COACH WILSON:“ Back to recap the last game real quick: As far as internally with our awards, players of the game, defense, we didn't recognize anyone after that game.
“Offensively, we had three guys we thought played really strong: Dan Feeney, still knocking some rust off after being injured and missing all of last year. But a third year player, played really good inside, was very nice job. Good to see him getting back. Shane Wynn was very productive without the ball, let alone with. And thought Nate played very, very well distributing the ball, managing the game, did really good there.
“Special teams: Had some good play in some areas but no one particularly that impacted we didn't have a positive impact on special teams. So we didn't recognize a special team player of the game.
“On the offensive side and defensive scouts, good to see Jordan Heiderman, senior, done well for us, always has. Backup. He travels. Plays on our scout look a little bit as a senior. Did well. And a young freshman, walk on by the name of Kenny Arnold, linebacker out of Detroit. Those guys did well. Other guys we thought with some solid performances in the game: On offense, again the receivers all solid. Nick Stoner was much better than week one. And J Shun Harris was very consistent, very good with the ball as a young player. Did really well.
“We thought those guys played well. Defensively, even though we didn't have a player of the game, we thought Nick Mangieri played very hard, had a pick. Offensively, we didn't take advantage of that pick. Played well. Some good pressure. Relentless. Tegray Scales, young linebacker, we thought played very well as a young guy, and Mark Murphy in the backend. We thought we had three guys on defense play like we needed to and five on "O". In the kicking, particularly in kickoff recovery, Kenny Mullen was outstanding, and T.J. Simmons, and T.J. managed a couple of pop kicks into the wind the other day. So those are guys we talked about.
“Back on that game real quick, in general, team accountability for all of us for the loss. Our play up there, I'm not slighting Bowling Green by any means. Our opponent played really well. We thought they would. We expected them to. Expected us to play well. Our effort was solid. I think physically we can still be a lot cleaner just in blocking and tackling and continue to grow there. But more importantly, just our mental, our mindset, our mental prep, our mental errors need to decrease as we move forward.
“Our sport is not a game of perfect. We're not going to play a perfect game by any means. But we had too many errors. You always see one at the end of the game and you see a mistake, but there's many games are going to be 1 possession games or have a chance to be if you play well. When you're playing most weeks, if you show up and play well and the other team shows up and plays well, a lot of times you're going to be in close games. So you're going to get down to some plays and ebb and flow, and you always remember the last minute drive or fourth quarter play that gets you. But there's a lot of plays across the board. In our world, again, as coaches, we're accountable for that. Players are responsible to get it fixed as we move forward. We had 11 penalties. First week we had four. We went from one of the fewest penalized teams in the country to high end in one week. A lot of those were 15 yard penalties with some pass interference. We had a couple unsportsmanlike late hits. So some things we need to clean up. Not a lot of pre snap negative plays. I will say, if you look at pull up last year's stats, look at the most penalized teams, you'll see teams that were playing in BCS Bowls, aggressive teams that are going to make some penalties. If you're going to challenge in coverage, you're going to get some PIs. We gotta play the ball better. If you tell a lineman not to hold, he's not going to block after a while. And if you tell a defensive lineman not to jump offsides, he's not going to jump the ball. So you better be careful what you're asking for. So you're going to have some penalties. We do need the minimize that. 11 is way too many and I think a little bit uncharacteristic of us. We'll need to clean it up on the road. We had one turnover as an offense. It was a critical one, scoring zone. We gave up no sacks. That's not bad on the road. Would love to get that turnover out of there. We created two. We only had one sack that wasn't enough for 73 pass. Although a lot of their passes, like our passes, the ball's out of the hands. So you gotta get your hands, maybe deflect some balls, maybe have pass disruptions more than sacks. We've got to be more aggressive in our rush attack for sure.
“Our one fumble took points off the board. And they actually scored after that one. So we lose points. They gained seven. In the two turnovers we created, we scored a touchdown and then we gave it up on downs after Mangieri's pick. In the kicking game, we missed a field goal. Our kickoff coverage was really good. We had no returns in the punt game for either side with the wind. Kickoff return, we had a critical error. We brought one out. Had a penalty, started to drive on the 3 yard line. With the two short punts we had into the wind, with a kickoff return mistake and a missed field goal we have, that's four field goal opportunities. They kicked three and we missed one. Defensively, again our opponent played well. We got worked. A little too passive. We need to be more aggressive as coaches and players. We said that before, during and after the game.
