Signing Day Press Conference Transcript

    Go Hoosiers! Indiana head coach Bill Lynch met with the media to discuss the 19 student-athletes in the 2008 signing class.
    Go Hoosiers!
    Indiana head coach Bill Lynch met with the media to discuss the 19 student-athletes in the 2008 signing class.
    Go Hoosiers!

    Feb. 6, 2008

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Head Coach Bill Lynch

    Opening Statement:
    "Obviously, this is a big day for us, and it is the culmination of a lot of work. In some cases, a couple years of work with some of these guys. We really are pleased. There weren't any surprises, and really there weren't any surprises going down the stretch, which I think is a great credit to our staff and the support that we've gotten in this program. From the time we went through the season and the transition, from where these guys originally verbally committed in the summer, they all stayed firm. We picked up a few really good ones through the wintertime, and again they stayed with us. You never know once you get into late January and early February. We signed 17. We had two that are already here, who came in January. That is a total of 19, which is right on the number that we were trying to get. I really do think we improved ourselves. Most of you who have followed us and heard us talk, know that we have constantly tried to upgrade the athleticism and the speed in the football program. That is what we did again today.

    "I'm a little bit of an old-school guy. When I started playing football, on a football staff you had a line coach and backfield coach. That is kind of what we did. We recruited eight linemen, and they all are very, very versatile. Several of them play both ways, and I really think are capable of playing on either side of the ball here, even though we have them kind of penciled in on one side or the other. I think, in our program, we are looking for versatile guys that can fit the right spots. With what is commonly referred to as the skill guys, we signed 10 of those. It is a really athletic, fast group. Even though you break them down into running backs or DBs or wide receivers, you'll see as we go through this, most of them play various places. Of the 10, I believe eight of them are really good track athletes, that have verifiable times, whether it is in the sprints, 200 meters, 400 meters, hurdlers, long jumpers, triple jumpers. So, we really have an athletic group.



    "Certainly in that group, are a couple local guys that we worked so hard to get, that we're excited about. Darius Willis, obviously of Franklin Central, that was a big catch for us. Tandon Doss is another one there from Ben Davis. Those, I think, are really, really outstanding athletes out of the Metro area. Darius obviously is a running back, and he is the kind of running back we're looking for, a big, strong, physical kid that you can hand it to, and a guy that can be a punishing type runner that we certainly need. But also, he has got verifiable track times. He is a guy that has an interest in doing that at this level if it would work out. He is a really quality guy.

    "Tandon Doss is the same way from over there at Ben Davis. He is a wideout on our board, but he played running back quite a bit there and he has great speed and is a real playmaker. I think because they are from the Indianapolis metropolitan area and many of you have heard about and seen them.

    "I really like the quarterback we got, Adam Follett. He is a big, rangy guy with a really good arm. He was at our camp, so we saw him throw in person. It seems like he just keeps getting bigger and bigger. I saw him play basketball last week. I know he is a great rebounder. He had 19 rebounds the night I was there. He has got to work on his free-throw shooting, but he is a good rebounder. He can throw it, and he is athletic. I think that is something we're looking for. It is kind of a unique group in that we have eight lineman, 10 backs and a quarterback, which is right down the line of when we got things started."

    On the height of the receivers in the recruiting class:
    "Things really run in cycles. If you look at the NFL right now, they're all looking for Plaxico Burresses. That is the hot thing. We can say that, but we would take a bunch of Ray Fishers too. I don't think that we really are saying that that is what we have to have, but if you can find those guys that have that kind of size and are athletic and versatile, then you're certainly going to recruit them, and that is just kind of what we found. It started with Marquelo (Suel) and Tandon (Doss), that we've been recruiting a long time.

    "Then Tyler Adetona and Charles Love, we got tape on them and were watching them this time last year, and really, wow. Those guys are really good. We had coaches that were going to recruit that area, but we didn't really know them, so until you can develop a relationship with them, you don't know. Gerald Brown, who was recruiting Memphis, did that with Charles, and Bobby Johnson, who was recruiting the Gainesville area, did it with Tyler and got them to come visit. Once they came, we felt like it was a great match, and they enjoyed it. I can't just say we were going out and saying we need this size of wide receivers. We really didn't do that. It just so happened that that is what we found."

    On Darius Willis's experience in the spread offense:
    "He is a football player. I think sometimes the spread has a little bit of a stigma to it, but high school football is spread offense now. You see very few I-formation teams. You still see some Wing-T, that is unique, but the Pro-style in high school offense, you don't see too much anymore. You don't see too many quarterbacks underneath center anymore. It is just kind of the vogue thing, and it really is in college football. There are a lot of different kinds of spread. We're a spread that has been really a passing team. We made a conscious effort this year to run the ball better. We're going to make a conscious effort this spring to continue to run the ball better. Getting a big, strong, physical back will certainly help us."

    On which members of the class will contribute in the coming season:
    "You just don't know. There is kind of good news, good news to that. One is I think some of these guys are going to be physical enough that they can come in and play for us right away. You get an idea who is going to get in that weight room and develop up a little bit before you throw him into Big Ten football or if a guy is physical enough. I think the good news is we've got guys that will be physical enough, but the other good news is I think we've got more depth on our football team right now, that you don't look at a spot and say we've got to have help right away. I think that is the good part of it, we've developed more depth at more spots.

