Here is part 2 of Indiana coach Kevin Wilson’s press conference from Monday afternoon leading up to Saturday’s season opener with Indiana State. The transcript of this press conference was too long to put into one file, so I broke it up into two. Here’s the second half.
Wilson was asked about junior tailback Tevin Coleman.
COACH WILSON: "You said Tevin; right? He's a dynamic player. Some big-play capability and I think we're going to look for a little bit more consistency, too, and what's going on, and I think that comes from the offensive line with all those guys back, that we can take runs that -- we can press into the line of scrimmage, instead of making backfield cuts and going sideways, and you got safeties and backers coming up, if we can get him going downhill and downhill fast, he can split some seams and take it to the distance.
"So, again, he's looked very good here the last few days, he had a fast bounce in his step last night we need him to have a good year, but he'll go as that line goes. As good as he can. That line and those perimeter guys, our ability to throw the ball and keep them out of there, or lock them up and block in the perimeter. He's a really good player but it will -- if he has a great year, it's because he has some great teammates getting it done for him."
Not surprisingly, the conversation shifted to the defense and Wilson was asked what he was looking for specifically from IU’s new 3-4 defense against Indiana State.
COACH WILSON: "I don't think it's as radical a change as on paper it will appear to be. I think we've adapted to it really well. I would like to see us play with an unbelievable amount of energy and effort, which means you know what you're doing. Because if you're sitting out there and you don't know the call, now all of the sudden it's a game, and you've done it in practice a hundred times, and now I'm on the game field and hey I'm not supporting the run or cancelling the gap or having my proper alignment, so I would like us to be aggressive, which means we're going to know what we're doing. Because if you're thinking -- like I tell the guys all the time, if you're thinking, you don't know. If you know, you know. You know the call, you know the job, do the job.
"If you're thinking, you don't know. So I like to see these guys playing fast. That means they got to know what they're doing. So that will be interesting for Coach Knorr how much he wants to do, because I think the faster we can play with being assertive and confident. I think the second thing, our ability to tackle and tackle well, and not hit people but tackle and wrap up. And we've worked a lot on wrapping and squeezing and getting people on the ground through our fundamental work and through our scrimmages and it's been significantly better, practice, but let's do it "when it counts." And I think the last thing is the ability to communicate, get lined up and be sound.
"Let's be aggressive, tackle well and let's be sound. When I say "sound" you got the call. So I don't know how much we're going to do. We've done a lot in camp. I guess they can -- Coach Knorr will give you some magical number of what percentage of his playbook is in. In all honesty he doesn't have a playbook, because nobody reads anymore; it's video stuff, but he'll give you some 53.4 percent or something. I don't know where he came up with that number. But they've done a lot at us, and they've been throwing a lot at us, and I don't think we're going to sit there and be vanilla. I would like to see these guys fly around and I'm expecting -- I'm expecting to see this team play well.
"We're expecting to have a better season. It's nice, you've worked hard and practiced and all those things give you a chance, but what needs to happen is we need to start doing the thing. We need to start playing; we need to start winning. The first game is going to be difficult, we're going to have some issues, we're going to have some problems, but if we're a good team we'll handle it and I expect us to -- we got enough veterans back, we've recruited well, and I expect us to look and play like a really good football team. We're going to see where we start and how far then we can take it.
Apparently the team received IPADs. Here is what Wilson had to say about that.
COACH WILSON: "I don't know, it kind of frees up for them, where if you say I can't -- because we're only allowed so much time with them. Used to be okay, you got to come into the building to watch tape. Now you got a chance to say -- like today is the first day of class, so when you're done at night -- we practiced last night. Now during the day, they can access -- and no one else can. We have to give it to the guy in house on his computer. He can only log into it there, so it's a very secure system but, you know, you can watch -- whether it be Indiana State games from last year, our practice from last night, and so guys can just -- they have more time on their own.
"But, again, I told the team last night, physically we're a better team but mentally are we? Are we going to work mentally like a real high-end team does. We've worked physically, but are you going to study, are you going to invest, because we're trying to get these guys to a point too, the way we practice, I'm trying to practice to keep this team fresh. If we physically do some things to keep you fresh, you mentally have to push yourself. Because if you're mentally not going to push yourself, we physically got to get more reps on the field.
"So how much can these guys take advantage of the iPads as a teaching deal to learn so going back to the one question a minute ago from David, we can play fast, because we know what we're doing. To me it's just a great learning resource tool I think with our Bill of Rights, every athlete on campus has one. It's also today being used for notes. So instead of class checking, when a kid leaves class, he e-mails the notes back so you know he's in class. That's a good deal, too, so we don't have to drive around campus and see and say, "show me your notes." It's immediate. Walk out of class, that's a pretty good deal, too. That way my GA can study football. I don't have to do class checks on Fridays anymore."
Wilson was asked about how some of IU’s biggest losses have been at the tight end and wide receiver position. Has he seen any players, specifically freshmen, step up there?