“We need to see it instead of talk about it. Like our guys, like the way we do some things, but we need to see it in games. No one cares if you practice well. I've seen it consistently, and our players will tell you consistently in practice against a pretty solid offense, they've done very well. But we've got to transfer from the practice field, walk the last two by four, the finest walk, and get on the game field where the stakes are a little bit higher. There's talent there. The habits are there in practice. But we need game habits. We need performances and good habits during games. And we haven't transferred that like you need to. And we'll keep doing what we're doing until we'll keep getting the results we're getting until we do that, to me. I think, again, we're doing a lot of things right. But doing it right does not assure victory. You have to do it when the bullets are flying, when the game's on the line. And we've got to do that.
“Offensively, we've got to keep pushing for more productivity. We're doing a lot of good things. But our third and fourth downs, although we're 50 some percent in third downs, we're only of 4 of 12 Saturday on the road. That needs to be higher. We're 1 of 6 on four downs for the year. And when you're moving the ball at 500 plus yards a game, one of the reasons you go for it on fourth down is you've got a pretty good offense. We've got to call the plays better and execute them better. Even though we're moving the ball pretty good, we're leaving points on the board. Our score zone opportunities, crossing the 50 yard line, we had a lot of drives, reasonable drives, but we don't get any points to show for that. We're leaving some points. We need the offense to keep pushing. We need the defense to show up, play like it's capable.
“Moving on to Missouri, looking forward to what's going to be a great challenge for us, a very strong team, very solid program. Tremendous leader in Coach Pinkel, winningest coach, two schools. Lot of respect for him. And because of having competed against him, I know their coaches, because we've competed against them, recruited against them. He's got an outstanding staff, great coaches. A lot of guys have been with him forever, a lot of guys I know and think of the world as coaches and as guys. And they've got a great staff. They're solid in all three phases. Their offense really good running game, two good running backs, quarterback, very athletic and active moving around, spread it out. Very productive in the pass game. I think they've got 12 touchdown passes and three picks. So really balanced offense. Really good line. Couple linemen I recruited years ago that are very good players for them. Defensively, very aggressive up front. Two really good defensive ends. Two of the better players in the country. Defensively, playing about as good as most people in the country as far as turnovers they cause and the way they play and the way they play at "D" and what they do schematically with Coach Steckel and his guys. And then they put it together with good kicking, good returner, solid kickers. Good in all three phases. That's why they're 18th in the country. That's why they're 3 0. That's why they're defending East champions of the SEC. And we're going down to their place. We'll need and expect our best day, our best week each this week. But we expect that every day. And I expect our guys to bounce back and have great attitudes, great work, and it's going to be a great challenge and a great opportunity. And we'll look forward to having a good day, good week, progressing forward.’’
(Coach, you talked in the postgame Saturday about some people needing to be better teammates. Can you elaborate on that a little bit?)
COACH WILSON: “ I just think when you're playing, shoot, it was always the issue years ago with quarterbacks. You're going to play, we need you all to play to win. But everyone's who's in, who's in? All that deal. Now you're starting to play now some young freshmen with seniors, guy wants to go out there all the time. There were guys that played, shoot, 100 snaps. We had guys that split play, had more snaps than they had in the first game because there was 57 or 59 snaps in the first game. I wanted to see some guys not be worried about who is in but get out there, with your body language and your attitude, just have nothing negative, no talking, just there's a look in a guy's eye that says I'm excited about what's going on. And to me we've all got roles. I share with the team my role. I was a backup offensive lineman. And the starting center got hurt at Wake Forest, played 7. I played 77 snaps. We won 24 17. Noseguard was No. 54. Very active player. I remember to this day. Graded 78 percent, if you want to know the truth, not that I remember. All right. On Sunday, we took a starting defensive tackle, moved him to center because four weeks down the road was William "The Refrigerator" Perry and could Wilson block that guy. That guy was a third round draft pick. But that was my role. I loved my role. That was my role. I would take my role today. That's what we're talking to our guys about: Embrace your role, understand your role, because what we need for this thing to really take off, we've got a lot of good guys, a lot of things in place, worked hard. It's been an awesome commitment. Embrace your role, do your job, let's move in a positive way. I wanted to address that because I saw some things. It wasn't negative. It's, hey, man, this is a great game. Expect it to be one; we're right here, let's go play. I thought we we're just a little sulky. We didn't need that right now. We needed our mind on our job, what we could control. We could control the next time you play, let's go out and make some plays. And it wasn't negative. It just wasn't I expected more, because it's a great group of seniors. I expect them to lead us the right way this year. And they're going to.’’
