Indiana co-offensive coordinator Kevin Johns spoke to the IU media earlier this week and gave his thoughts on several topics. Here are the results of that session with Johns.
Q: What concerns you about Michigan's defense?
A: They run very, very well. Very athletic group. They get off the ball, just an outstanding defensive line, athletic, great quickness, great speed. Very sound at what they do, very well coached, and will be one of the best defense we'll see.
Q: When you look at 28 points against a Michigan State defense ranked where it was ranked, but that you also left some plays on the field, are you happy or is there a little bit of frustration that there could have been more?
A: I mean there's more frustration; we're not happy because we lost the game. Quite honestly we didn't perform very well. And I think when you look at the film and when you ask our kids, boy we left five, six, seven plays out there on that field that really could have changed that game in our favor.
Q: How do you avoid frustration from the offense when you're averaging 30.3 points per game in losses? How do you keep them from getting too frustrated with the defense not maybe pulling its weight?
A: For us, we talked at the beginning of the year that regardless of what happened we were going to score every time we had the ball. And when we don't do that then that's on us, and so we've created a high standard for ourselves regardless of what happens when the other team has the football. We think we need to go out and win that game.
You look at Saturday, the second time we had the ball we went all the way down to the 15-yard line, we had a penalty that pushed us back and we end up not scoring. We had a chance to go up 14-0 early in the first quarter, that changes that entire game completely.
Q: When you look at execution and the plays you left out there, are there any negative trends you see that you're concerned about?
A: I wouldn't say concerns. I would say just for us is continual improvement and whether it be just route discipline, leaning out a defender, putting my foot in the ground, quarterback with ball placement and targets. So I think just for us just little things where boy, we were just off just a little bit on Saturday.
Q: Are you concerned about how Nate Sudfeld has performed against pressure? It seems he was a little bit antsy in the Michigan State game and the Missouri game.
A: I don't know that it's concerning. I think that it's a human reaction. I mean he's got big, mean guys coming after him trying to knock his head off. I think that that's normal. I think that he's going to continue to grow and learn from it, and know when he can squeeze it and take his shot and know when he has to throw it away and learn when he has to run the ball.
Q: How important was it for Tre Roberson to have the success he's had the past couple of games?
A: I think it's more important for us as an offense. I think he came in against Penn Sate and Michigan State and sparked us and scored some touchdowns. I'm noticing Tre play with more confidence and just more at ease, just more settling down and letting things happen instead of trying to force it and make things happen. It's been a great sign the last couple of weeks that we look for him to continue.
Q: What was the turning point for Tre getting to that point? Do you think it was a mental thing with Nate playing ahead of him?
A: I think it was a little bit more of a mental and thing and realizing, ‘Listen, when you just relax and play ball, you're really, really good. But when you squeeze the ball too tight and you force a throw and you try to force things that aren't there, that's when bad things happen. So I think it was a maturity deal, it was just a growing up deal, and I think really any of us would probably be in the same situation. When you want something so badly it's easy to try to force it to try to make it happen.
Q: I know it's been a couple of weeks, but is there anything an opponent can take from what Akron did at Michigan, especially with some of their long drives?
A: Yea, and again everyone's offense is a little different and they have their own philosophy, and I'm not quite sure maybe what their gameplan was. But they did a great job of spreading the field and really finding some open receivers down the field quite a few times. I think hopefully we can take some of those things and try to put them in our gameplan.