Kevin Wilson talking about Saturday’s Old Oaken Bucket Game against Purdue:
COACH WILSON: Purdue coming up. Rival game. A lot of people say that, but we are blessed to have as a team a very strong rival, quality opponent. With fans that know each other, and just like each other in every sport. You’re lucky when you have that so far … I think it’s going to be a challenge. Again, we’re sitting here four wins, needing five. We’re not going to be a bowl team. We need to have success, have a great week, and put ourselves in position to have our best week of practice and play our best against our rival … We need to finish this thing on a positive note.
Q. Now that you’ve been here a few years, do you feel that rivalry more personally than you did say your first couple of years?
COACH WILSON: Well, I mean, no matter who you are, and when you’re trying to build your program, again, we won’t publicize or talk a lot with our team, but there’s certain goals and standards we’re shooting for. We don’t red letter games and circle them, but when you meet someone it’s blah, blah, blah beat Purdue. We’ve got so many Indiana kids here, I think the teams that do well in this game, again here or the Purdue teams, it’s the teams that embrace the week and the players, it’s the preparation and the physical and the emotional and the mental side of getting prepared to have a strong week.
There’s a lot of great rivals and there’s a lot of them this week that are played.
Q. How important is to have that rivalry game this week, especially since you don’t have that bowl goal in front of you anymore?
COACH WILSON: I’ve been very fortunate as a player and coach that almost every school I’ve been on, there has actually been a strong rivalry. This is a strong rivalry. They’ve had their fair share of wins, and won more than we can. We have to rise our team up and compete and have a good week and do what we can to put the I on the link for us this week.
But as a player, and as a coach, you will remember a lot of games a lot of memories, but your rival games and the rival games you win are going to mean a lot.
Q. Standing here now, where do you feel the strides were made? What kind of progress have you seen this year?
COACH WILSON: Except for one game we competed ‑‑ I thought last week we competed okay, came up short little bit. I didn’t like (the way we competed at) Wisconsin … I was looking today on the stats on NCAA.org. They have trends, and we’ve got the No. 2 schedule in the country right now. Our opponents have a record of 80 and 30. So we’re right there, kind of are playing winning football, and on short end of making a play, making a stop. Doing a better job coaching. Doing a better job playing to get a W. To be sitting with a chance to be sitting on six. Played pretty well in Michigan, came up short, but had a chance.
Where I think we made strides ‑‑ we’ve got to make strides on score board, and on Ws. But the best stride that we made is every day in the building is a positive day with our guys. There’s no negativity or finger pointing. And our guys give us a good go. And they have bought into our values and the way we want to live and work.
So the best thing I do is every day, the guys down the hallway you work with and the players in the locker room are giving you a lot.