(What do you think coaches can do to trick that, that belief that we're going to get it done, make this stop, is it anything you guys can do, or a matter of the players just finally getting it done on the field?)
COACH WILSON: “Well, to me, one, we've gotten to where we've been okay and fair and solid on offense. And they've done that consistently. No sugar coating. Consistently against the offense, all through spring, all through preseason. They need to transfer the hardest thing, which is take it to the green when everyone's watching. The old analogy like I have five children. And when everyone came to the hospital, they didn't want to see your wife. They didn't care about her labor and how hard she worked. Everyone wants to see the baby. Everyone's coming to the game. They want to see you play. They don't care how hard you worked. They want to see you show up and play. It's nice you worked hard. But that doesn't matter. Gotta bring it game day, show up and show them your stuff. To me, because again we've got competition depth and we're going against good players, we ought to feel we do it. And I can't do that walk for them. I told them the other day: If I could blitz, I would blitz from the sideline, but I can't do it. If I could do if we could do anything, if you could say do some things again, we'd all go back because you'd want to play. Can't. They've got to play. It's like being a parent. You've got to trust them, let it go, gotta believe in them. That's what we're telling them. That's what we believe. That's what we see. And that's why we're not changing things in practice, the way we do things. We evolved to the point yesterday, we had a normal Sunday, made positive corrections on what we saw, things we could fix and we moved on to Missouri. That's what we're going to do. Do it this week and have a great week, progress the way we can. See where it stacks up. Do it again. Keep repeating that process because we've got a good group. They're ready for success. But we've got to go do it. They're not going to give it to us.’’
(What are you going to do with the kicking game, field goal kicking, I'm sure you obviously have been working to address that. What can be done to get it where it needs to be?)
COACH WILSON: “I think, for example, I think let me see here I knew you were going to ask me on that. I got it here. So, for example, in the punting game, we've had five punts. Three of those have been sky opportunities. One down on the 5, one down on the 15. And one we didn't quite get the other day. The other two we kicked into the wind. With that kicking average, our punter averaged three more yards a kick than Bowling Green's punter, into the wind. I don't know if you noticed, but every time they kicked off the other day, we had a guy put a hand on the ball. In our first game, we gave our punter player of the game for downing two punts inside the 21, inside 5, led the points. We believe in our punter. He's rock solid. You can take those numbers and skew them for all you want. We could take those numbers we haven't had a lot of opportunities. We've been asked to call he had a 43 yarder with the wind that we're skying that landed on the 5, we couldn't quite get to it. Or he had three down inside the 22, inside the 5. He had one poor drop into the wind. And when he dropped it, he dropped it nose down, mis hit a 10 yard punt punting. Kicking wise, kicked two field goals. Before the game, we've always it's their job to let us know, we talked all week, played at Bowling Green, I think it's my sixth time having been in that stadium. It's always a wind tunnel. So we talked all week. Actually had some good practice days, with a little bit of breeze out here. Hey, this is the wind. It's going to come out of the north, coming out of the north, blowing this way. You're going to get a feel of what you can do, because that affects how we kick off. Remember, Bowling Green sky kicked every time to us when they kicked off because of the way the wind was blowing to the open side. So in the kicking game, our kicker told me before the game, inside of 20, 40 yard field goal going that way. We tried one from 21 that we missed. We didn't try one from 22 and 25. He set from the 23. It was fourth and one and third and one. He kind of gave me his magic numbers. The one he missed was a heck of a kick, like the one he kicked the other. Hit it solid. Pushed it right by, a yard, a foot. It wasn't a mis hit. It wasn't a shank. He just got a little out in, left it hanging out to the right. Hit it solid. Solid hit, solid kick. I told him when he kicked it. His last five kickoffs were three of them into the wind. They averaged 12.4 yards a return. They started on the 18 yard line. The last two PATs he's got to make to give us a 3 point lead. Or if he's that bad a kicker in a windy field position, they have a we have a 2 point lead, we can lose the game with a field goal. His last seven, eight kicks were all critical. He kicked the last one two minutes in the game, he kicked it to the 1 yard line, three yards from the corner, pinned him in, tackled them on the 12 yard line. We've got a good kicker. He's 0 for 2 on field goals. I think we've got a pretty good punter. We've just got a couple of sky kicks. We don't have a great guy. But I believe in those guys. They're not bad. But they gotta do their job better. They will. They will. They're human. I think young in his career, good young kicker, gotta keep kicking. There's a duck hook in here. We can all pull him out. There's a three put, yep, but, man, he's really good. He'll be fine. He better be fine.