They said on the broadcast that Wilton had a couple broken vertebrae. Is he out for the year and can you comment on that?
“Multiple weeks. I don’t know that he’ll be out for the year.”
The vertebrae part is accurate though?
“Yeah, there’s some cracks in there. Yeah. And not a doctor, but think it’s similar to…yeah, I don’t want to say. Yes.”
After watching the film, would you have liked to have gotten the ball to Karan Higdon more? He was averaging 5.5 yards per carry. Should he have gotten the ball more, especially in the rain and the wind?
“Uh, yeah, he had—Karan played well.”
But no answer to my question?
“What do you—you want to question the play-calling? That usually is the case when something doesn’t work, so…”
But you don’t question that, how much he got the ball there or don’t want to with us?
“No. What I want to do is yeah, I want to look at the film, I want to learn from it. I’m not gonna get into questioning the play-calling.”
[SID calls on next person]
“It’s a very convenient thing, right? Play worked and hey, it was a great play because it worked. Play doesn’t work: would you wish you had done something else, had a different play call? Sure, that’s very easy to do. That’s a very—hindsight is 20/20.”
Just thought maybe there was something I was missing.
“That’s a standard question that when a play works, hey, great play call. You run a third-down draw against Florida and it works: hey, great call. You call a play that doesn’t work: would you wish you would have called a different play? That’s a very easy thing to do.”
[After THE JUMP: finding the offense’s identity, Indiana’s defensive standouts, and the final say on play-calling]
Simplistic in 20/20 and hindsight but is it entirely wrong to question play-calling?
“No, it’s your right to do.”
Do you disagree with it?
“I think that’s what people do. It’s just a fact of what anybody does. We should have throw it or should have run it; if you threw it and it didn’t work, you wish you would have run it. If you ran it and it didn’t work then hey, would have been better to throw it, and you’d be right.”
Do you do the same thing as a coach? Do you say, well, we did make the wrong play call here?
“No. You go through it and you look at where you can make corrections and where you can make improvements.”
After being able to watch the film, what’s your assessment of John at quarterback and is he still going to be your quarterback going forward?
“Yes. Again, we’ll go through it, make corrections, make improvements, and move on.”
I don’t want to compare season to season but in the past we kind of knew what this offense’s foundation and backbone was, whether it was the Power play or whatever it might be. Do you think you have one right now through five games or maybe not all the way to where you want it?
“Yeah, in the process of doing that.”
Has it been more difficult because they’re young and coming along or just not as fast as you would like? You say it’s a process but is it not where it should be or where you want it to be?
“Yeah, we had a ballgame that, you know, stuff happens. Things happen. We had fumbles, we had turnovers, we had things that just occur. We had a shotgun snap to their quarterback, he fumbles and then picks up a critical first down. Things happen during the course of a game and you don’t necessarily know why they’re happening but they keep happening and that’s where you go back and you learn from it, you look at it, you make corrections, and you move on with the mindset of not letting it happen again.”
I’m wondering if you’ve made a decision on the right tackle or whether that will be something that will happen during the week?
“Listen, I can understand there being a quarterback question, there being a quarterback controversy. We never really discuss a right tackle or a guard or a center controversy. To answer your question exactly the way you asked the question, yes, we’ll look at that during the week.”
Given the defense’s performance through the first five games, is there a sense with them yet as the offense has struggled of frustration or waiting for the offense to come? What is your feeling from them right now as far as having to carry the load?
“I don’t sense—no, we’re not frustrated. We look forward to getting back today and doing everything on both sides of the ball and special teams to contribute to a victory. We’re fortunate to have an opponent to play this week and opportunities ahead of us.”
As a coach, I don’t want to use the word ‘frustrating’ but when you look at the way the defense has been able to perform but still the offense not catching up, what is your thought about that?
“I answered your question. Not frustrated. Attacking this week’s opportunity.”
People in the fanbase but a lot of weight on beating Michigan State and Ohio State. Do you put any weight on winning those rivalry games as compared to normal games?
“Yes, we do.”
Are you concerned with your record in them to date?
“The record is what the record is. I mean, well aware of what the record is. Against Michigan State and Ohio State we’re 1-4. The record against all other opponents is 23-3. We know what the records are. We want to win those games. We want to win every game we play. We want to win ‘em all, and most importantly, we want to win this one, our next game.”
Ty Isaac and Chris Evans have had some costly fumbles over the last few weeks. How concerning is that for you and who would you say has a leg up at that position moving forward?
“Again, just like the previous question, we’ll evaluate that during the week.”
I wonder what you see as the primary challenges vis-a-vis Indiana this week and what they present to you.
“Yeah, very good football team. In fact, very competitive games with them. I think they’ve played very well. They’re playing very good this year, especially at home. Very good football team. That’s what we’re doing today, we’re making those preparations.”
What players and what numbers jump out so far on the Hoosiers when you take a look at them offensively and defensively?
“No. 16, excellent cover corner. No. 8, very athletic, fast linebacker. Again, another—tough safeties. Movement up front in the defensive line, stout. No. 4, another very good linebacker. Very good defense. Very athletic. Tough.”
I know you say week to week every game is the same, but given the loss Saturday, the Indiana game, is there an extra premium put on it or a little bit of extra motivation going into this week?
“Yeah, we’ve already felt the next game is the most important game and that’s our next game.”
Is there nothing--
“110% as opposed to 100%? I guess we could have that debate but 100% focused on them.”
About the play-calling, you talked about on the radio a couple weeks ago with Pep, but what is the hierarchy? Is it Pep [Hamilton] and Tim [Drevno] call the plays and you’re third, I think you said? How does that work?
“Yeah, we call the plays together as a staff. The final say, I have the final say, the final say of the play-calling.”