IU COACH KEVIN WILSON SPEAKS AT MEDIA DAY
July 28, 2014INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Coach Kevin Wilson. Coach, an opening statement.
COACH WILSON: Thanks. Great to see you guys. Look like?? are we still awake here? Got the warm?up bands out of the way. Everybody good to go?
Again, we're ready to get rolling, cranking up practice a week from today. As just stated, we do have a lot of guys returning as we start year four. We've played a lot of freshmen, 16 now, four seasons ago, and those guys have kind of matured into a little bit more of a veteran?laden squad. Very excited about those guys.
We've got a little bit more depth across the board. Offensive line, defensive line, skilled guys, et cetera.
Very pleased the last couple years with our recruiting efforts and the ways those things have picked up on on paper. And with the new rules this year, was very excited to have a chance to work with our freshmen in summer and not really for the football side but just to watch those guys run around, see those freshmen players, see who was in shape, who would compete, who could bend, changedirections, et cetera.
And very, very pleased now having had those guys in summer, I. Think even with so many returning players, we have a number of freshman that I would anticipate to being in the mix to compete and playthis year.
I think it's noted, our deal is always constant, consistent daily improvement. As we went through winter, into spring, and now summer, I feel very comfortable as we report next week. We're coming in stronger. We're coming in healthy. I have no medical issues with our current team. Academically, setting a great state, and we've been off the charts with our academics with our guys.
So really like the direction the team's going, and really getting ready and prepared to have an outstanding preseason. We'll need one.
We shape up with a solid schedule. Only six home games. Wish we had a few more of those at home, but a very good non?conference schedule starting with Indiana State, traveling to Bowling Green, traveling to Missouri and going to Missouri, and then with North Texas coming to our place.
We're excited to be part of the Big Ten East. Being in the eastern time zone with our recruiting region and whatnot. We're really excited with the opportunity with Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Maryland Rutgers. So we're really excited about the east brand going.
So a lot of things happening in Bloomington. Really ready and looking forward to a good preseason. I think the next step as we build, we've gotten better every year. We've gotten better every day, and I think we're really looking forward to a lot of great things as going into '14 here with this season. With that, questions?
Q. I wanted to ask you about Tevin Coleman, who is coming off a breakout year in 2014. Is he ready to take on the role of a future back with the departure of Stephen Houston and him only carrying the ball 131 times with breaking the 20 rushing mark only once last season? Is he ready to take the next step and become a full?time running back in the Big Ten?
COACH WILSON: Great question. Tevin, I think, realistically is probably one of the more talented, if not as talented as any back in this league. I think he led the nation last year in touchdown runs of over 40 yards. I think he was third or fourth in the nation of touchdown runs over 30. He's an impact guy. Very, very strong. Very, very talented.
I still think in our system and the way we do things, we're going to spread the ball around. We're going to throw it in the perimeter. We're going to get it down field.
We were fourth in the league in rushing, and everybody talks about our offense and they talk about no huddle and they think we throw the ball. We've got an outstanding offensive line. I think it's one of the better offensive lines in the league. And what I like about our offensive line is that our starting right guard and starting right tackle from a year ago missed all 12 games. So we were able to accomplish decent offensive numbers with basically half the line out.
We've got every lineman returning. And what's also exciting, everybody's returning, we've only got two seniors in that crowd. So a lot of veterans. A great sophomore and junior group of linemen. So the line's going to be pretty good.
Will Tevin be the featured guy? He kind of was the featured guy last year, but I do think we're going to have to play with more than one back. I think, you know, most teams, whether it be?? I mean, Adrian Peterson as a complementary guy in the NFL and did when we had him at Oklahoma. I mean, we're going need to complement Tevin, whether it be with D'Angelo Roberts, Myles Graham, Laray Smith, guys in?house. And I really like Andrew Wilson and Anthony Davis as some walk?on thick kids. I'm telling you, better than you think.
And then two signees, Tommy Mister and Devine Redding?? we got eight guys in the running back court coming into our preseason 105, and they're all pretty good. And no one like Tevin. I think Tevin can be as good a back?? and there's some tremendous backs in this league. I think he's one of the best backs in this league. I think we've got a line that can back. We got a quarterback that can spread it around and get the ball out in space.
I'm looking forward to Tevin having a solid year, a strong year. And whether we want to call it breakout or can he handle the load, I think he's going to be one of the better offensive players in this conference, and looking forward to coaching him next week again.
Q. What did Brian Knorr show you in the interview process to make you hire him, and how good does your defense have to be this year for you guys to win big?
COACH WILSON: Well, again, I had a previous relationship with Brian, going back to those days at Miamiville, Ohio, and he was with Coach Grobe at Ohio U, so we'd always cross paths, knew him.
What I did, when we were looking at the direction, we made a lot of improvement, but we had not?? we just have not improved defensively like I thought we needed to in the time, in a timely fashion that we needed to.
Again, we're not expecting it to be lights out, but you just want to see some consistent, constant improvement. And as we end the season, we kind of took our time, evaled ourselves, thought we should go in a different direction.
My first thought was not identifying a person. I looked at teams that I thought were comparable to us, talent?wise, who they played, and statistically for a couple, three years, who had played pretty good.
And Brian's numbers coming out of Wake Forest had been top 40 defense for a couple of years in a row. Of course I knew him and was very comfortable with him. But what I was looking for, again, wasn't an unproven guy, but someone I thought that had played solid, competitive defense, because I think if we could just be competitive and get a few stops, everybody?? I always kind of almost laugh, they say, you know, your offense versus your defense going fast, if we get a couple of stops and get the ball back, think how much better the offense could be.
