Mike Ekeler (pictured above) didn't mince words in describing Indiana's poor performance against Wisconsin. "We got our butts kicked, every phase," he said.
Linebackers coach/co-defensive coordinator Mike Ekeler has never been shy about expressing his honest opinion, and Tuesday morning post-practice was no different.
Ekeler went into detail about what went wrong against Wisconsin, who was to blame and what the Hoosiers need to do to fix it. Read his comments below.
When you went back and watched film, what went wrong? What did you see that just caused things to get out of hand against Wisconsin?
We got our butts kicked, every phase. I mean, we absolutely got our butts kicked up front, we got our butts kicked at ‘backer, on the back end, didn’t tackle. Just all the way across the board.
You know whose fault it is? It’s mine. It’s 100 percent mine. That’s why coaches get fired, for performances like that. And I’ll take 100 percent responsibility for that. Didn’t have our guys ready to play, came out and laid an egg. Our guys have fought their (tails) off all year, and we come out and play like that. One hundred percent — hey play well, it’s on them; they play bad, it’s on mine. That’s mine. I will take it. Dong everything we can that that doesn’t ever happen again here, and if it does, I’ll putting my house up for sale, because that (stuff’s) unacceptable.
Did you see this performance coming at all?
I didn’t. It’s just one of those things. When you look at it, in that game, it was 17-7, we held them to like, six yards in the second quarter, and then all of the sudden, 51 seconds left, they break that one right before half on 3rd-and-16. We had three guys right there, just a simple play; we were gapped out on defense. Three guys needed to make the damn play, didn’t make the play.
From that point on — so we go in 24-7 at half, come out second half, we had a chance, 4th-and-2, to stop them. We’re running the same blitz we ran in the first half that we messed up on. Thought we had it corrected, and should have been off the field. Should have either been a pick-six or should have been off the damn field on 4th-and-2, no ifs, ands or butts about it. We bust the same bust, and it was my guy, it was my fault.
You know what? (Coach Kevin) Wilson’s got a saying — don’t point a finger, point a thumb. I’ll take it. I’m embarrassed. I’m embarrassed with how I coached, I’m embarrassed with how I performed, and again, that’s on me. No one else. It’s me. And we’re going to come back and see who we are this week. We’ve been fighting our tails off all year, and again, that was not reflective of who we are, and that’s me.
How have you seen the guys respond in practice this week?
Good. We’ve got a great group. We’ve got a great group of seniors, great group of guys, and they’ve done a great job of leading all year. Again, you look at every single game, I’m proud of the way we’ve played every game except last week. It’s one of those deals — how are you gonna respond? You get punched in the mouth. How are you gonna respond? Are you gonna bury your head in the sand, or are you gonna come out swinging, and that’s what we’re fixing to do.
Is it a point of pride at all that this is such a seemingly abnormal performance this year, whereas last year, you guys seemed to struggle a lot defensively in particular?
Oh yea. Last year, that was every week. Last year, that was every damn week. This year, we’ve battled our tails off as a team. When things aren’t going well, our offense has carried us. When the offense maybe sputtered a little bit, we’ve picked up a little bit at times on the defensive side. You win and lose as a team, and the fact of the matter is, we stunk up our end on defense, and that’s unacceptable, and we need to fix it. Or I’ll give you a good deal on a house.
Looking at Penn State this week, it seems like their offense is pretty much nothing like the traditional Penn State offenses of the past. Is that fair to say?
Oh yea, they’ve done a phenomenal job. Their coaching staff’s done a fantastic job. They’re really, really good on offense, very multiple. Again, just with all the distractions that have happened there, they’ve done such a phenomenal job in keeping that team together, and they’re just a lot better, a better football team than what they were last year. That’s a total credit to that coaching staff.
Matt McGloin, the quarterback … how much has he improved since last you really broke him down on film?
Just immensely. The guy can make every throw. He’s got great poise. He’s got great command of the offense. He checks it off. He does everything. Rarely gets hit, because he’s so smart and he knows where to go with the ball. He’s kind of like a point guard. He just distributes it. Again, that just goes down to coaching. Whoever’s coaching him up has done a fantastic job.