Here is Part 1 of Kevin Wilson's press conference Monday where he talked about this week's game against Penn State. This is the opening statement of the press conference. In Part 2, which will be posted on Tuesday, Wilson answers questions from the media.
WILSON"I appreciate you being here. We didn't really get together after the last game, so coming off the last week here again, 2-2 after the Missouri game.
"Defensive Player of the Game, we gave it to Greg Heban. A couple picks, but pretty solid in a lot of other areas. Cody Latimer backed it up with another solid performance as the Offensive Player of the Game. Of course he played well in the first couple weeks, didn't get touches, but was playing well. Just without the ball and on special teams he's had a good year so far for sure. But he had another solid game for us. Mitch Ewald at kicker. It's the fourth time (in four games) Mitch has done it. His kicks, placements on kickoffs have been nice for us as well.
"Our Scout Players of the Week, Billy Ivan, third time for Billy as a fourth year guy, working hard for us behind the scenes. Isaac Griffith, young freshman, is doing well for us, has been redshirted. Kris Smith defensively, a young freshman redshirting. And Simeon Ikubado one of our walk ons that was with us last year, is back with us.
Thought we had a good week of work. I say that from an attitude standpoint. Kind of looked at it Sunday, put it behind us. Point in time I think our team has worked very, very hard. There's a point of maybe overworking, overgrinding, overprepping you can do. Did put a lot of time on us, as much as anything. We did look at opponents and we looked at a lot of young guys, but we did want to talk fundamentals and looking at things that we like that we're doing, things we don't like and self study and self eval of our strengths and weaknesses, what to work on. Had a lot of young guy work, so each day 10, 15, 20 minutes of, ‘Hey, you scout guys, instead of running their plays, run some of our stuff', and it's always good for the young guys.
"Little bit of future work. We've got a three game run here with this open date. We had four, open date, now a three game run. We did concentrate a little bit on some of our opponents, offense, defense, but it wasn't about just game planning; a lot was really about us, young guy development.
"We were able to take I think a little bit of a break physically with the guys, just some time, kind of that mid point of academics, so to give them a chance to get away through the weekend a little bit, on Friday and Saturday. We had to be in class on Friday, but we didn't have workouts or structured practice. Same deal on Monday. We didn't practice last Sunday, Monday. We had to work on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, not to overdo it; not to underdo it.
"But I do think from a mental side, academic side, that time of year, that open date did come at a nice point. And I think from a recruiting standpoint, we had a chance as coaches to get out. Coaches were all out Thursday and Friday. We had everyone out. We're limited on how we can do our recruiting, and during one week we can have our whole staff of 10 out for as many days as we wanted. We took advantage of that to have a lot of guys out. We've done a lot of local work, which we were able to from their friends into some surrounding states and even hit some of our travel states, so I thought that went well.
"Last thing was the open date. We've got some health deals, so it gives a chance to get some guys cleaned up. I'll hit real quick on that. Peyton Eckert is still out. He's been gimpy with his back deal. He still has practiced some. I don't anticipate him going yet. And, again, we'll see how it goes. We will get to a point. Can be a redshirt if needs to be. Doesn't have to be. Just because you're a redshirt doesn't even mean you get a fifth year. You have the option. But I think right now, again, he keeps being iffy. Keeps trying to go. But he's got basically just a low back that he got in a non-contact drill that's just kind of gimped on him. Other than that, (Dan) Feeney and (Chase) Hoobler have been out all year. Everyone else I would anticipate as being probable or playing. We've got guys practicing. Do they practice enough to play, do they practice well enough to play? The rest of our corps right now I think is good to go. Thought the open date was good.
"And then with that we'll flip to Penn State. Noon kick with Penn State coming in at 3-1. Their lone loss, Central Florida. I don't know if you had a chance to watch Central Florida play South Carolina. It's a good football team. Matter of fact, I saw it during their game, they're one of eight teams this year to not be behind until I think in the third quarter. When they were up 10-0 on South Carolina, they came back. Central Florida is their loss. They lost that game 34-31. That's a quality opponent that played very, very well against those guys.
"Offensively, two years Coach O'Brien's been there. That's his pedigree, his upbringing. A very strong coach, very knowledgeable coach. Puts his guys in good positions. You look at the personnel. Their freshman quarterback is really solid, playing in a scheme where they understand how to take advantage of his strengths and not stress him out as a freshman with protections and run game balance and screen and in their play calls and whatnot. But Hackenberg is a very talented young player playing in a great scheme, well coached.
"Nice running backs. A big back, 240 pounder that can get behind his pads, then two change up backs they bring in that are averaging 7 1/2, 8 yards. Nice running game. Really good receivers with Robinson, maybe the best in our league that leads the league this year, did last year, in receptions. He's a very dynamic player. Got a young freshman that they like, Lewis, No. 7, as well that they're bringing on so they got some skill outside. Two really nice tight ends in 18 and 87 that did do a nice job for them with a solid line.
"So they piece it together, and they got a bunch of nice pieces. They got a young freshman quarterback that's very, very talented, but with a big back and the running game, nicer perimeter players, nice tight ends, solid line, pretty good package offensively, doing really, really well.
"Defensively, as always, some stout up front, typical Penn State. Solid strong at backer, really good up front, big D tackle, couple active ends. Got some new guys in the back end, but you don't really notice it. You wouldn't know they're new if you're watching tape. They've been solid, well coached. New coordinator this year, but he was there a year. Coach Vanderlinden and Coach Johnson have been there 10, 12, 15, 20 years. So a lot of continuity on defense. They didn't play by their standards like they wanted to against Central Florida. You can tell they come back and shut out Kent State playing Penn State defense 34 0. So a good defense.
"A strong test for us, and we're looking forward to Saturday.
Look for Part 2 of the Kevin Wilson press conference on Tuesday morning at AllHoosiers.com.