Here is Part One of Kevin Wilson's weekly press conference, held Monday, Nov. 11, 2013 in the Henke Hall of Champions. In Part One, Wilson gives his opening statement. In Part Two, the Indiana coach answers questions from the media.COACH WILSON: "Real quick. Regarding Illinois, I think for our guys, we didn't make too big a deal, but I thought it was pretty cool. We did some things trying to honor the vets last week. I thought the one thing we did with some former players that are serving our country is pretty cool. We showed it to the team. We talked a little bit about that.
"We put the little flag on our helmet and kind of did our stripe deal. But it was kind of nice.
"I know Coach Deal's son in law is deployed right now and some of our former players. I think you saw that was a pretty cool deal. It was kind of nice to have a good win and also kind of do so paying respect. Like Mr. Glass says, all the time, we represent more than just ourselves and our team. It was good to have a good strong showing for those guys and proud of our guys.
"Offensive players of the game Tevin Coleman and Cody Latimer, both had really strong performances. Tevin was named Big Ten Player of the Week, which was a nice deal. And Cody had an awesome day. A lot of other guys did on offense. Those two were very dynamic, and balls got their direction. Perimeter blocking, there were clips showing the guys, like when you look at Shane Wynn and Kofi (Hughes) tying guys up on the long run, the perimeter on the back side, Jake Bailey had the great back block on the linebacker and got on the ground. Solid performances by a lot of guys, but those two were the two of the game.
"Quarterbacks played well. The one pick kind of hurts. They came back great from that.
"Players defensively had a lot more play and gave up some yardages. Got to work on bringing the numbers down. Thought we got strong play from John Laihinen. He was good at the end where we got pressure on the quarterback. Nick Mangieri as well being from Illinois. It was a big game for him. Recognized Clyde Newton. Made a few busts, but as a freshman really played very, very well.
"Special teams players of the game, Jake Zupancic, two weeks in a row. Had played in previous years. Earlier this year, some of the freshmen and other guys got going. Got worked up the last two weeks. Winning performances on two teams. Mitch Ewald has been perfect for the year. His kicks were awesome. When we looked at our kicking, every time we punted or kicked, our opponent never started outside the 25. The worst thing we did was when Mitch kicked it, and it was a touchback. All the other kickoffs were inside two inside the 10. The punt was on the 10. Kickoff after penalty. Two kickoffs, returns for over 10 and 7. A couple of them, several of them 21. So I think we had 11 kicking opportunities, and all 11 times we were able to pin our opponent deep. Two of our punts Erich Toth only had two punts. But both into the wind. One's down on the 10. One's a 36 yarder into the wind, gave them the ball on the 23. I thought the kicking was a very, very good point of our game.
"Offensive scouts, Chase Alexander and Laray Smith. Chase is from Avon. We didn't take an O lineman last year. 300 pound center inside guy. You guys will see him in years to come. Add to him, Laray was able to come back and have a solid week. Ben Polk, another freshman walk on D lineman from Evansville, we're excited about. Did real well. And Williams, we're looking at as a hybrid linebacker safety. I'm excited about all those guys. Three of those guys are walk ons. They've got really nice bodies and potential to help us in the years to come. Those guys are doing well.
"I would like to mention some guys. I saw you guys talking to Ralston (Evans). Stepped in and done well. David Kaminski has stepped in. I don't like to talk about the injuries because it's kind of a negative. I prefer not to talk about it, but we have as all teams have. We've had some guys with some things that we've been very, very fortunate, as our strength program's taken off and our recruiting's gotten a little better. Walk on program has gotten better, and we've gotten more depth. That's why we can weather the storm. We've had a little hiccup and the guy can't go. Some guys we've lost for the year. We don't like it. But that being said, some guys have stepped in. Jake Reed stepped in. Jake Bailey we talked about. He played well. This game, Wes Rogers had to play. I think we'll see where Collin Rahrig is. He has a slight back injury. He'll be going some this week. We'll see how he holds up. It's not near Peyton Eckert's injury, our right tackle we lost. Jake Reed is in the mix to play as well at center. We'll be fine there. Clyde Newton came in, you guys saw that. Made some mistakes, but played well in his first start. We're excited about him. Running back in high school who's learning how to be a college linebacker as a freshman. But very active, athletic young player.
