Here is Indiana football coach Kevin Wilson's Press Conference Part 1 from Monday, Oct. 14, 2013 looking back at Saturday's 42-28 loss to Michigan State and this week's road game at Michigan. Part 2 where coach Wilson answers questions from the IU media will be on the site on Tuesday morning.
KEVIN WILSON: "The competitive level was pretty good. We've got to find ways to dig a little more out as we go through the season, but I thought our kids did compete pretty well as far as their effort, flying around and hanging in there a little bit. We let the game get away right at the end of the first half, first possession of the second half. I think it was 14-14. We let them score inside of a minute. Then they take the opening kick down and score to make it 28-14. We hit 28-21. I think we start the third quarter 35-21. We go three and out, and they pop two long runs to make it 42-21.
"A couple of lows there that got us. Got to keep pushing defensively, run game, third down stops. Two weeks in a row where some teams really had worked us a bit on third down that we need them to. Got to keep making progress. It's evident. I think we have through the open date, through Penn State, and some things stopped the other day exactly like we need to have happen, just executing and getting it done. We've got to keep pushing and getting better. Short term for this week, short term for the season, and long term so we keep building. We've got to keep making strides there.
"Offensively, I thought we had a strong challenge last week. We've got another one this week, and a bunch in the Big Ten we're going to get. I thought our performance relative to others was actually pretty good, but our performance compared to ourselves needs to be better. I think Notre Dame had 220 against them. Iowa goes three and out 10 times. We did it twice. At the same time, we left some plays on the field. When you're playing a good team, can't be close. Protection's got to hold up long enough that we can squeeze it and make a competitive play. We've got to keep the run game balanced. I think we were 8 of 18 on the third down. I think they give up 23 percent, 24 percent for the year. Going into that game, they were first or second on third down. A little bit better. You need a few more third downs. We play our tempo. We've got to stay on the field.
"We didn't go three and out. We went five and out, six and out a few times. Got one first down and bogged down. So we've got to get a little better there. The kicking game has made some strides two weeks in a row. Made a play there with special teams with the fumbled point recovery, which we needed. Got points after that. We had two turnovers Saturday. Both helped us with points. Timmy Bennett's interception in the fourth quarter and then the fumbled punt return that Matt Dooley collected for us. Two weeks in a row, that's been better. Got to keep pushing, Big Ten play, road play. I thought our kicking game was a push in that game. Needed to be a win. I think Michigan State is a very good kicking team. I thought we did okay against them. The kick out of bounds after the one score got us when it's 28-21. They went to 35 after that. We had a chance in our onside opportunity. It was a little bit late. Would have been uphill. We didn't execute that great. The kicking was good, and it needed to be good this week.
"Players we recognized. Our offensive player of the game played very, very hard. Don't know if he played well all the time, but his energy and effort was awesome. It was Ted Bolser just playing fast. He's not always perfect. He's out of control sometimes in running and blocking, but he's playing with a lot of heart. I think he's a great example for some of our guys in the efforts. Appreciate the performance. He can play better too. We need him to back it up this week and down the stretch with the remaining six conference games. Ted did very well. Defensively, we didn't recognize anyone. I don't know if anyone necessarily played horrible, but no one played what we consider a championship level that we need.
"Kicking game, we recognized two guys. Matt Dooley had a tackle plus the fumble recovery. Always does a great job as our snapper. Has since he's been here. Almost embarrassing that first spring practice, that kicking play, had guests on campus. Since he's been here, he's been really, really solid and an outstanding player. We also recognize Ted Bolser. He did a great job in kick coverage and on the punt team. Teddy shows up twice this week with a great effort. Scouts of the week on the defensive side, Chase Dutra and Kris Smith, two guys we will redshirt that we're excited about. Played a couple at linebacker. Kris is awfully good. He's fast and talented. Chase is doing really good settling in at the safety spot for us as the defensive scouts. Offensively Tyler Lukens, another lineman, a walk on kid for us, and Michael Cooper, a kid that transferred in from Arizona. Right now he's a walk on player. See how he progresses in our plans. Nice to see Mike doing well.
"Moving on, we've got Michigan 5-1. Their game will be played 9 million times this week, and they'll get tired of seeing it. Everyone in the country will, with the four overtime game they had against Penn State. Again, had chances to win that game and didn't. Could and should be undefeated. It is a quality program, tradition, team, talent, facilities, coaching. It's a good place, good as there is in the country. It's a great challenge, great opportunity, And look forward to this week for our kids working with it. They are number one, I don't think they've lost at home since Coach Hoke's been there. Again, always a great challenge. To play on the road and to win on the road is difficult. We've got to keep building our place here to make it difficult at home when people come here because the field's the same size but it's the energy of the building that makes it different.
"The locker room might be a little different, but you've got locker space and you got a shower, but the dimensions of the field are always the same and the surroundings. It's a great opportunity and a challenge to go up there and play those men this week. Offensively led by the quarterback, who leads their team in rushing, and he's not truly a running quarterback. He's a guy that would just pick his spots. They do some designed quarterback run but not a lot. It's a little bit more they've got some players that need to match up and do something with your bracket coverage relating to receivers. When you relate to receivers, the one guy you don't cover is the quarterback. He has a nice knack of going through progression one and two and scrambling out and getting five and six and eight yards, extending plays. I think he's averaging 73 yards a game rushing, 212, 13 yards passing, and they're not throwing it a significant amount, trying to get 35, 40, 45, 50 carries a game and complement that with 25, 30 passes, a good play action team, move the pocket team.
"Their running back Toussaint is also a quality player, averaging 70. They're getting 150 yards out of two guys, averaging about 200 a game. Two good players with receiver Jeremy Gallon and their tight end Funchess, a really good mismatch and a very good receiving tight end. We tried to recruit them here. They're great players. Good offensive skill set. When you're talking Michigan like we're talking Penn State. Last week we were talking Michigan State, we're talking big guys and talking a good line as well. I think they're complaining their line needs to be better because they have the standards of one of the elite lines in the country. Tremendous challenge for our defense. The blocks they've got to get off of, the skill set, a quarterback that can throw. Not necessarily a true running quarterback but a guy that can make plays with his feet.
"Defensively, really good up front. Clark, Black, Washington, Black's brother played here, Larry's brother. Quality players up front. Their defensive coordinator is a front guy. Their head coach is a front guy. Start the program with the defensive perspective, really stout up front, play a bunch of guys. Quality at linebacker with Morgan and Bolden and Ross and some guys in on the back end with some guys we recruited and know they're pretty good players there. Challenge defensively. At the same time, we look forward to that challenge. Going to be a challenge for them as we compete against their offense. So it will be a great opportunity. Good in the kicking game.
"We've made strides, but to win on the road, we've got to keep getting better. The real challenge this week, even though we're going on the road and playing some great players and a great team, it's about us getting better. It's obvious from last game, we've got to keep making defensive strides, consistency. Offense, we've got to continue to make competitive plays and be physical. Kicking game is okay and needs to keep coming and be good in all three phases to go to Ann Arbor this week.''
Kevin Wilson's press conference Part 2 will be posted on Tuesday.