March 22, 2010
Coach Lynch Audio | Press Conference Video
Indiana head football coach Bill Lynch met with the media on Monday to discuss the start of spring football. The Hoosiers open practice with the first of 15 sessions on Tuesday afternoon.
"It is good to see you again. Particularly because spring practice is starting and when you are a football coach this is a great time of year because you get a chance to get back on the field with the guys. They worked really hard in the offseason in the weight room and early morning conditioning and everything that goes into being a Big Ten football player. Spring football is always good because the number one goal is you're always trying to figure out who your players are. I've always felt like the number one goal is, when I talk to you again after the spring game, we should know who our top 50 are, because then you have an idea when you plan over the summer, because when you come back you just don't have as many opportunities. You're trying to find out who those guys are. It is going to be very competitive throughout the offseason.
"The second thing is you get to try some new things. Whether it is positions, moving guys around a little bit, scheme, offense, defense, kicking game, finding out what works and what doesn't, because we spend a lot of time in the offseason thinking of new ideas and visiting with other people. In the spring you get a chance to try those things, because again, when you get back in the fall, you've got to go and those 29 practices go fast with the first team. That is what is great about the spring.
"The intangible things that I talked about a lot last year, I've really seen them grow throughout the offseason. We lost some really good players and some guys that played a lot, but there are some guys that have stepped up from a leadership standpoint and the way they've worked. We had our testing in the weight room and speed and agility drills before break. Some young guys really tested out very well, and I know they are ready to play.
"We did a couple things a little bit different this offseason that I think have been very good. You always try to make things competitive. We had 93 guys when we started in January, we took our leadership council, we have 16 guys on there, and we matched those guys up so we had eight teams. We had 16 captains who had eight teams, and they drafted their teams. They would get points for how well they competed in the weight room, in the speed and agility and conditioning drills, they gained points for doing community service. They could lose points for not meeting expectations in the classroom or at study tables or obligations they had as a part of the football team. It was really good how these teams competed. We had a first-half winner that was rewarded in our final conditioning run. The point is they really did compete, and the fun thing was to see how competitive they got. In terms of, we had guys out in the last week doing extra community service because they wanted more points for their team. A little bit of team-building, a little bit of camaraderie, certainly talking about competition and I thought it was good. We had a first-half winner, and tomorrow we'll start the second half, certainly on the field as well as all of the off-field and academic areas. We'll have a second-half winner and then our total team winners.
"The other thing that we have emphasized throughout the offseason, and you may have seen it on our workout shirts. In about as big and bold of letters as you can get on the back of a shirt is the word "FINISH." That is something that is so important that we didn't do a very good job of last year. We are emphasizing that in everything that we do. Every drill, every rep and certainly we will in every practice. We've got to finish. I think that is something that our guys have really bought into, and I think they understand it now because of where we didn't get it done last year. Again, I think it has been a really good offseason and something to lead into practice starting tomorrow.
"A couple of changes on the coaching staff. Tim Cooper, who was a quality control guy for the defense, has moved on to become the co-defensive coordinator at Butler, and Kevin Lynch, who was a offensive quality control guy, is now a wide receivers coach at the University of Indianapolis. Bobby Johnson took a job with the Buffalo Bills in the National Football League, and we're happy for him because that has been a goal of his and he did a tremendous job in his five years here not only as a coach, but as a mentor, as a recruiter and as a representative of our program, and I certainly wish him well. We were able to hire Mo Moriarity. Many of you know Mo from his days as a high school coach here in Bloomington and then certainly from his time as a coach on the staff with Coach DiNardo for three years and now the success he has had at Carmel High School. Mo and I go back a long way and I've always felt like he is a special football coach and a guy that I always wanted to work with. The opportunity came up and I'm thrilled to have him join our staff. Also, starting today, David Elson is the new quality control coach on the defensive side. He and I also go back a long way, to the point where when I was the coach at Butler, I coached his older brother, then he came to play for us and he was there about a month before I moved on to another job. He played with Dennis Springer on our staff throughout their careers and most recently, David had been the head football coach at Western Kentucky for the last seven years. In fact, we hired Dennis Springer from his staff a year ago to join our staff. We're fortunate that he is going to be with us in what is basically going to be an administrative role, but he wanted to come and be a part of it, so you'll see him around as well.
