Here is Part II of Kevin Wilson's press conference from Monday Sept. 9, 2013 with questions from the media and Wilson's answers. This is the press conference leading up to Saturday's game with Bowling Green at Memorial Stadium.
The defensive concepts against Navy are completely different than against everybody else. How do you get these guys defensively to bounce back and put the struggles they had against Navy behind them because they're not going to face that again?
"Well, we talked a little bit about that our first two games. We've played two opponents. You're really not sure what you're seeing. Even though Navy is a triple, there's talk about they're going to spread it out more, so there's a lot of time on task of uncertainty. First game against Indiana State, new coaches, new coordinators, the head coach calling the plays, where they're from, same thing, defensively in those games.
" Now we've got two games with an opponent with established staffs, so I think prep wise coaches will be a little bit more, quote, maybe not wasting time because of the uncertainty. Sometimes you can almost over coach and over prepare when you're uncertain what you're getting.
" That'll help. We talked last night, again we practice now on Sundays. This morning was an academic day for our guys and they're off to class, so we came in and watched the tape. And from a defensive side I think we really just watched a couple situations where you had stops and make a play to get them off the field more than how to defend that concept of how we were trying to defend the option.
" What were the errors of defending the option versus the flow of the game, and when you get a chance you've got them on schedule and we got a chance to make a tackle at the first and again, knock them back. We've got to fit it up properly, some of those things.
" I think the learning is learning from the game situations, and the frustrating thing in playing the opponents you've played is you spend a lot of time prepping it and it's different prep. Now you've kind of got to go back to what you're doing, so it's restarting it up. That's why we had a little practice last night. That's our routine this year. I think we'll be back focused. We're going to play a very dynamic offense in BG, 220 running 260 passing, two good wins, two good teams. It'll be a good challenge for our guys, so we'll see what we're about. ''
You mentioned that you felt like the prep was getting a little bit casual.
"Well, we had a pregame meal Friday night, and it was so loud I told guys to quiet down a little bit. I walked into the chapel at 1:40, and it's like I just didn't think I don't think you've got to sit there and beat your head on them. I could sit up here and imitate Coach Knight's game face. I don't know if I buy that. Kids are different, and you can wear your headphones. I watch coaches come into game walks, and they've got their headphones on. We take ours off to interact with the fans. You've got to listen to music, you've got to get right, but when you're going to war there's a look in your eyes that says I'm going to fight, and I don't know if we had that fighter's look.
" Pregame was a little we had a couple glitches in pregame, like where you at? We're supposed to be here. I thought we were just a little off beat.
" Now, prep, practice time, we weren't pulling teeth. I don't think we have a team of arrogance, but I think we lost our edge. Again, we had a little bit of success and people patting you and you scored some points easy. It's not going to be easy. There are not a lot of easy games.
" With the opponent we played last week, the margin of error is very slight because of opportunity.
" That's why you're going for it on 4th and 1, because you're not going to get it back. If you do that's why a time out at seven and a half because there wasn't 40 seconds to kick a field goal. That was five more plays for me. I told the guys, don't rough the kicker, we're going to get it to 13, we're going to score, we're going to onside, we're going to score again. That was the plan. Didn't get the onside.
" I was just maximizing opportunities because there's just not a lot of opportunities.
" I just thought, again, I don't think it was as a leader, me, and as coaches, I don't think we've got to sit there stirring. There's different ways. There's different ways you get ready. But we were just a little bit off against a good team, and that team came in prepared. The team we played was really pretty good, and they played pretty dadgum good. And that being said, I don't know if we played bad. We still had a shot. You go in a game and say you don't make them punt, and they're reviewing two plays at the end to see if you've got it or not and giving yourself a chance. You've got six 10 plus play drives and eight opportunities, I don't know if we were that bad. We were just off enough against a good team to be a little short. That's unfortunate.
" We've got to be better in that moving forward because there will be more games like this. Different opponent, but we're going to be potentially if we play well, in a lot of close games, and you've got to make those little plays, those little things that get us over the hump.
