three touchdowns. Teddy Bolser and Cody Latimer were awesome on special team coverage. Both those guys are tremendous players and they score a touchdown and then you watch Bolser, he's the first guy down covering a kick after you score a touchdown. That's what you want. That's great to see.

"Scout team players of the week. Andrew Wilson. You saw him come out and play well. He's a young, solid player for us. Billy Ivan, who's an old vet, doesn't play much. He's giving you a great look on the scout team. That's what winning teams do. Here's a fourth year guy who wants to be starting. That's a quality job. Jordan Wallace, same deal. Here's a guy, into year two and didn't play as much as he wants, but he's your scout team player of the week because he's giving you a great go. And Garrett Libertowski, so those guys did an awesome job. Like I said, our scout awards are awesome.

On health issues

" I think we came out of the game pretty good. We'll have Wynn I think going full go Tuesday. He was a little limited last night, getting close to getting Eckert back, Ryan Thompson practiced. We'll see where we are. We're close with Alex Todd to getting him in the mix, and I think we're close with Cormier. I think we're more healthy than we were a week ago, which is a good deal moving forward into Navy. Anticipate having a lot of guys going as we go through this week. Now, if their reps get limited and they don't practice a lot on Tuesday and Wednesday, probably won't see them, but I anticipate the way they look and the way they're coming along, unless there's a hiccup along the way we'll be good.''

First thoughts on Navy

"Going into Navy, we're their opener. It's a team, of course, we played them last year. We've got a decent feel for them. I'm sure they've got a good feel for us and probably a better feel than we do because they've seen us play. As usual when you start with someone's opener there are new wrinkles. I know we're a game they've been looking forward to, they want to get off to a good start. You look at their schedule, they put a lot of emphasis in coming out and playing well. A lot of guys back on their team, a lot of starters from the bowl team. I think they've been to bowls nine in the last 10 years. They won the Commander in Chief trophy eight of the last 10, so it's a quality team, winning team. Again, they're very, very well coached. Coach Ken, shoot, he's been there for what, 16 years, and I think he'll say this is maybe their most talented team with all the guys coming back and their success the way they recruited. It's going to be a big challenge for us.

"We talk a lot about the option. You guys know that's the real deal about the option is it's just a different style of game. Last week we had 18 possessions counting Shane's kickoff return. We had 18 possessions going into the fourth quarter. Last year against Navy we had 10 for the game. You'll get eight, nine, 10, 11, if you get more than 12, either they're scoring fast or you're playing good D and they've turned it over. It's a short game. And what that does, that minimizes your opportunities so your errors are more exposed and more critical because it's like at bats; you're not going to get as many swings, so you've got to be pretty productive in what you're doing. They're led by the quarterback Keenan Reynolds, who's awesome. You look at last year, he comes in I know before we played them, the quarterback, the starter gets injured and he wins the Air Force game on the road. The way he battled for them at Army, brings them from behind. Those are the games of the year for those two teams that are games of life for those men over there. For a freshman he's very calm. I think he throws the ball better than most option guys. Very smart, coach's kid, quality, quality player.

"Their fullback's returning, almost a 1,000 yard rusher. I think they think they might have someone better than him if you can believe the write ups. And of course they lost a couple good slot players, but they're going to get the ball on the perimeter, cut you down with their speed sweeps, lull you to sleep, shots over the top, a tremendous offense led by a great quarterback.

"Defensively very sound, a three man front, a lot of bend but not break style, four across and two deep structures, not blitzing a lot, playing guys on the edges, making it hard to get around them, trying to outnumber you, but at the same time not giving up big plays over the top. They're very, very strong. If you look at their numbers you might not think they're impressive until you look at their 3rd down defense and their red zone defense because they will get you on schedule and get you stopped, and you might move the ball on them but they don't yield a lot of points and then you don't get a lot of drive opportunities. You put that together with their punter, who's an awesome punter, and the way they play the offense, and that's why they've been in bowl games nine of the last 10 years. They're a tremendous program.

Final thoughts about last week

"We talked about getting better. It's a good start. I thought we played hard. I want to build on that because I think you gain physicalness and effort and momentum as you go through the year. I thought last night we had a really good go. It was crisp, it was sharp, we did some good on good for some speed and to get some hitting and some thumping. It wasn't a scrimmage but it looked and sounded and felt like good team the way you want to work it.

"But it's a big week for us. We need to step up and we need everything around here to step up, whether it be in our building or as coaches. We had two No. 40s on the field the first time we kick off. That's an error on me and our staff. We've got to look at where we're putting players. We've got a guy doing a job; is that a job he can do? And keep putting our kids in good positions and coaching better. What we're doing in our nutrition, rehab, what we're doing in managing the game and getting the crowd more excited, what we're doing as fans. This is a big week. We've got four non conference in a row at home, we've got eight at home, we need to be better across the board as a team. We need everyone associated with the game to be better.

"I loved this week. I thought our student body last week was awesome. That game started, they filled it up to the top as far as I've seen. I know it was a school night, but this week with a 6:00 game, we ought to get a great deal more tailgate atmosphere pregame when we do The Walk and get some energy and get the band and the cheerleaders cranking. We need to play well, but we need it exciting. This is a no huddle team. They're a no huddle team we're playing, and the louder our crowd can be and the more energy we can create to make that a challenge will be very, very positive for us. It's a big week and want to see us get better in all phases.

NOTE: There will be a second installment of this press conference transcript later with questions asked to Wilson by the media.

Follow Terry Hutchens at Top Stories