Interim Coach Norries Wilson Opening Statement: “We have a bye this week. Today was the first day of practice. The kids were off Sunday and Monday. We came out stressing the things that we’ve been deficient on – unforced penalties, false starts, lining up offsides and turnovers and working on fundamentals and tackling and blocking and had some competitive drills against each other offense and defense, calling plays and letting the two first teams to continue to work. … And we did some things on our upcoming opponent.”
Q: How important is it for you as a staff to be on the road recruiting during the bye week?
Wilson: “Well Sam, I’m on the road now and you’ve got me pulled over so I can’t go into the school I’m going to. But yes. This is our only bye week this season and we feel like it’s important to go out and see as many kids as we can see and make sure our faces are seen and see coaches and keep building relationships.”
Q: For you personally, how much do you enjoy the recruiting aspect of your job?
Wilson: “I enjoy recruiting. Recruiting is year-round and it’s changed a bunch over time, but I enjoy recruiting. I don’t like flying. But I enjoy recruiting. It’s a good chance to coach and see young men that you’ve seen on film. Watching high school games get really competitive. I like going to see high school games where both teams are battling back and forth. That part of it, I do enjoy.”
Q: Recently your team has had some good success through the air on offense. What have you seen from your guys to build through this bye week and into the rest of the season?
Wilson: “The offensive line, we have some pressures on Saturday our last game, but they rebounded from the five-sack performance that we had at Penn State. They protected the quarterback pretty well this past week. It’s given their quarterback time to see options and to take open throws and give opportunities to the receivers and the tight ends to catch the ball and get downfield. We’ve got some things we’ve got to work on. We had some pressures on us last Saturday that we aren’t happy with and [offensive line coach Mitch Browning] is harping on those things. They’re starting to improve and play together as a unit a lot better than they had the week before.”
Q: With the outside distractions, do you address that with recruits on the recruiting trail and if so, what is your message?
Wilson: “I just answer any questions that they may have of me about what’s going on, and I just answer it honestly. Whatever they might have, whatever their parents might have, I give them an honest answer. If there’s a question I can’t answer for them, I make sure that I can get that answer and get it to them as quick as I can.”
Q: What sense do you get on the recruiting trail from recruits with regards to everything that’s gone on with coach Flood?
Wilson: “The sense that I get is that the ones that are committed are still with us and the ones that have interest in us are still very interested in us.”
Q: What have you seen on film so far from Michigan State?
Wilson: “I think they play good team defense. I think their front seven is really good. They’ve got defensive ends and defensive tackles that can hold the point at the line of scrimmage, and their linebackers run pretty well. I know they have an injury there earlier, but I think their front seven is good and their back half, they play well. They’re a physical team on defense and it’s going to be a huge test for us.”
Q: With coach Flood suspended on game days, does Ralph Friedgen’s advisory role provide more assistance?
Wilson: “His contact with the program is primarily with coach Flood and [offensive coordinator Ben McDaniels]. They’ve hashed through some things, but I have not had any contact with him since Coach [Flood] was suspended.”
Q: Is he still a big resource for this coaching staff?
Wilson: “Yes, he is.”