COACH WILSON: "You see some flashes. Now they're young, and there's gonna be some growing pains with it. You got an older crowd with Stoner and Roundtree and Wynn. You've got the intermediate guys in there, guys who have been around a little bit, Damon Graham has really picked it up, a kid we put on scholarship. He had two touchdowns the other day and in some developmental work. He's got some speed, and again, not a primary guy but going to have a good role, and a special teams role that you like. And we finally got Ricky Jones back healthy, and he's looking better, and he's in them mix but it goes from the old guys to the middle crowd. The freshmen crowd with Dom Booth, J-Shun Harris, Simmie Cobbs, Coray Keel right now is the fourth one. He is probably not in that top mix right now, so maybe he plays, maybe he doesn't. In the opener he's not set to play but J-Shun starts at a higher place than Shane Wynn did. I think Simmie Cobbs is starting at a very high place. Now, he's not as good as Shane Wynn, but he's starting at a higher level than Shane started. Still freshmen, there are going to be mistakes, not ideal, but you're excited about Dom and J-Shun and those guys, and they will be very much in the mix and they will be playing on special teams, I'm sure, and they'll be playing as a part of the offensive rotation and you'll see them early, and we'll see how much they grasp and how it grows.
"But they start at a reasonably positive level for fresh -- because there is a lull between our seniors and some of those second and third-year guys who haven't played well or done well, there is a void and we're fortunate we have recruited well, but until they play in games we'll see. Like the things they have done in practice, they have made a bunch of plays in practice. Tight end, Jordan Fuchs, very athletic tight end. Michael Cooper, scholarship player from Arizona, transferred in. We lose Bolser, but Jordan is very, very athletic -- I didn't see Ted as a freshman, but knowing Ted's skill set as I saw him older, I think Jordan starts at a high place, as far as where he starts. Now, it's not going to be as good as Ted, Ted leaving year four, year five, so there is maturity going on, but they're talented kids."
Wilson was asked about which freshmen might play this season.
COACH WILSON: "Um, let me see here. I think as far as freshmen that may be -- Devine Redding at running back has chance to go in the mix, with special teams and playing, because we did two deep. Some of these times we listed three but mostly it was two deep. D-line, I think what you see is what you got up there. I think Robert McCray can be in the mix with Mangieri and Shaw. Dameon Willis at the SAM backer, where Flo and Clyde will have a lot experience. If those guys are healthy and playing good, he's third, but if not he's in the mix and he's playing special teams. Week one Dam's -- he could be odd man out, because you have two veterans guys that have played well for you. All of the sudden if there is an injury he gets worked up and on special teams, but in our eyes he's in the mix. I don't know if he's playing game one but he's in the mix.
“I think at linebacker, Gooch and Scales inside, Sykes possibly, I think he's a little farther with depth. It's kind of like Dameon Willis, is it worth the special teams, a little bit of play or a lot. So I think those couple of guys, and I think Donovan Clark at corner is another guy that's in the mix that we -- there is not a deadline of when you got to redshirt or not. If you play you play, but I think you're going to see 10, 11, 12 of those freshmen playing. I don't know if they play week one, because you might wait and see -- Wes Martin in the offensive line, we had a knee injury with Bailey last year, a knee injury with Kaminski. Wes Rogers was out. If they get nicked up, Wes Martin is very good and can play as a freshman lineman, but right now if we're healthy, we're going to redshirt him. It's good to redshirt kids, if they're not ready to play and they're not going to play a lot, but I'm going to tell you, in this day and age where everybody wants immediate gratification and satisfaction, as hard as you work when you don't play in games, this game sometimes can be tough. So we like to play as many freshmen as we can. We don't want to burn the year. I think you go between now and Missouri and you figure it out, it gives us a four-week window, counting the open date.
"And by then, third, fourth week, you might say, hey, we need to get this guy in the mix, so and so is nicked up. A lot of those guys are on the varsity field, they're slated maybe to play, maybe not, but what you're seeing right there is who is going to play with the names I've mentioned, Redding, Donovan Clark, Scales, Gooch, some of those guys get in the mix and they'll be playing on special teams."
Wilson was asked about the fact he was able award six walk-ons scholarships last week.
COACH WILSON: "When they come in, it's for our recruited guys. We'll keep using our walk-on deals, one-year deal, because we use that for two fold -- a lot of guys -- I don't want to give a guy a scholarship; I want the kid to help us win. I have had a lot of walk-ons, once they got their scholarship, it's almost like they quit working, like they got what they wanted. I need you to help us win. You almost want them to earn it back. It's a one-year deal. So if you got a class like a year ago, we had 10, 11 seniors, but we had five or six juniors graduating in four years, that gets you to 15 or 16, you have five or six walk-ons, you can take those back, and now you can go sign 22 guys. Then when you have attrition, and a guys does something he shouldn't do or a guy that doesn't want to be here and transfers, all of the sudden money comes open, but when money comes open in May, June, July and August there are no recruits to go get.
"It's an aggressive way of allowing us to recruit at the maximum level and telling the walk-on, don't get content on us. We have had walk-ons have it one year and not get it the next and did nothing wrong. The team got more competitive."
COACH WILSON: "I saw the other day --I saw the grimace on his face, and I said, what did he do, and they said a leg injury. I hadn't had a lot of chance to watch the sports and news with our practices, and he's a phenomenal player and a tough deal, and I did catch one of the NFL shows, tried to catch highlights of what was going on and as Kurt Warner said he's almost missing two full years, it's going to be a hard deal. I know in their world, they got business deals, he's got a contract, they got all those things to get through. But, for example, when I was talking to our quarterbacks the other day, and I said, hey, the amount of time I see you compared to Sam Bradford working extra, and I have a GA that was at Oklahoma, I said, "What do you think?" And the GA said, "It ain't even close, how hard that guy was working to be a great player," which is his commitment to study, extra study, taking care of his body. Phenomenal college player, and it's a bad deal for him and you love him and pray for him and he'll be fine. Have a good one, guys."