"Ryan Thompson came in and had a great third down stop. Got the ball back for us when it's a close game. Really played well for Tim Bennett. I think Tim will be fine. Just took a shot. As the week goes, I think we'll get him back. Talked about Zupancic on special teams and Brandon Grubbe. I thought those guys stepped in for Murphy. We lost Dawson Fletcher. One of our guys got his ankle rolled up. So we had Zupancic and Grubbe. We didn't give a winning grade, but there's Latham, very active. Great play on third and two, a stop in four down territory in the second quarter after we fumble. Let alone the pressures and the couple sacks he had. Bobby Richardson was very active. MAs and busted assignments, and that's why they were not, quote, players of the game. They were very, very active and stepped up. Zack Shaw, same deal. Some pressure on the tailbacks. You saw Tevin's play. Stephen, the way D'Angelo's played and the quarterbacks. Tre didn't play a lot, but that fourth down play he makes on his own. We don't make that play, and we needed that play because things weren't going well.
"We came out and went three and out on the pick. We busted the coverage. We score, we score. We needed that drive to get some momentum. That was a huge, huge play. Again, we've got some depth, some guys stepping up. Kind of want to talk more about that. We've got some guys hurt. Everybody does. When you have a good team, guys step up, and it's not as big of a deal. When you're not a good team and you're not having success we're not a good team yet, but we're building, and we're moving that way. I think part of the sign is a little bit better recruiting, a lot better walk on program, and year three with the strength program and the maturity of some of our players. A couple things I want to point out in the game. I think the defensive stop on the first drive, on the fourth down, a batted ball by Adarius Rayner. Four down territory, guy comes open on the route. You get one possession games. The possession of the last busted coverage. That play is early in the game, impacting one possession games. Huge play by Adarius.
"I think the defensive stop after we had the fumble. Don't have a lot of fumbles. First fumble at tailback, we had this year. Something we work real hard to eliminate. Unfortunately, we had one, and our defense, to get a four play stop was really Darius Latham on third and two and Clyde Newton on fourth and three. Clyde filled up the A gap on the backside power. First time I've seen someone do that right in three years where he flew in there and stepped in there and made a play and looked like a decent football team there from fitting it up the right way. Two good plays by two freshmen at critical times. I think the fake punt stop two weeks in a row. Nice play for our guys to identify that. Got us the ball back. After that in the fourth quarter, we had a third and 10 in the fourth and 10 back to back plays. In the fringe where they convert, they're getting points. You're in a one possession game. And then at the end, the interception at the end of the game.
"We had a flurry there where we got him after Tre's run. We had a 50 yard pass to Cody Latimer, came back with a three play scoring drive, hit the play action pass to him. Backed it up with the one big play by Tevin that was well blocked. Then a two play after their fake punt. A two play drive by Stephen Houston. Popping two runs and great blocking there. We win the fourth quarter 17 7, which is huge. Fourth down, we were 100 percent both ways. We stopped them every time. We got every one. So I thought that was a big part of the deal.
"Mentioned earlier, I thought our coverage units and return units. Our punt return started on the 20, the 23 and 43, then after the fake, plus 35. Their unit started on the minus 23 and minus 10. Our kickoff return unit had better returns. Nothing great, but better than our kickoff coverage. When you're playing in the Big Ten and you're playing in November, kicking and field position, percentages scoring from 90 yards, 80 yards, 70 yards, 60 yards is greatly increased with the percentage of when you score when you make people go long fields. So kicking was awesome, and I think that shows, again, some of the strides we're making as we keep moving forward.
"This week we're flipping up to Wisconsin, again, who's strong as always. New coach, Coach Andersen, but since Coach Alvarez years ago has kind of got that thing stable and recruit really solid, got a great style, played great, played great in all phases. Coach kept going in the strong way. I know Coach Andersen reasonably well, competed against him when we were at Oklahoma's team. I think it was a 34 27 game. They actually had a great chance and should have won. Actually got a poor call that actually helped us and hurt them in that game. So his teams are tough. He's a defensive minded guy. Staff's been together a long time. We're excited to have two running backs two weeks in a row rush for 100 yards. They've got two guys that average 100 yards, and they do it every day, and they have for years. They've got great linemen, quality tight ends, fullback's a tremendous player, quarterback that can manage it. The best football player in the league may be Chris Borland, and there are a lot of great football players in this league. Number 44, the linebacker is a special, special player. That's awesome. They're good up front, sound in coverage, and a good football team.
"As always, they're good in the kicking game. I think they're first in kick returns. Good challenge. They're sitting at 7 2 and ranked. It will be a noon kick on ESPN2 at 11:00 their time. It's a good challenge. Looking forward to see if we can have a good wake and continue to build and improve as we go forward.
Part Two will come up next and will have Wilson answering questions from the IU media including Wilson's thoughts on sophomore tailback Tevin Coleman.