Number one congratulations for an unbelievable effort and performance by Coach Thomas, his staff and his players. That's a good football team. They're going to win a lot of football games, I told them to go win them all. Who knows they just might. That's a good football team we ran into tonight. I've coached against that offense before, but we couldn't stop that fullback. I said it early on if you can't stop him you've got your hands full. We made a lot of adjustments throughout the course of the game and we made big plays on defense at times. Obviously they ran way too much on us. But you always have to make them play one more play.
Tracy Porter steals the ball. I think that will go down in the annals. That was a huge play. For the second week in a row we had a gut check. This one was a special one. We had a chance to run our two minute offense and perform well when it really counts. We saved our timeouts and got a big run by Blake Powers. We had a mix up on the play before and took a sack, which we couldn't do.
What can you say about James Hardy? What a great player he is already with an unbelievable future. He's played just two football games now. He wanted to go in on the prevent play at the end. He's probably right. I probably should have him in on that too. I think we'll need to work on that to have that ready.
We're 2-0. There are a lot of people that would like to be 2-0 and the Hoosiers are.
On what adjustments he and his staff made during the game…
What we didn't do was stop that fullback enough. He hit us for a long run early on and that's unnerving. Because you are thinking about the perimeter and fighting the chop blocks. We had a number of guys get dinged. I just talked to the doctors and nothing should keep them out for more than a practice maybe. We played a lot of guys on defense and we made some big adjustments at halftime that helped us against a certain personnel group. They were hurting us in a group without a tight end and we really handled that well in the second half, so then they adjust and put the tight end back in and had some success running the ball there. People are going to find out that's a tough football team and a really good football team. I think they're going to have a pretty good year. I told them to win them all and I hope they do.
On the Hoosiers thinking the game would be an easy win…
I don't think they thought that. We were ready to play obviously. We got the ball and we went right down and scored. I can't say enough about our students. The walk was everything I hoped it would be from the first day we talked about it up until today. When we made the turn at Assembly Hall and came down towards the stadium it was breathtaking. It really was. We were pumped and ready to play. I don't think it was a letdown. I think they were a good football team and they made adjustments. You just can't take anything away from them. They weren't going to quit and obviously neither were we. We made big plays when we had to make big plays. We have to become more consistent. We didn't run the ball well enough tonight. We threw the ball pretty well. We had too many turnovers. The one that concerns me is the interception we had going in. Those are points we don't get. Then we drop a punt and they get points off of that. Those kinds of things give me as a coach a lot to work on and also a lot to build on. We'll never quit. Everyone who played in that game knows if you keep playing one more play you'll have a chance to win.
On Porter's interception:
It's something we work on all the time. Our defense works on it. Tracy is a smart football player. We got the guy standing up. Obviously there was no review because he stood up and he snatches the ball out of there. Just like ‘Havlichek stole the ball.' Tracy Porter stole the ball.
On running out of the spread…
That was by design. We feel one of our strength positions now is becoming the wide receivers. We've got a number of guys we would like to play there. We call that group amigos with four receivers. The better we get with our passing game and our protection, the more of the playbook we can get into. But you have to have the guys to put out there. They all have to be threats. James Bailey had a couple of big catches, Jahkeen Gilmore made some big plays. Again the call at the end there was throw it to James Hardy. Throw it high and make sure that if we don't score we kick the field goal and go into overtime. That's a pretty good bet when you throw it to him.
On whether or not Hardy simplifies the play calling…
At that point it's an old adage. You think of players not plays. You think about a guy who can make the play you need at that point. Blake Powers and James Hardy. Players make plays. I don't know if its simple or not because you have to have the players and put them in the situation. You have to make that call. It's easier to make those calls when you have guys like Blake and James.
On how rare Hardy's impact is a as freshman…
Pretty rare. It truly is. Especially at the wide receiver position. It's not easy to play wide receiver. The defense always gives you different looks and makes you adjust your routes. I've had receivers in the past that I hoped would come on this early but they didn't. But Hardy, Thigpen and Bailey are all redshirt freshmen and they are going to play a lot of football here and make a lot of catches.
On the fake punt by Nicholls and the Colonels having nothing to lose…
The whole thing for them was this was a bonus. I can't say enough about Rick Greenspan and our athletic department making sure this game could happen. They were so appreciative. I heard it questioned, nobody questioned it to me, but I heard whether there so be any games this week. High school, college or professional. That it was inappropriate. Well go ask Nicholls State, even now. Ask Jay Thomas. Ask his players. When he called me Tuesday night when Rick got the deal done and they knew for sure they were coming, I got chills talking to him on the phone. He was so excited. His voice changed so much from our previous conversation. He told me ‘Our players are so fired up. I can't thank you enough coach.' They couldn't wait to come up here to play because they knew they had a pretty good football team and they wanted to play. We took the opportunity to raise money for their football program. I gave him a check yesterday from our football to their football team. He got choked up by it. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain. They were just so happy to be playing football and it was such a great change for them. It's a feel good story all around. Had they won the game it would have been a Cinderella story. We were able to make it happen and we were able to win.
On whether this needed to be a lopsided win to bring fans into the stadium…
Here's what I would tell the skeptical fan, go get a team and go play Nicholls State and see what they do to you skeptical fan. You need to back the Hoosiers because this is a great football team and we're going to keep on winning. We will find a way to win. If you thought it was going to be easy today, you came to the wrong joint. I knew it was going to be tough. But we defended the Rock. Five tons of rock is out there and we defended it tonight.
On building confidence after giving up over 400 rushing yards…
You know what we're never playing that offense again. None of our players had ever seen that. We had coaches are going to have to quit saying we like playing against that offense because when you have a fullback like that. That guy made a difference. And their quarterback. A veteran quarterback who really knows how to run that offense. We'll be fine. We'll be relieved we get to go back and play more traditional types of offenses. We won't have trouble getting up for the game next week.
On why Hardy only had two catches until the fourth quarter…
Sometimes we probably outsmart ourselves. You get busy thinking are they going to do this, are they going to do that? I've accused offensive coordinators in the past when I was on defense that they outsmart themselves on not going back to a big playmaker. What we want to do is make sure we develop the rest of our offense and not use James as a crutch. We know we can throw it Hardy. We have a long way to go. This is not a finished product by any stress. This is huge. The guys were crying in the locker room. The fight song sounds great to the student section and even better in the locker room.
Hoeppner Verbatim-Nicholls State
Peegs.com Top Stories
Inside the Locker Room: Hoosier HysteriaThe Hoosier Hysteria version of the Inside the Locker Room is often one of the most talked about of the year. Don't miss the latest scoop.
Hoosiers looking to get offense back on trackThe Hoosiers have been hard at work trying to fix the little mistakes that have plagued the offense the last few weeks.
Hoosier Newsstand, Oct. 21Get the latest articles on Indiana basketball, football and other sports in today's edition of the Hoosier Newsstand.
A look at the WildcatsZach Pereles from Inside NU talks to Peegs.com about the Northwestern Wildcats and tomorrow's match-up with the Hoosiers.