Indiana football coach Kevin Wilson at his weekly news conference:
Question: Can you talk about your defense bouncing back in the game? Are you starting to see leadership on that defensive side of the ball coming from players more than coaches or is it still coach‑driven at this point?
COACH WILSON: I think we’re getting better leadership on the field and the defense is picking up. Still got a long way to go. And we’ve got to learn, like last week we came off a bad week and had a good week. We’ve got to come off a better week, and see if we can have a better week coming off a good week instead of going up‑and‑down because if you’re going up‑and‑down, you’re staying the same. We have to build this thing right, put together back to back good weeks of prep and keep pressing the season forward.
Q. Is the defense showing you the better depth and experience you had hoped to see this season? You talked about having a mix of experienced guys and young guys and a lot of freshmen have played, but does this defense have better potential to improve and survive the wear and tear of the season than the teams the past couple of seasons?
COACH WILSON: Those are things when you talk about we kind of looked at some ways in how we practiced as far as wearing down. Because if you go through I think we’ve been a team that we’ve found in developing our team we practice very, very hard to tell you the truth. Sometimes during the year there is some wear and tear on your body. So we’re a little more physically mature, skill mature without becoming a soft team.
We’re still young, those young guys need work. So we’ve got to practice them hard. There is a fine line of overpracticing, overprepping, overcoaching, but we’ve got to keep developing these guys.
I do think there is a lot of growth, because, one, I think we have good buy in. I think they’re listening and they see where they need to improve, and I think they get it.
Q. Can you talk about the production of you getting out there in the running game in general, in particular the way Stephen Houston has responded to the competition he’s getting?
COACH WILSON: Again, he still can play better though and same with Tevin (Coleman). I think those guys are going to get some nicks as you go through the years you need more than one. You need to keep them fresh. Part of our tempo … We’re playing fast.
So sometimes you need to sub a guy in because those guys are in space. They do a lot of running … You ought to one day pull up a game tape and see how many times they run a swing route, which is basically a 30 yard spread. They might get the ball, they might not. But we’re trying to stretch them this way and this way to make holes in the seams and the defense.
Stephen has done well, Tevin has done well, but our running game still has to be better. We had nine negative rushing plays the other day, nine times and that’s way too many. That gets you to too many 3rd and longs that we were really very fortunate to get last week.