Coach Lynch Talks to the Media About Signing Class

    Go Hoosiers! Indiana head coach Bill Lynch took time to speak with the media on Wednesday about the 2010 Indiana football recruiting class.
    Go Hoosiers!
    Indiana head coach Bill Lynch took time to speak with the media on Wednesday about the 2010 Indiana football recruiting class.
    Go Hoosiers!

    Feb. 3, 2010

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    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana head coach Bill Lynch took time to speak with the media on Wednesday about the 2010 Indiana football recruiting class. A transcript is below.

    Head coach Bill Lynch

    "It is obviously a big day for us as a football program, and it is a culmination of a lot of work. Those of you who cover it so closely understand that so much of the work is done a year ago. My wife came home last night and said, `What are you doing?' I was writing recruiting notes for the 2011 class, so you are always working a year ahead. This class was one without any surprises, which is good. We really like the group. It is a bigger group than we've had with 25 new guys, and we signed 21 today because four of them are already here.

    "Of the four that are already here, two of them are junior college and signed in December, Lenyatta Kiles, a corner from southern California, and Jeff Thomas, a linebacker from northern California. They're here and what we've seen of them and what I've heard from Mark Wateska in the weight room, and we'll get fully engaged in the winter program now that we're back from the road recruiting, they really have fit in well and fill needs that we have from a defensive standpoint at both linebacker and corner. The other two young men that graduated in December and came, Jack Denton, a linebacker from Zionsville, Ind. He certainly has fit in. He was a two-way player in high school, both an offensive player and defensive. Really he played more offense, but we're playing him at linebacker. Antonio Banks, a running back from Middletown, Ohio. Jack and Antonio were committed all the way back in the summertime. They are here.

    "Twenty more signed today. It really has been interesting how the recruiting has gone. We signed Andre Kates. Andre is a junior college guy, but he was the first commitment. He was the one that committed way back in early May a year ago. He is a great kid and a very talented young man, and one that I think is going to be a good fit here. I'm certain that he is going to have an opportunity to come in here and compete. I think that he is going to be good for our program. He is a talented guy and a guy that has got a great personality. I think he'll add a lot to our football program.



    "Twenty high school kids signed today, and then add Denton and Banks and it makes 22. Of the 22 high school kids, 21 of them were here for an extended period of time last summer, and that is why it is so important in our recruiting that we get them on campus. I think our staff does a tremendous job of going out and evaluating and finding kids that fit what we're looking for here at Indiana. I think that is so important. They have to be talented enough to win in the Big Ten, but they have to fit what our needs are in a given year and fit what we're trying to do. I think we did a great job, and getting them on campus in the summertime is a big boost. They were all committed, other than two, before we ever started practice in August, before they started their high school practice. We added Chase Hoobler, who we had offered earlier, but he committed the first week in December, and then Paul Phillips committed the first week of January although he had been here last summer.

    "That part of it is different than probably the old days. I think our staff did a great job of holding on to the commitments. I think what I like about it is the opportunity to really get to know them as we go through this process. It used to be you spent the whole part of the process selling, selling, selling, and once you've got them committed, it is a much more relaxed environment where you just get to know them. I said this to the staff. I worked through Friday night in terms of home visits, and when we got together on Monday, I told them, `I can't remember the end of a recruiting year with such a big class, where I feel so good about the kids that are coming.' We knew they were talented, that is not the issue, but the more you get to know them, the more comfortable you are with their character, their families, their work ethic, their commitment and knowing that they really want to come to Indiana University. So that is something that I'm really excited about."

    On projecting positions for two-way players:
    "I think that's the challenge of coaching and that's what we have to do. We've spent a lot of time talking about these guys. It goes back to when we get them on our campus and we get a chance to work with them, then we really know what we're talking about versus just watching a grainy high school tape or sending a guy on the road that really just gets to see him one time in the fall. And that one night the guy gets hurt the first play, you don't get much of an evaluation. Or on a rainy night to watch a quarterback, you don't get much of an evaluation.

    "Getting them here on campus certainly helps, and we get a chance to work with them so we can kind of predict where they will fit. I think that's what we really do differently in recruiting. We really staff recruit every kid. We have geographical areas but once we lock in and we decide we are going to offer a kid a scholarship, we all recruit. We all feel like we have an investment in them. I think then we really have a good idea that he may play here but we think he could fit here. And then we talk about it.

    "And with each kid I really do this. I ask kids, `Where do you want to play, where do you really want to play,' and we'll start them out where they really want to play. Some of the guys are where they are because that's where they really want to play. If it works, then great, we all win. If it doesn't, then we may try to move you to one of the other positions.

    "That's also the beauty of our philosophy of redshirting. You get to see where they're best going to fit as they develop into the bodies and end up being a Big Ten football player. Each one is a bit different whether he's offensive line or defense line. It's pretty easy at corner and safety because once you decide which side of the ball it's a little bit different. And then the next thing is when you have a linebacker and you put his hand in the ground to play defensive end. Some kids can't make that move but you never really know. But you try to predict where they may fit."

    On how well needs were addressed:
    "I think pretty well in the sense that we got six DBs, and we lost five defensive backs, so we are good at DB. We felt like we needed two guys that were a little bit older so we got the two junior-college corners. We felt fortunate there and the same thing at linebacker losing a lot of linebackers and we have several of them coming in. I thought that was important.

    "We had taken four offensive linemen the year before so we weren't as concerned with that, plus Marlandez Harris and Pete Bachman both played offensive line so if it didn't work out at defensive line, they could come over and play offensive line.

