A handful of the media had the opportunity to sit down with Coach Wilcox and talk about the 2017 football season, coaching changes, and a bit of the future. We were on hand, here are some of his answers to some of the questions asked.
Thoughts on the season and position by position grading?
We won five games. We didn’t make it to a bowl game. That’s not ok. So we have got to continue to improve. We have got to coach them better. We have to execute better. We got to play better individually. Competition will always help drive that. Nobody is sacred in our program. I’m not. No player. No coach or administrator. We’re just not. The team will always come before you—the individual. That’s what’s best for the team and makes it competitive.
Thoughts on the development of the tight ends this past season and moving forward?
It was nice to develop some of the guys in specific roles. Obviously Malik [McMorris] is his own guy.—we love him. Then there’s Gavin [Reinwald] who’s a great pass catcher. You know, Kyle [Wells] did some good things. Jake Ashton hopped in there. Add[ed] McCallan Castles (who signed his letter of intent in December). We want to have the ability to play two tight ends, if not more. You know, 12 personnel, somewhere down the line or some 13 or 22 when you get to the goal line. We just know that helps our offense.
Statuses of Ray Hudson and Tre Watson for next year?
We will know more in January. It’s really out of our hands at this point—and really out of football. So we’re waiting on that.
Thoughts on depth and injuries to starters?
You don’t want it to happen. I think its our job, too—I can’t lose my mind and start panicking and say, “Oh we’re going to change the entire system.” It’s hard for them to have confidence. So it’s “Hey, this is your job. You’ve prepared for this, now go out and do it.” We expect them to do it well. If they don’t, coach them on it.
How has Demetris Robertson progressed in his rehab?
He’s doing great. He’ll be back as soon as humanly possible.
Will Brandon McIlwain be participating in spring camp? What about other dual-sport athletes?
He will be in football. We were going to have him either way. We were talking about scheduling, to make sure we had as many dual-sport guys do both.
Thoughts on the QB group?
We have more experience. We are better because of the steps we’ve taken. The players have been in the system. Ross [Bowers] has gotten reps. The other guys haven’t. I think they’re all making each other better. We’re in a better position just because of that.
Thoughts on football alumni’s involvement in the program?
Engaging our alumni—and specifically, the football alumni—it’s really important they feel this as a source of pride for them. We got to do it in different ways—outreach, communication, representation, how we represent them—so they can be proud of us. That’s the end of it. People have busy lives, especially the guys that are still playing. That’s a powerful thing when an ex-player can come back and be on the sideline or makes a comment on social media that’s positive about the program. That helps. It helps us, it helps recruiting. It’s our job to foster that. I’m sure there are ways to improve and grow that.
You have a 24-hour rule during the season after every game. Do you have anything for the end of the season?
We had a team meeting after the season was over to kind of close things up and talk about the seniors and the impact they’ve had; we talked about our season and where was the growth and where do we have to get better. Also talked about the offseason and the actual logistics of it, what this going to look like, and the few things we have to do going forward to take the next step as a team. Some of those things are macro and some of those things are micro—player-to-player. So yeah, we had [a meeting]. You know, finishing with no bowl opportunity? Not acceptable and it leaves a really bad taste in your mouth. This will be the last time we’re ever off during Christmas break. We talked directly about that. Doesn’t mean we don’t care about them. Can’t wait to get them back to work, but they got to understand—we all got to understand—this is not good enough.
Any specific answers catch your eye? What are your thoughts on the upcoming few years under Coach Wilcox? Let us know in the comments below.