On the defense:
"We're going to make a few little changes in what we do defensively. We're going to be a little bit more multiple. I know talking to you guys at the end of the season last year, those were some of the questions you had about what are we going to do defensively. We're going to be more multiple. I'll get you more into that as we go through the spring, but being able to play both a four-down linemen scheme with a three-down linemen scheme, it fits what we have. We have good interior guys and then we have different kinds of ends. We were kind of spoiled for three years with two big, physical guys that could play with their hand down in (Greg) Middleton and (Jammie) Kirlew. Now, we've got a group of those guys in Fred Jones, Eric Thomas and Deonte Mack, but then we have some more athletic guys that are combination linebacker/defensive end where we'll have the ability to play with three down and more linebackers in the game. Darius Johnson is the first guy, he came in as a linebacker and a good special teams player. He was really coming on last year when he had an injury. He fits that mold. Javon Cornley certainly fits that mold, who we redshirted a year ago. Kevin Bush is a pleasant surprise. He was a scout team guy for us last year, we really liked what we saw out of him and have watched him here in the offseason. He'll be that other, what we call a drop end, competing with Darius and Javon. There will be some different looks to what we do defensively, and I think it fits the personnel we have right now, and I also think it will make us more multiple. You'll see more as we go through the spring, and we'll learn a little bit more, too. It is one of those things we're going to fool with, although we want to have a good idea of what we want to do with it in the fall. We'll probably go a little bit more into it in the spring and we'll skinny it down a little bit."
On the defensive scheme changes:
"As we go, week by week, I can tell you we're going to do some of this this week. If you're out there in the first two practices it is going to look a lot like last year. We're going to do this and you're going to say `Coach, I've been to practice and you've never played the 3-4.' We'll get into it, but it fits our personnel. I think as much as anything, we can do different kinds of blitzing out of a 3-4 than we can out of a 4-3. The standard things that we've been doing out of a 4-3, and then we can get into some other things in a 3-4. We've done some three-down things over the years, but primarily in pass situations. We want to get into it where it can be more efficient in run downs as well. We'll get into that primarily in week two. Once you get into stunts and blitzes it gets more complicated, but I think it will give us more flexibility and make us more multiple in what we're doing."
On the benefit of having young guys:
"This is the right time to make this kind of change because we've got a lot of new faces where whatever we teach them, it is going to be the first time they are going to hear it. Even though they were here, they get about two weeks of it in the fall and then they are scout team. The kids on defense can tell you how to run Michigan's defense or Penn State's defense, but they're going to start from square one tomorrow with our defense. It is a good time. We also have more athletic-type kids. The other thing is what we want to do from a pressure standpoint. Get some run pressures in as well as some pass pressures. One of the things we've really got to improve on, from a statistical point of view, is we've got to get better on third downs. Possession downs were really our downfall last year on both sides of the ball. We're going to spend a lot of time looking at it. We've just got to be more efficient on offense. On defense, we got to keep people in third and mediums. We gave up third and shorts too much, so we've got to be better on first down. I think being more multiple on first down and doing some things from a 3-4 front can help us get them in third and long. We want to give opposing offenses a little more to work on, and we think it fits our personnel."
On the offensive side of the ball:
"We've got some new guys on offense, too. You see you have the name guys, but as I went through, you've got some new guys that have got to learn the offense and fit in. Starting with new left tackles, because (Justin) Pagán is out we're going to have new guys inside, new tight ends. You've got (Tandon) Doss and (Damarlo) Belcher, but (Terrance) Turner can't practice and that is going to give some young guys a chance at wideout because of Mitchell (Evans) and Matt (Ernest) moving. At running back we think Darius (Willis) is an experienced guy, he didn't play all that much and he missed a lot, so he needs a good spring himself, and then these other guys competing against him."
On the Wildcat quarterback situation:
"It will be Edward Wright-Baker or Dusty Kiel. They're both very athletic and are big, strong guys. They're both bigger than Mitchell (Evans). When you look at the people who run the Wildcat around the country, a lot of times that guy that runs it is a bigger guy that can be more of a short-yardage guy. If you think about what (Tim) Tebow did all those years, a lot of that and even in the NFL, a lot of those guys are running backs. I think that these guys will be much more of a threat throwing the ball, but those guys are the guys that will be doing it."
On letting Matt Ernest play baseball this spring:
"He is an awfully athletic guy, and I think that he'll be able to adjust to (corner) pretty well. He is really a great athlete. And he has gotten bigger, stronger and faster since he has been here, and there is a reason why we recruited him. We knew that athleticism, but he has just been behind some pretty good guys. On playing baseball, I talked to the guy who recruited him out of high school when the topic of baseball came up. That guy was me. I remember saying to him, `I'm sure we'll be able to work that out if you get to that point.' So when he came to me about playing baseball, I said, `Yep, I told you so go ahead.' I come from a different perspective, because I was a two-sport guy myself. I know that was a long time ago, but there is nothing like competing. I think he'll be fine."