    "I get myself concerned with making sure we have enough bigs. A big guy is a tackle-to-tackle on offense or a defensive tackle on defense. A defensive end can be a guy that fits a linebacker or tight end, that kind of thing. It's important to me to make sure we have the right kind of guys in the program and then we'll find the right spots.

    "We lost a couple of running backs and so we needed some there. We took two quarterbacks a year ago, so Kofi Hughes was perfect for what we were looking for, a guy that can play quarterback but is also an athletic guy that can do some other things. We've got some good young wideouts but we wanted to replenish it so [Logan] Young and [Tim] O'Conner fit that. We lost two tight ends in [Troy] Wagner and [Brian] Zematis who were bigger kids so [Paul] Phillips certainly helps there and [LeNeil] Himes can be a big tight end or a receiving tight end. From that standpoint, I think we did very well."

    On whether the kicking game was a need:
    "That was not a need, we felt. Hagerup has got two years left, and I think one thing we forget about Chris is that he had ACL surgery on his kicking knee and couldn't really go in the spring. If you stop and think about that, it wasn't that bad of a year and he has two years left. You don't want to stockpile kickers and punters. [Nick] Freeland had a pretty good year and we have [Mitch] Ewald that we redshirted. That's wasn't a position of need this year, so I think we covered ourselves very well.

    "When we go out and recruit junior-college guys we have to be careful. We have to go out and get the right guys for the right positions, so I think we were fortunate to get two corners and a middle linebacker. We didn't need an outside linebacker, we needed a middle linebacker, because that's not what we have a lot of. That's what [Matt] Mayberry was and certainly what [Will] Patterson could do, but Will played on the outside a lot. I think we were fortunate to get a lot of positions that we needed."

    On whether more recruits will play next season than did last season:
    "I don't know. I think the three JC kids will be thrown in. They're going to play. We're going to move some guys from other spots on the team to get some older guys in some positions of need, and that's the beauty of the spring. We will try it in the spring and if it doesn't work, we will move them back and then see how the freshmen are.

    "Philosophically, we haven't changed our approach. In terms of if a kid's going to play, he is going to be a starter or be close to a starter and play all the time, because one of the other things we really feel good about is how we've recruited the last three years. We feel like we have some players in the program that could swap positions and help us immediately in the spring."

    On position changes:
    "We have talked to some of them. Mitchell Evans is going to go over to defense. He won't practice in the spring because he had some surgery, but he started for us as a freshman. We're going to try Matt Ernest at corner. He's a really good athlete, a physical guy, a quick guy who really played good on special teams late in the year. Now, that's the beauty of the spring because if it doesn't work, he'll just go back and play receiver. Plus, he is going to pitch [for the baseball team] in the spring so he's going to have a busy spring. But that's the beauty of a guy who's in his third year in school, he can handle all of that. It would be overwhelming to these young guys but for Matt its just like, `Let's go.' And he played it in high school. Those are probably the two main guys from a defensive standpoint that would jump out at you. There may be a few other things that we are still debating as a staff."

    On the process of high school signees enrolling early:
    "Some places do a lot of it, probably more down south. We do not do that. Both of those guys [Jack Denton and Antonio Banks] we recruited last spring, they committed during the summer and then somewhere last fall they said they were going to do it. Banks probably decided before Denton, but I don't know that for a fact. It was their decision that that was what they were going to do. And that's fine. You just have to have enough scholarships available when you bring them in at mid-year.

    "I do think that some places around the country are really, really encouraging guys to do that. I'm a little bit old school that there is something special about your senior year in high school, and I wouldn't as a football coach feel right about saying `you guys have got to give up some of those things.' But, if they want to do it, that is different. Everybody is a little bit different about that."

    On the recruits that suffered injuries during their high school seasons:
    "(Pete) Bachman and (Tim) O'Conner will be fine for the fall. (Shaquille) Jefferson and (Xavier) Whitaker, like anybody that has a knee injury, it is hard to sit here and say where they are going to be in the fall. We feel pretty good that they'll be able to go, but if not, that is the beauty of redshirting too. I think anytime you have a knee injury and go through surgery, it is hard to say exactly when they'll be ready to go. The other guys should be in good shape."

    On the health of the players returning:
    "We had a few clean-up surgeries. [Mitchell Evans'] was more major. The guys who were a little bit more major were Mitchell and Terrance Thomas, where they will not practice in the spring. And then, Zach Davis-Walker had some surgery that will make him a little iffy for the spring. The other ones are slowed a little bit in the weight room and that kind of thing, but they should be good to go by the spring."

    On emphasizing recruiting in the state of Ohio:
    "Ohio is a good football state and it is a big state. If we have 300 high schools playing football in the state of Indiana, they probably have 800. So, it is just a numbers game. Ohio has been good for us because our three lead recruiters over there, Bobby Johnson, Brian George and Mike Yeager, all played high school football in Ohio, all played college football in Ohio and all coached college football in Ohio, so we've got a pretty good go there.

    "We've got guys in the right geographical areas. We've got those three guys that all have done that and they are all in the areas where they grew up. Bobby grew up in Akron, he is in northeast Ohio. Brian grew up in central Ohio, he is in central Ohio and western Pennsylvania. Yeager grew up in Cincinnati, he is in Cincinnati. It is like here in the state, Billy Lynch and Kyle Conner played high school football, college football and have coached in the state, so they have Indiana. George Ricumstrict is from Michigan and played high school football and college football. He has done a great job in Michigan over the last several years. Matt Canada recruited Wisconsin for years while he was at Northern Illinois, so we try to put guys in the areas where they know high school coaches and have connections.

    "But, I don't think it is coincidence, because we're going to recruit Ohio hard, but we don't have a quota that this is how many we're going to take out of each state. We didn't take as many out of Indiana as we normally do or would like to. Every year it is a little bit different."


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