Feb. 24, 2009
Indiana head football coach Bill Lynch talked to the media following Tuesday morning's 6 a.m. workout. Click here to listen to what Lynch had to say.
Here is a partial transcript from Coach Lynch's media gathering:
On the schedule:
"Obviously, you guys are up on the schedule, who we are playing and when we are playing. I think it is a good schedule. I think playing the Thursday night Eastern Kentucky game is going to be good for us. I think it is going to be a good head start to the season, and we're doing something a little bit different. The students are going to be back on campus, and we can create a little bit of excitement. I think that is going to be positive. Obviously, Virginia is going to be a great challenge, but I think it is going to be a really good game for us playing a good team out of the ACC. We're all set with that. At the signing day, we weren't set, so we couldn't really talk about it."
On the team's injuries:
"Most of it is carryover from the season. Obviously, all the ACL surgeries were injuries that happened in the fall, and they're really all doing great. When we get to spring practice, we'll probably hold most of them from full contact, but they'll be doing quite a bit of the work. We're going to be smart with them. (Chris) Hagerup's was a lingering one that he has had for some time. That is kind of how it came about. Long term for us, everybody just thought it was best to just get it taken care of. He is in good shape for the fall, and obviously going through a season and competing the way he did, for his long term and how they do it, the medical people feel really good about his recovery. Deonte (Mack's) was a lingering thing from the fall, too. He tried to fight through it, and really he was in and out throughout the fall, if you remember back. Long term for him, it was best to go ahead and get the surgery done. I feel like he'll be in good shape. He won't be able to practice for the spring but should be in good shape for the fall. Everyone on there should be healthy and ready to go, with the exception of Mike Stark. His back is a situation where we're a little uncertain about what his future in football will be. I think that probably covers all of the injuries."
On the staff changes:
"That is something that I really think is going to be good for us. I think going back, the biggest thing that I wanted to do, a philosophical thing, is I really like having two line coaches on both sides of the ball. You take the defensive side, you've got four coaches for the most part. Most people are working four on defense and five on offense, so if you're a four down lineman team, you're going to have two on the line and one in the secondary or one on the line and two in the secondary. I like having two line coaches. I think that is really important there. I think one voice on the back end is good because of the communication that goes on with all the formations and shifts and trades and coverage adjustments. I thought George (Ricumstrict) would be very, very good working with the defensive ends. Mike Yeager
played linebacker in this defense, coached linebacker at a previous spot, and Coach (Joe) Palcic had handled the entire secondary before at Miami, so we felt like that was a good adjustment from the defensive standpoint.
"The offensive side changed very little other than Kyle Conner will work more with the offensive line and work with Bobby Johnson. Really, the only difference there is when we go 7-on-7 in passing, he'll stay with the offensive line with Bobby. Dennis Springer, I named him assistant head coach. I've got great confidence in Dennis, and I've been with Dennis longer than anybody, going back to recruiting him and playing for me and coached with him for a long time. I wanted to have a guy in that position because there are a lot of times if I can't be there for whatever it may be, a guy that can fill in for me, and certainly, we're on the same page about everything. I felt like that was a good move. He'll certainly be a liaison for me in different areas."
On the offseason workouts:
"The offseason has gone really well. I really like the leadership on this football team. We've got a good core group of seniors. We've got 18 scholarship seniors. It is a good number. One more than we've had, and you go up and down the line, guys that have had a real role on the football team and played a lot of football. They've really embraced it, really from the time the season ended. And, this is a tough time. As I've said to them, there are two `dog-days' of being a college football player. These are the `dog-days' right now in the middle of February and end of March when it is just a lot of hard work, tough work. This is when the leadership is developed. I think the team starts to develop. I think it has been very good. The second `dog-days' are fall camp, when it is hot with two-a-days and all that. You count on the leadership to make you better during those times. I really do like this group, and several of them have really stepped up."
On players changing positions:
"A lot of it was for the most part moving guys over to defense. Several to compete for starting spots, some to provide depth. First, in the defensive line, we wanted depth with big, physical guys. Jarrod Smith is a big, physical, good athlete, who has had a role on offense, but we've got some depth over there, so we felt like he would be a great fit. He runs well. He is an agile guy, and he was all for it. Milton Owens is the same way. Milton is a guy, as a walk-on, that has really developed, and he has got the same body type, so we have very similar guys now on the defensive line. From Deonte (Mack), who won't be there in the spring, young kids (Larry) Black, (Mick) Mentzer and (Chad) Sliger, and now Jarrod and Milton Owens. I think they'll be interchangeable in there. I think Trea Burgess going over to linebacker can be a really good move, much like when we moved (Justin) Carrington. Trea is a good running back, but we've got some depth there, and we felt like we needed some depth at linebacker. He has been a very, very good special teams player, so that is a good fit. Shane Covington, when we recruited him, he was a running back in high school. He was a good athlete. A lot of people recruited him as a safety. We wanted to give him a shot on offense first, and we had a need at wideout. Then when the season was over we talked about it and that is why we're moving him. We need some depth at safety, and they're going to have a great opportunity at safety with (Austin) Thomas and (Nick) Polk not going full speed. Everybody else is going to get a good shot. Kyle Dietrick was a really good guy, particularly scout team on offense. But, he is a very aggressive, tough kid at close to 200 pounds, and he played safety in high school on a state championship team, so that was what we thought was going to be a positive move. Of course Ray Fisher, that is probably the biggest name. You go all the way back to high school, Ray was an outstanding corner in high school, recruited by a lot people to play there. He is one of those guys that is a key football player for us, whether he is on offense or defense. We want to practice him all spring at corner. We think he is the kind of guy athletically, and he has become a physical kid. When he first got here, he was a little guy, but he has become a very physical, big strong kid that we think can be a very good corner. We're looking for some help there. That is a move that we think can be very beneficial, knowing that he can play offense as well."