Progress. Chipping away. Getting better every day.
Throughout the press conference, Coach Wilson, offensive coordinator Seth Litrell, and co-defensive coordinator Mike Ekeler emphasized this language. Each coach made it clear, the result against Ball State wasn’t the win they wanted, but they are improving day-to-day, week-to-week, and they are happy with the direction of the team. Wilson stated, “The thing I know is, we’re going to be successful this week, because everyday I see us practicing. Now are we going to get the W we want? I don’t know, but successfully we are getting a little better every day and chipping at it.” Below are the main points of the press conference:
As the Hoosiers attempt to fill the void left behind by the season-ending injury to starting quarterback Tre Roberson, sophomore Cameron Coffman and true freshman Nate Sudfeld were both successful against Ball State, each throwing for two touchdowns and no interceptions. Offensive Coordinator Seth Litrell confirmed that Coffman is back and ready to go for Saturday’s game against Northwestern. Coach Wilson stated that Coffman will get the start, making it known that it is not a quarterback controversy, stating, “We got confidence in both of them; I don’t think it’s a controversy; they’re both good; they’re both similar; they’re both young. Right now, Cam has a little more experience and we’ll go with him.” Although it’s not a controversy, Wilson did comment that competition is welcomed, “Nate is getting better and that makes Cam get better, competition is a good thing.”
Tre Roberson Update:
Though Roberson will not be able to contribute on the field this season, he is remaining involved with the offense and will continue to sit in the booth with Offensive Coordinator Seth Littrell during the games. Litrell stated that having Tre in the booth with him gives him another set of eyes, and will hopefully give him a different perspective on the game. Coach Wilson also showed optimism about Tre and his injury, saying that just a little more than two weeks after surgery he is already walking without a boot. Wilson commented, “He said he is supposed to jogging on it next week, so that’s kind of amazing.”
Upcoming Game Against Northwestern:
Defensive coordinator Mike Ekeler gave high praise to the Wildcats and their three-headed rushing attack, which ranks 27th in the nation, averaging 221.3 yards per game. Ekeler commented, “The running game is fantastic, and they get them the ball in a variety of ways.” He also complimented the O-line, saying they are experienced and physical. Their running attack is lead by Venric Mark, who is averaging 99.8 yards per game. Mark also makes an impact in special teams—Wilson regarded him as one of the best return men in the country. Wilson stated on their run game, “It all starts with a group that no one talks about; they really play good at the line of scrimmage.” Wilson added that controlling that line of scrimmage and slowing down their run game—as they did to Ball State’s backs last week—will be key.
Wilson Returns to Evanston:
For Coach Wilson, Saturday marks the first game as a head coach for which he returns to his old stomping grounds—a place where he coached for three years and was an important chapter in his career. Wilson made it clear though that his focus is on getting a victory. Wilson stated, “Things that happened there impacted my life in a very positive way and I am grateful and respect that; at the same time, trust me, I got an edge about this game, because I want our kids to learn how to win Big Ten games, and this is a game that we need to put our best foot forward and go out and win a football game.” His players are going to need that same edge to knock off the Wildcats, a team that is on the brink of being a top-25 team, coming in with the most votes in both the AP and Coaches poll of teams outside the top 25. The Hoosiers hope to keep them on the outside looking in.