" I didn't think we had bad practices. Our practices were good. We were good. I think our kids like our routine, and we put a lot of time on running we don't run as fast as they do. We've got running backs playing quarterback, so it's a different deal. It's a different deal.
" Those guys do it well and they ran their base stuff with some different formations, got the line rolling a couple times, fitted wrong a couple times, but at the end the guys battled. Fourth quarter it's a 14 3 game us. It wasn't like there was a lot of give up out there, and that crowd was awesome in the fourth quarter. Collectively we gave ourselves a chance.
" Now, that thing was close to going sideways. You get that 4th and 4 we made, shoot, that was more of a gamble than the 4th and 1, and we don't make that one, wow. I said, I appreciate the way the guys battled. I don't know why we started sloppy, and I don't want us all sitting there all stern faced. I think there's a way you talk, there's a way you interact. You want to crack a little joke, listen to some music. You're not sitting there like salivating and smelling salts and all that stuff. It's not banging your head on the wall. It's not that. There's a way a fighter comes to fight. I don't know if we were on edge when it started. I've got to look at how we do that this week. ''
On the team's resilience
" I think kids are a lot more resilient than coaches and players. We had a good go last night, did some things last night, had a little fun with them. I don't want to be so rigid. We want kids playing ball having some fun, so we had a couple little did a few little activities, a couple of contests, put a couple coaches out there to kind of have a little energy. We'll see. We'll see. We talked a lot to them about family, what we're about.
" You're not going to score every time offensively. You'd like to, and you'd like to stop them all the time. You're not going to. We're still like 25 percent on 3rd down D. We've got to create some turnovers. We created none last game. No matter what they do, we've got to create some turnovers, we've got to create some negative plays. The first game we had a lot of zero and negative plays; last game none.
" But I think our guys, we'll see. We've really talked specifically to our group of 12 and what they're doing and making sure that off the field we're positive and on the field what's our standard of practice and what's our body language and what's our vibe. We'll see as we go. It's a great opportunity to see what we're about, see how far we came. ''
On the quarterbacks
" Well, again, we're going to get some run around stuff the last couple games with edges, and again, it's play shoot, first drive we got two play calls, he's (Tre) got to scramble because protection breaks down. Quarterbacks look good when everyone around them looks good. Play calls, dynamics, he misses a bubble throw, then we run it twice, had a chance maybe to pitch another one out. He didn't, and then, like I say, Nate came in, first play of his 12 play drive and then we score, 12 play with a pick and then we scored.
" We'll see as it keeps going. For what it's worth, last night, Cam, it was his best night, but it's really kind of been Tre and Nate going through it and trying to take advantage of what we're going to give them or not. Tre can make all the shots he's going to, and you can see we're going to run Nate. We're going to try to keep doing what we're doing. I don't know if one of those guys is independently dynamic. I think collectively we could be better. We'll just see how the week goes.
What's allowed Nate the efficiency in both games so far this season?
"He's played well, but again, it's everyone else. We overcame last game with him a couple holding calls. We overcame a couple dropped passes, still scored. Sometimes we're going to continue to play against more veteran, stronger, faster defenses, those plays would haunt him. Those stats can be skewed. We have yet to give up a sack. Last game our quarterback was running around way too much. He got pressured, he got hit, he got flushed way too much. We've got to clean that up. You can look at a stat and say, hey, that looks pretty good. When you look at tape, that tape doesn't lie; you can skew stats good or bad. Nate has gotten in games, he's played well, but again, he's got some nice parts.
" The other day with play calling and with the other parts, Tre maybe the cards didn't come his way, and it wasn't his fault. It was just play calling and execution of them, linemen breaking down or missing a shot a little bit. We just didn't get in rhythm early, and it wasn't his fault. ''
Sounds like you're not ready to name a quarterback starter yet.