    "An example, one of the things you might look at and say is you had two senior corners and you didn't recruit a true corner. The answer to that is having those bowl practices really helps you because you get the chance to practice, and some of our young guys really kind of jumped out at us playing corner - Donnell Jones, Chris Adkins, Adrian Burks. Some of those young guys who haven't played much, and it was like, `these guys can play.' It wasn't such a pressing need as we've got to get a true corner. So what we did was, we went and got as many good athletes as we could find. Like (Peter) St. Fort, he could be a safety and could play a corner. We have some of those kind of guys. I wouldn't sit here and say this guy is going to play right away, but I think there are some that certainly could. I think opportunity will really present itself in different ways, and you don't know how that will play itself out between now and August. I do think there are kids physical enough and fast enough that they could come in and play."

    On Mick Mentzer:
    "I don't think he'll play linebacker, but he could play offensive line. If you ask him, he'd like to play fullback. Mick is a really good athlete, and we're going to start him on the defensive line, but he could play offensive line for us. Bobby Johnson would take him too. It is interesting when you recruit guys, you've got your position coaches that are very involved in what they are doing, and I can honestly say Mentzer and (Nicholas) Sliger that we've got them penciled in on the defensive side, but Bobby Johnson, the O-Line coach, would take either one of them, and probably Larry Black as well."

    On rankings:
    "I'm sure the younger guys on our staff, they study that stuff. They're more in tune to all that. I don't really pay attention to it. And, someone would say he is just saying that, but honestly you could ask the young guys and they would say, `Not only does he not pay attention to it, he wouldn't know how to get access to it.' I think the key thing in recruiting is evaluation. You need to evaluate needs that you have in your program and what you need to be successful. I think it goes no further than you study the NFL and each of those teams put together their teams very differently. Everybody has their own way of doing it. I don't think there is any magical formula.

    "I think if you would spend your time recruiting where you just chased guys with stars or whatever, you would just be chasing names and bodies. We have a pretty systematic approach to what we are looking for, how we are going to go looking for them and how we are going to recruit them, and we feel good about it. I think we've got to win on Saturdays. I can sit and talk on Feb. 6, and it doesn't mean anything.

    "I think over the last couple of years, we've kept the same philosophy in our recruiting and how we've gone about it. I think we've become a better football team and we've got more depth and more speed. That is the approach we've taken. So, if those people don't get those rankings, which I guess is you accumulate the stars, that's what your rank is. I really don't concern myself with it. I'm sure it is a good read, and I think it is great that it creates interest in college football all year round, and I'm all for that.

    "I don't think we can concern ourselves with [rankings]. We've got to get the guys that can play for us and help us win. I think you are always looking for the right fit, and each year is a little bit different probably. We never start out the process saying our goal is to finish in this area of the country in recruiting. Our goal is we need so many of this and so many of that, and we want good character kids that can come here and be successful at Indiana. I really doesn't concern me all that much."

    On Cortez Smith
    "I think a lot of schools recruited him as a DB. I can't say which schools in particular we're talking about, but he has got those kind of feet and he has got that kind of speed. We throw on the tape and we watched him do a lot of different things. Most of those guys we saw them do different things on both sides of the ball. He was the same way. The only one that they didn't move around too much was Darius (Willis)."

    On possible additions to the class:
    "We're always looking. There are a couple. I don't anticipate anything happening in the near future, but there are still a couple guys. You go through the winter program and you get into the spring. You always keep looking. Donnell Jones came along that way. We found him last spring. He hadn't signed anywhere and he was available. He is going to be a really good player for us. There are still a couple that we will continue to recruit."

    On how technology has affected the difficulty of recruiting:
    "I don't think it makes any difference. We could sit here and tell you recruiting stories from through the years, and they are different stories, but it is the same deal. It is just a different way of going about it. It is still recruiting."

    On recruits attending the team's camp:
    "Of the nineteen kids, we didn't actually work with Kyle Kozak. We didn't actually work with Shane Covington. We didn't actually work with Tyler Adetona or Charles Love. Darius didn't come to a camp, but that was a no-brainer. Tandon didn't come to a camp but that was a no-brainer. I don't know exactly, but lets put it this way, I think 15-20 years ago, you took flyers on guys more. You went strictly on a high school tape and maybe a high school coach's evaluation, and maybe getting in and watching a game and getting sold on them. Now, we're more educated, and I don't think there are as many surprises once they get here. These guys coming in, I think we have a pretty good idea of what they're going to do and how they fit and how they test.

    "I'm not sure if you are a national recruiting school, you can do as much as we can. And I think that's the beauty of what we're doing. Now from a philosophical standpoint, we like what we are doing in the sense that we are generally going to look to get about two thirds of our class from Big Ten country. If we can get a good number from Indiana, that's where it starts. And then when I say Big Ten country, I mean we want to be good in Chicago and Michigan and we've got great ties in Ohio. And finally, if you take that, where we are recruiting is straight south. We are a little bit in Tennessee and then hard in Atlanta and Florida. It a little bit harder to get the kids from (Georgia and Florida) to come to your camp, but you can certainly get the kids from the Midwest to come."


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