In his press conference Monday, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer called Indiana coach Kevin Wilson “an innovator,” and said he occasionally stole things from the former Oklahoma offensive coordinator’s system.
Wilson seemed somewhat taken aback by the compliment, but said he has always been impressed by Meyer’s coaching style as well. Though both men are known as exceptional x’s and o’s coaches because of what they have done to make their spread offenses effective, Wilson said that what he believes is most important and what he believes Meyer does well is get the most out of his players.
“It’s nice to be an innovator, but I’m not an innovator as much as we’re trying to get guys to play hard and play physical,” Wilson said. “If you watch Coach Meyer and watch them coach and watch them do things, that’s what they’re doing. That’s kind of in the realm of what we’re trying to do. It’s nice to have schemes or concepts. We attacked Michigan State last week differently than most people because our dynamic and our playmakers give us a chance. … What I like about coach Meyer is he’s been very innovative from what he does, but there’s a brand of football that’s toughness, attitude, playing good defense and coming at you. … That’s still the essence of football. You can window dress it all you want. Shift formation, I-formation, huddle up, not huddle, three-man, four-man, two-deep, quarters. It doesn’t matter. It’s a physical, combative game, played hard, and that’s what I think he’s got going on at Ohio State now. That’s what we’re getting to at our place is bringing the physicality and toughness. To me, it’s nice to be thinking you’re innovative, his offense is one of the premier, but if you cut all of the window dressing out, there’s fundamentals and basics that win. That’s what they do at Ohio State. That’s what we’re trying to do.”
Wilson and Meyer coached against each other twice, first in 2001 when Wilson was at Northwestern and Meyer was the head coach at Bowling Green. Wilson said Bowling Green won the game on a two-point conversion using the exact same reverse play Wilson used when the Hoosiers scored a two-point conversion on Northwestern two weeks ago. They also played in the 2009 BCS National Championship Game when Meyer was at Florida. The Gators won that game to give Meyer his second title in Gainesville.
Other notes from Wilson’s press conference
— Wilson said punter Mitchell Voss will miss several weeks with a hairline fracture in his ankle. Erich Toth will continue to be the punter.
— Wilson and all of Indiana’s coaches have gushed all weekend about Braxton Miller all week.
“He’s the guy that makes it go,” Wilson said. “Because of his ability, he’s the best runner on the field, and he’s also a guy that can throw the thing. Very seldom do you find guys who really can throw that can run or guys that can really run that can throw. He’s a little bit more of a dynamic runner than a thrower, but he throws the ball well and you have to commit so many guys up there, a little bit like you’re playing Denard Robinson. Sometimes you’re guys can get your eye off your target. You have to commit so many guys to the run, whether you’re shadowing or spying him or just canceling gaps putting people on him, as soon as somebody gets his eyes off the receiver, here comes the play-action pass and you really can get burned.”
— Wide receiver Kofi Hughes has been limited with bruising in his back after taking a hard hit in Saturday’s game. Wilson’s explanation of the injury was entertaining but also sort of difficult to interpret.
“If he was a horse, they’d have shot him,” Wilson said.”He’s lucky he’s not equestrian, because a greedy vet would’ve took him out the other day. He would’ve been long gone. He’s got a bruise, a little limited right now. We’ll see as it goes, but God bless him that God made him a man instead of an equestrian, because he would’ve been out. But he’s got a bruise. It’s a back deal, he got hit in the back on the deal, helmet to the back. It was actually by his shoulder. It looked like a kind of a glancing blow. I think he’ll be OK. He’s been a little limited the first two days, but he’ll need to get a good go tomorrow, and get rolling Thursday and get in a rhythm.”
— Linebacker Chase Hoobler still isn’t practicing because of a nerve issue in his neck/back.
“He still has not practiced coming off his neck deal,” Wilson said. “Until he gets going, he’s missed enough. My opinion now is it’s going to take him maybe a little longer to get his feet back because he’s missed three to four weeks. He’s running, and doing things but he’s not gotten the range of motion where our doctors (will clear him.)”
— Wilson was asked about the offensive inconsistency and why the Hoosiers were so good in one half the last two weeks and so bad in the other. The Hoosiers scored zero points in the first half against Northwestern, 29 in the second. Against Michigan State, they scored 27 points in the first half, zero in the second.
“I just think it’s easy to be a little bit off,” Wilson said. “Execution, play-calling, line of scrimmage, quarterback, all the guys in sync, protection run, perimeter blocking when you’re running, protection when you’re throwing, quarterback making decisions, it just takes a little bit to be off. When you’re playing a good defense, we played two teams that were decent, one of them extremely good. Those guys Saturday are pretty good. … To get what we could and work those, we got a chance. I think it was a lack of maturity, focus. it’s not a pep talk. There were some plays we ran in the second half were the same as the first half. The ball didn’t get delivered, running game wasn’t quite as good. They were gonna make it difficult to run. That was tough too, because you want to try to work the clock because you know you’re up. But part of our deal, if we’re not going fast, we’re struggling against you, we gotta go fast, so you’re sitting there, ‘how do you balance that?’ You gotta work the clock make the game slow, but you go slow, they’re teeing off coming at us. You go fast, you don’t execute, it’s 30-40 seconds and the defense is back out there. Against it’s a good defense, it’s a little bit harder. I wish there was a magic wand, magic potion. There’s plays that we’re doing sometimes work, sometimes don’t. It’s just 11 guys playing as one. When we click as one, we’re not great, but we’re pretty good. But when one guy’s a little off, it can be enough to get us out of rhythm and be third and long.”