Head Coach Bill Lynch's Weekly Press Conference - Nov. 1
Nov. 2, 2010
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Head Coach Bill Lynch met with members of the media on Monday to discuss last weekend's game against Northwestern and look forward to this weekend's contest against Iowa. He was joined by seniors Ben Chappell and Mitchell Evans.
Head coach Bill Lynch --
"To start off, not with the game but I want to say a couple things about guys who have received some awards here recently. Ben Chappell I haven't really spoken to it since he was named one of the finalists for the National Football Foundation Award. Having been at that banquet before, that is an unbelievable honor. It really is the elite that get an opportunity to go to that, and I think some of the awards are given out are nice but this one really is special, and I don't know of anyone more deserving.
"Tyler Replogle is up for an award too, the ARA National Sportsmanship Award, for Division I college football players. When you spend as much time with those kind of guys as we get to as football coaches, they are special people, and not only are they outstanding football players and students but they are going to be very successful when they leave here wherever their careers take them. I did want to recognize that because they both have been honored with those awards in the past week.
"The game on Saturday really was a great football game. If we weren't so invested as we are in it when you look at it, it was very good Big Ten Football game. We all can spin it how we want, but when I look at it, it was a game that was decided by one second. At the end of the first half, if we hold that guy up for a second and the clock runs out, they don't kick the field goal
"There were so many similarities in the game. There were two touchdown catches that were remarkable catches for both kids, [Jeremy] Ebert for them and Duwyce Wilson for us at the exact same area of the field under the goal post. Two field goal tries into the wind, one went through and one didn't. Both teams played really hard and for the most part played well. There weren't a lot of turnovers, both teams had a couple penalties, but it was a good hard fought Big Ten football game that we came up short.
"There were some very good performances. I thought our defense continued to improve against a good offensive football team. I think overall both against the run and the pass. From a statistical standpoint, they got some rushing yards on about three runs. We let them split us about three times where they got 16, 17, 18 yards. Other than that I thought we were really sound against the run. I thought we did a great job of chasing Persa, who is a very good football player.
"I thought our coverage was good. A kid like Greg Heban had to step in because of Adrian Burks' injury situation. Richard Council hasn't had that much practice, and I thought the way he played not only defensively, but on special teams, and other guys like that really stepped up. It was a good football game from a defensive standpoint.
"Offensively, I think the biggest thing that hurt us was in the second half not converting on some key third-down situations. They are one of the best third-down defenses in the Big Ten. I think they were 30 percent going into the game. We were sitting at halftime at 60 percent, so we were above the curve there. We didn't execute quite well enough in the second half in some key third-down situations. For the most part we took care of the ball, and it was a great effort. We had some kids that were hurting, and I'm sure that they had some kids that were hurting too because you have some of that this time of season. But, we had some kids really suck it up. It was an important football game to them and they played that way.
"With that being said, it's a new opportunity and a great challenge with Iowa coming in here that is a very good football team. Wherever they are ranked right now, they are one of the elite teams. Our guys have been competitive against Iowa. Particularly a year ago and at least our older guys two of the three years we have played them we have been competitive with them. I have great respect for them, they are a lot like Ohio State in my mind. When you start talking about Iowa, the first thing you think about is Iowa defense. They are one of the best in the country against the rush; they don't give up many points from scoring defense. They are sound outstanding football players. Their defensive front is similar to Ohio State's, in that across the board, all four guys are really, really good. They back that up with outstanding players as well.
"Offensively, [Ricky] Stanzi is having one of those kind of years. Statistically, he's like Persa in terms of accuracy and efficiency. [Adam] Robinson is a very good back and they've got good outside receivers. They don't turn the ball over, and I think that's one of the things that has made them very effective is they lead the Big Ten in turnover margin and they are right up there at the top in defense. A good football team and well coached, but I'm glad we are playing at home again and I know our guys will be excited come Saturday."
Thoughts on Richard Council's effort coming back from injury:
"I just think he is a reflection of the guys we have on this football team. It is very, very important to him. I've seen other guys in similar situations in their fifth year that have knee injury with knee surgery and that's the end of their career. They've had enough and they can kind of fade off into the sunset, so to speak, and it was out of their control. From the day he got done with that surgery, he worked as hard as you could work to get back in there, because it's important to him and he wants to be a part of this, and that's the way he worked. I was totally amazed that he would be back to play in that football game. He did and he played very well. He'll get more snaps as we go, but I think he got 15 to 20 snaps probably. That was sheer effort and wanting to be back out there."