"Somebody will go out there. Somebody is going out there. Again, we've scored 15 touchdowns. Tre's passing efficiency is higher than Sudfeld's. The offense has to play better, too. We need to block better, too. We had some dropped passes, had four holding penalties. We've got to keep pushing to get better. We're young, we haven't figured it out. Those guys are good players, and we're just going to keep doing our process, the way we work.
" We came in last night and had a good night. There was guys here this morning, got them loose, got them awake, they went to study hall, now they're in class. They'll come back tonight, eat dinner and show up tomorrow and lift tomorrow and get them going. Just going to keep getting better. They'd better.
" But I don't know if it's again, we've got to play better. We're 1 1; it's not what we want. Everybody has got to play better.
" The guy that you guys think is pretty good, he had a pick that he should have been throwing to the other side for a touchdown because he made the wrong read and he threw a ball he shouldn't have threw, tried to get greedy and fit one in there, he threw it to the other side, there's seven points. We're human. They're kids. They're pretty good, too. ''
On kicker Mitch Ewald
" Really good. You can take it for granted, like a long snapper, you don't have one, a holder. Again, he's a good leader and he's a football player. He interacts well with the team, does a lot of things with the guys, and as I say, he works at his craft very, very hard, and he sets a good standard. And I think our kicking since I've been here, not just him, I think our specialists have gotten better, and it's because he has a lot of personal pride. He does a great job for us. ''
On his range
" I always ask him. He's typically good 50 ish and he can go 50 or a little bit more with wind for him, he can go 54 or 55. If he's got a little bit against him, he's a high 40 guy. He's around 50 just based on elements and wind and what not. ''
On playing Bowling Green's offense after facing Navy
"Well, again, we've got to continue to play better on the lines of scrimmage. Fundamentals need to be better even though it's a different scheme, but just getting off blocks and not getting cut, getting guys on the ground, tackling better. And like I say, it's just there's just a completely different thought process.
" That's the tough deal of that team is, one, it's hard that week, but the key thing is how can we get back into now how to tackle a little bit more of a standard spread team that's going to run a bunch of zone read and counter and power and move the pocket and shots, so now you're just changing gears. It's kind of like you wipe the mental thought back and get back into what your normal alignments are, and for the most part, again, the first game, we can talk points all we want, but we were 10 times three and out, caused two turnovers, we had 12 drives that were four plays or less. They converted three of 16 third downs. It was standard deal. And you can say it's an FCS opponent, below standard. Last game we only had seven plays that were zero or negative plays. Two incomplete passes, and I didn't count the knees when they took the knees, but we had seven plays that didn't get positive yards.
" We didn't get them off schedule last game, and when we did, 2nd and 20, 3rd and 8, 3rd and 8, they still got the first down. There's a little bit of the ballgame right there, 3rd and 7 PI. ''
On the defense
"Although maybe they didn't execute them as well, too, it's probably a little bit when they were in their deal. Again, like I say, we've looked at it and didn't look at it critiquing scheme as much. We were looking at effort, looking at fundamentals and just looking at situations to teach when you've got this team here.
" If you don't make these plays on the goal line, on that goal line stand in that first half, you don't have a chance at the end of the game. That's really pretty good. We make a competitive play on 3rd and 7, they call a PI. You're all over it, he wants to call it, he can call it. It's a bang bang play. You come back and play. We got them 2nd and 20; great pass rush by Bobby, 2nd and 20, now they run speed options to get it on 4th and 2. Again, they're going for it at the midfield on 4th and 1, 1½, because they know they can't give us the ball. Does that take guts? That's the right thing to do because they've got to make the play.
" Or they're going to make the tackle, that guy glances off, he makes a great effort, we're right there, didn't make the play.
" The onside kick, we're right there to make the play, ball bounces funny. Wasn't anybody's fault, just you don't get it your way all the time. And when you're building, you've got to learn when you're a little bit off you still need to win. We had a great opportunity the other day to be off and still win. We didn't win. That's the disappointing thing.