So I don't use that offense hurting the defense. I think we complement each other. So we played a lot of young guys last year. We recruited 15 guys to that side of the ball. Got ten guys back, and you'll see some young guys in the mix. We're going to be young, we're going to be more athletic, we're making a change, we're going to be a work in progress. But from what I saw in spring, we're going to be significantly improved on D.
Q. Didn't have a chance to ask you this yet. What did Tre Roberson tell you when he decided to transfer, or was it just about wanting to be the starter someplace else? And what do you think it will do for Nate to have the job to himself?
COACH WILSON: Just as much as anything, to me, as we came out of spring, both those guys had done very, very well. And I kind of?? again, whether Nate or Tre was looking over their shoulder, I think our quarterback play has been as high as maybe anyone in this league for a couple of years.
So I appreciate the way all of our quarterbacks have handled the competition, the way they prepare for our team. I've got a lot of respect for all the guys that played for us there, because the way Cam played two years ago, getting our offense really going, because the first year it wasn't. And then he got in the competition battle with Nate and with Tre, and Cam was the odd man out, yet he got the offense going two years ago.
And Tre and Nate's skill set a little bit different. Both those guys, quote, wanting to be the guy. I really encouraged?? I encouraged all of them to stay in there and hang with it. But at the same time, I think he felt maybe a chance just to be the guy. We wanted what was best for him, respect him, wish him well.
That being said, I don't want to say now just because Nate is there, you know, we never have a position by default. He needs to continue to improve. I think he can be one of the premier quarterbacks in this league. I think he's capable of that now and has been.
And so again, as we play, my goal with Nate, he's a young player, a true sophomore, he's got two springs under his belt. He's got a lot of growth to do, and I think if he continues to improve, he's going to be a brilliant player.
But right now I just want to see him stay hungry, stay humble, stay grounded, and start being the guy to truly lead this team. Because like I said a year ago, for us to really play great, we've got to have dynamic play on quarterback.
We've had really good play in this conference, but I don't think it's been as dynamic as we needed, and look forward to seeing if Nate can manage our team, get us in the end zone more, bring those interceptions down just a little bit and have a top end year.
Q. Kind of a follow?up on that, from the backup quarterback position, behind Nate, how do you see that shaping up? Who figures to make an impact there?
COACH WILSON: I would say coming out of spring, now, we'll see as we start practice, we'll start day one with Nate Boudreau. He's been here longer than our other guys. Zander Diamont, a young man we signed, was there for the winter session. But Nate is going into his third year. A bigger guy like Nate Sudfeld, Nate Boudreau is 6'5", 220, I think he's been very, very sharp in our summer work as far as getting in. I think he sees the opportunity and the sense of urgency.
So we'll start there. We'll see how Zander Diamont, who is a very talented kid, was with us in spring, did very well, but young, and then we signed Danny Cameron late here who was a young man that was going to actually go one more year of high school and then by some rules did not have that opportunity. And we had a chance to work with him at camp. And I just didn't want to sign two quarterbacks in our next class, and I thought with really only having two scholarship quarterbacks on the team now with Nate and down to Zander Diamont, we needed a third one, was very, very impressed.
And from what I can gather listening to the kids talk, I think the kids like Danny. So it's going to be a three?man battle between a more veteran guy with Nate Boudreau, and then we'll see where Zander Diamont with his talent, a young athletic guy, I think Danny Cameron is a coach's kid, kind of gym rat guy, we'll have a second.
I think our background, all of a sudden we went from ?? we didn't have a starting quarterback, yet we played as well as anyone. Now we don't have a backup. I think if you just look at time, we typically get a guy who can catch that ball and throw it. We've got to make some strides in defense and other areas. We'll complement him and have a good backup quarterback, and we've just got to make sure we keep Nate healthy and keep Nate getting better and play at a high end.
Q. Want to talk about there's been a lot of scheduling of different games in the future, and the change of philosophy, it seems, that Fred Glass and maybe yourself have put the emphasis on trying to get seven home games in the future and making the schedule a little bit more manageable than in the past.
COACH WILSON: Again, great question. I know this year we play, we play week one and have an open date. A lot of times you don't really like it. Now we're fortunate we have two open dates. To me that's not as big a deal. But there's certain things, you don't want to be open the first week. We've got to know in this conference, in time we'll be playing nine league games, you'll be playing one team from an upper?level game. You're not going to play any FCS schools. So that being said. And we're going to start a rotation in '16 with five Big Ten games at home one year for the whole East Division and then next year four and five at home for the West.
So that being said, when you've got those five at home, you've got three nonconference games, and that's the deal when you go to a nine?game schedule now, you've got to get those three games, you need to get ?? if you're playing five games, two at home to get you to seven, if you're playing four conference games at home and five on the road, and this is scheduling problems for everyone in the conference, you need to have three.
This will be my fourth year at Indiana and the third time we've had six home games. I think if you go through the last decade, count the number of Big Ten teams that have been 6?6. It's called a home field advantage. It's your locker room; it's their travel. You want to play at home.
When you're a Big Ten player and you're branded as a power five BCS school, you need to target a 7?5 schedule. And our administration's been awesome. We just picked up a home and home in Cincinnati. We got Wake Forest I think coming in here next year starting in '15 and '16.
So we've got some things in place moving that way, continuing to play some other teams within our region.
But to me having seven home games was critical to having a winning program at IU. And I don't think any coach would say different, seven or eights, what every Big Ten team's looking for.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.