On using Iowa game film from last year to help prepare:
"We use the first three quarters quite a bit. And then all of a sudden in the fourth quarter we don't. You always go back and look at it. We'll go back to 2005 and 2006 because their staff is the same staff. That's the quality of a great program is the consistency of which they have worked and maintained continuity of their staff, from their defensive to offensive staff. There are similarities year in and year out and I think that's what a great football program looks like. That is how they develop because the freshmen learn it and by the time they are fourth-year seniors and fifth-year seniors they've done it over and over and over again. Now if you are playing a program that changes a lot year to year or has a new staff then it doesn't mean a whole lot. But the system itself hasn't changed, so you get something out of going back, and we'll certainly go back and look at last year's game."
On challenging the offensive line to raise their physicality:
"We've challenged them every week. That is not something new because we're playing these physical football teams. Our guys understand Big Ten football, that you better line up and be physical every week. Ohio State was a very physical football team. Illinois was a very physical football team. Northwestern is a physical football team. Iowa and Wisconsin are just teams that traditionally you think of being physical. That is Big Ten football and our guys understand that."
On the play of the defense and Jeff Thomas:
"It's been something we had hoped and planned would happen. Once all of these guys started coming together and playing, we would improve. Jeff [Thomas] obviously is a big part of it. When he came in last year and went through spring practice, this was all new to him. Not only was it a new school, but think of anybody that comes from a northern California junior college to Indiana University, that is a big adjustment, taking football totally out of the picture, just the academic side and the campus and everything else. Then you mix in the football. We saw in the spring that he was going to be a good football player. Then he went home for a part of the summer and came back for the rest of the summer, got more and more acclimated with what we're doing and then playing, and he is just a football player. The play on the field has certainly helped. His leadership and the way he carries him self is part of it.
"I think it also goes with Matt Ernest playing very well on defense right now. We knew it was going to take time. We moved him from wide receiver to defensive back in the spring and he really practiced very little because he was on the baseball team. He comes back and was learning a whole new position, and we knew he would get better and he has. Mitchell Evans hadn't played safety since he was a freshman. He didn't practice in the spring because he had surgery, so we knew it was going to take time. And then the other thing was with Darius Johnson and solidifying what we were going to do at ends. Darius we knew was going to be a very good player but he missed last year because of injury, so that was going to take time. And then finding the other guy, and that is where Terrence Thomas has really emerged and played very well. That being said, there were a lot of moving pieces that needed to work together. Fortunately, other than Richard, we've stayed pretty healthy, so they've practiced together everyday and gotten better. So, we have gotten better and Jeff Thomas has been a big part of it. Those other pieces have been important too. Another guy is Donnell Jones. He was at corner and all of a sudden he is a safety, so that was another guy that had to get acclimated to playing safety. "
On Darius Johnson's performance this season:
"He has really played well. I think if you ask the guys in this room, from a defensive standpoint, Darius has been a big part of it. He's a really good player. He's explosive, he is strong, and he can really run. He's one of those guys that can run sideline to sideline, and that's important on any good defense to have that guy. He is high energy. The position he's playing really fits him because he plays up so he can play the run, rush the passer, and drop into coverage. We're a more flexible defense and we can do more things because of him and how he plays."
On the timing of punting:
"You would like to be under 2.2. If you can be quick enough to be right around two seconds, that would be great. We've been probably not as consistent as we need to be. The one Saturday, the ball took us a little bit too far and just didn't get back to what we call `the block point,' where we're protected with the wall. We got a little bit too far so a guy just threw his arm up. We'll get that corrected."
On rotating James Brewer in and out of the game:
"We need James Brewer back in there. I think from an offensive standpoint, we lost Brewer at a critical time, going into the Big Ten. He is a different maker. There aren't many of those guys out there. He was one of those guys that sucked it up Saturday and went. Probably wasn't totally ready, and that is why we rotated him in there. But, we need him in there because he is a great football player. We lost a couple guys at the same time. We lost him at the same time we lost Darius Willis. That is a part of the game, and I think the guys that have filled in have played well. It is important that we get James back in there from an offensive line standpoint."