" We just need to learn how, again, the way you win, you stay with the process, you keep getting better and you go out and play hard. You do your job, you play in the structure of the O & D, the kicking, whatever it is. If you play hard, good things happen. You start freelancing, start doubting, start doing your own thing, now we're independent free agents, things don't work well. You play as a team, you play hard to start making those plays, and we'll see if we can grow from that, and that's what we try to take defensively, and the same deal offensively. Not a lot of errors but a few things early got you beat. ''
On the defense's improvement
"I think a lot, we're better. I think we're getting good we've got five guys over there. Those guys know what they're doing, and we put like I say, sometimes you make a play. You can always change. The reason why I think we can positively coach our guys pretty hard is we put a lot on ourselves. So again, I'm looking at what did I do into Thursday and Friday. We were a little bit more loose in our walk through, a little bit more chattery, and I don't want them stiff and rigid, you're always critiquing yourself and your coaches I heard our coaches last night; they all say it starts with us after the game. We have to coach better. Our kids are working hard, our kids are playing hard, and we've got to continue to learn to put them in better spots.
" In that option, at the same time they made enough plays and had a chance that they're reviewing plays, and we're saying we didn't play that well. We'll see. Against a tough opponent. I know a couple years ago Oklahoma was a BCS team and we're hanging on to beat Air Force 24 21 and we're hanging on for dear life. The head coach says, we'll never play a team like this again. It's difficult, it's a difficult challenge, and it's difficult for your team.
" And I think as a team, I'm disappointed the way we started, but the way we responded on all sides of the ball gave us a chance. We told them at halftime, we've got to keep matching score on offense, defense you've got to get a stop, and we're going to need a kicking play to win this game. That was said at halftime before we went out. We're playing deuce offense, you've got to match score. Defense gets a stop and somebody is going to have to make a kicking play to win this sucker. Didn't know it was going to be the onside opportunities, but that's kind of how it played out. Next time we'll make those plays. These kids will bounce back.
" We've got a tremendous challenge this week with Bowling Green. These guys, they're a good football team now, and they're coming in, I know I haven't coached in that league for nine years, those kids are all Midwest kids or they're out of the Florida region where a lot of those teams go. They all get phenomenal knowledge of Big Ten. It's a great opportunity for them.
" They have several guys that will be pro type players in time and use this as an opportunity to brand their game. Last year they played Virginia Tech on the road. They played Florida 24 7. They won't come in and press, they'll come in ready to play. They'll come in capable of winning and we're going to need a good week across the board. We need a great week from fans, keep building, getting better, and let's go get the next one. ''
On Bowling Green's offense
" Same stuff. He might can move a little bit they're not a big running team with him, but boy, he throws it well. Live arm, good zip, managing looks very calm and very composed. Their line is very good. They've got a really good tight end, very impressed with him, and the backs.
" They're pretty solid offense. Running and throwing it the way you do always starts with a good line. Quarterback is a really good manager, very impressive, throws it strong, really has a calm demeanor. Running backs are all good backs. Like I said, they've got a good package. They're doing really, really good. ''
On Bowling Green's defense
" Structure sound, well, their whole team is a strong football team, do a great job in the weight room. Even though you can say they're not going to be 6'4", they're going to be 6'1" or 6'2", they're going to be stout and strong and physical. Lines of scrimmage always have been the niche that league, always been good. They're a little bit veteran a line, they're just not 6'5", but they're strong, mature, tough guys. They really cheat the box very, very well. They understand their structure and the linebackers and their safeties, where their eyes go, who they've got, and keys that need to show up, extra guys on the running game. They'll mix their coverage, so they'll go from quarters to rotating coverage to man, so it's just a very solid 4 3 cover four deal. Their coaches know what they're doing, and the reason for that, you watch their kids, their kids know what they're doing. Their eyes are where they're supposed to be, they hit their gaps, they play solid D, they play sound. Really, they're a solid, good defense. ''
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