On running the ball:
"Statistically some of that is misleading, in that there are some things in our passing game where it is a decision made after the ball is snapped to see the coverages. Some of the wide receiver screens. Some of the other things that we do. I don't have that number, but I would bet there were 10 of those that were called that ended up being thrown and not run. So it is not necessarily run calls. The other thing to follow up on that. The fourth quarter kind of got away from us. I think we only ran the ball twice in the fourth quarter. That became a product of the score. We had the ball and we had a drive, got stopped and punted. They went on a lengthy drive that resulted in a field goal, and then we had a three and out. That was what hurt us. That three and out after their field goal with seven minutes to go. Then we gave it back and they went on another nice drive before we stopped them, but they chewed up the clock. That was part of the cause. We've got to run the ball more efficiently."
Senior safety Mitchell Evans --
On Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi:
"I think looking at their offense it's just such a balanced attack. They can throw it, they can run it so you have to look at the whole picture as opposed to Northwestern because they love to throw the ball. That quarterback can run around a little bit and work their running game off of their passing game. Every down you are up there guessing and that's why they upset the undefeated Spartans last week."
On Indiana's defensive improvement in recent weeks:
"I think we're really gaining confidence and jelling as a group. We love to go out there and play together, so I think that's a huge thing when it comes to defense. If you're out there having fun and just enjoying your time with the guys and have each other's back, then that's a big thing. I like where we are going and there is still a lot to do. We gave up three too many points last week so we can do a little bit better."
On improved tackling:
"One thing you notice is that we have limited the big plays in the last few weeks. We had good plays in our first couple of weeks but I think it got overshadowed by those big plays. We have eliminated those and I think now people are starting to realize how good of a defense we really can be. We work on tackling every week and I think that is a big reason for it."
On gaining confidence well into the season:
"The reps always help out. That's why you always have to get mental reps. Once you get out there it's a whole new game. I think just settling in has a lot to do with it but I won't make any excuses. At the beginning of the season I had as much confidence in myself as I do now. I definitely think I have enough confidence in myself to make plays like at the beginning of the season."
On playing against an accurate quarterback:
"If you look at accuracy, last week we played a guy that is leading the nation in completion percentage, so I guess that is a good warm-up. It just comes down to positioning, keeping your leverage, being disciplined on routes and not falling for double moves. The only thing I can do is hope I put myself in the best position possible."
On the challenges Iowa presents:
"They put up 37 points against Michigan State. It's that threatening offense that you can't just focus on one key because it's such a balanced attack. He keeps you on your toes the whole game. In the past we have done a good job preparing for Iowa and I think the coaches will have another great game plan this week."
Senior quarterback Ben Chappell --
On last week:
"I actually haven't watched it yet. I didn't get out of bed much yesterday so I am going to watch it after I get done talking to you guys and move on. Obviously it was a tough loss. It was second week in a row where the offense didn't play well enough and the defense played great. I think what I said after the game stands, it's just execution."
On extra rest this weekend:
"I think I needed it. That was a tough loss. It was a game that again we didn't play well enough to win and the defense did. You have to move on eventually so we'll watch it today and the practice field today will be on to Iowa."
On the wind's factor:
"It was weird. The wind was blowing very hard. Since we put the new North End Zone I think that's the worst it has been. It was interesting the way it worked out too, we actually deferred which we had done to try and get the wind. So we had the wind in the first and fourth quarters when we had barely any time of possession and we had the ball almost the entire second and third quarter and we were going into the wind. It didn't work out the best for us but again that's something outside of our own execution that we can't blame. It was kind of interesting how it worked out."
On Iowa's defense:
"Obviously being later in the season, I've been able to watch them on TV. I have a great respect for their program and for their defense especially. It's a team that we have played the last four years and had some really good games against them. They have a great front and the guys in the secondary always seem to be around the ball. I haven't gotten into them too much on film yet but I'm sure it's going to be 4-3 Cover-2. That's pretty much what they do so I doubt they will change for us. That's one of those things that is a little bit different than what we have had the last couple of weeks because they are going to line up and do what they do. We just have to get prepared and get ready for a very tough challenge."
On having James Brewer back last Saturday:
"It was great just having him on the field as much as he can and as much as we can. Obviously it helped the offense tremendously so we'll continue to try and get him healthy and keeping the other guys working to and maintaining their confidence because they're out there busting too. Brewer is my guy. I feel comfortable behind him, no question. He's a great football player and I love how much he's improved. We're roommates and have been roommates forever, that's my dude, so he'll be back and I know he's out there doing everything he can."
On whether it has set in that this will be his last home game:
"No it hasn't really. It is, and it's been a long five years but it has gone by fast. It's crazy."