March 23, 2009
Indiana head football coach Bill Lynch took time to talk with the media on Monday about the start of spring football. To hear what he had to say, click here. To see the full press conference on All-Access, click here.
"Thanks for coming this afternoon. Obviously, we are excited to get going with spring practice. We talked with our guys about how there are three or four different phases of the football season. We just completed a very important one, in our winter conditioning phase. It really started when the semester began in January and concluded right before spring break. It went very, very well. I think we made great strides. I thought our leadership, the effort, and all those things you develop in the offseason came about. We had really good strides in our testing, too, both in the weight room and our running and agility programs. Later on I can mention a few guys who really jumped out of the pack and had a great offseason.
"Now we start that next phase - spring practice - which is so important to us because now you take everything we worked on in the winter whether it's in the weight room or over in Mellencamp Pavilion and try to put it to use on the football field. I've always really liked spring practice, just because it's a time when you can teach and coach. You can experiment and move guys around without having to worry about game planning for a game on Saturday. Everyday is teaching, coaching and developing. I think that's why all of us in coaching really enjoy the spring. If you are a football player, you enjoy the opportunity to compete for a starting spot. It is what we try to learn from the spring so that when we get done and talk again at the end of April, we will have a lot better idea of the football team and where everyone fits.
"Since we last talked, we have added a player. We announced it, but we took an offensive lineman out of a California community college (Fullerton Community College), Jordan Marquette. We really think he is a good prospect and really fits what we are looking for right now. Through the process of the winter, we had a tough loss in losing Mike Stark. It doesn't look like Mike is going to be able to play anymore. He is going to be medically redshirted because of a long-term back problem that just hasn't come around. We thought we were a man short with an older kid and felt like we needed to find an older guy rather than another high school kid. This kid really is a good football player and comes from a good program both in high school and junior college. So we brought him on campus and really liked him and that was a big reason why we took him after the signing date. We really like Jordan and think that he will be a good addition for us.
"We have had a couple of injury situations since then. Alex Perry won't practice in the spring. He hurt a knee going through our conditioning and is going to have surgery here the first of April. We feel he will be back and ready to go in August for the start of the season, but he won't practice in the spring. Jammie Kirlew has had a long-standing hip/groin type problem (sports hernia) that really bothered him for some time, but throughout the fall he performed with it. He didn't get any better and it progressed with the soreness, so he had surgery done over spring break. We are going to hold him out of spring practice. It was a similar surgery to what Trea Burgess had. Trea had his done in January and is back going well this spring. Alex won't be practicing. Jammie won't be practicing to go along with the other guys that we had talked about earlier in the winter."
On listing Jarrod Smith and Ray Fisher as starters:
"Everything right now is just putting it on the depth chart. I think that what happens with those particular positions, Ray has been a three-year starter as an offensive guy and you don't move a three-year starter to be a backup in respect to Ray. Now, if it doesn't work out, we know he can move back with the offense in a heartbeat. He certainly has proved himself as an offensive player. That is just a formality of what you do. Really, Jarrod Smith is the same way. The other guys were coming off of redshirts because Deonte Mack can't practice. If Deonte was practicing, it would be something different, but the other guys there are all three kids who were redshirted in (Nicholas) Sliger, (Mick) Mentzer and (Larry) Black. So, I have to list them one way, and I don't think it's fair to Jarrod to move him. He started at Penn State in our 11th football game and played in our 12th. To then move him to the other side of the ball and say, `you are going to start out behind some guys who redshirted.' That is really nothing more than how you list them to get going, but I think that's a general philosophy. If you are going to move a starter from one side to the other, you have to give him a chance right away to start, otherwise it's not fair to him. Ray in particular is making a move to help the football team, and we think it really will be a great addition with his skills. He has gotten bigger and stronger, and I know he is looking forward to it."
"All the ACL guys are really progressing. You come to practice and you will see them practicing. We are going to be smart. They won't do full contact work, but there will be different drills we put them in. We probably in some ways will hold Nick (Polk) and Austin (Thomas) a little bit because they are such proven players and there is no reason to throw them in at times, particularly because the young kids need work and we have to find out who the backups are. I don't know how much (Chris) Hagerup will do, but he will be punting a little bit. We won't put him in a situation behind a line with a rush. Charles Love III has come along, and he will be out running routes. Adrian Burks is the same way. He has really progressed and will be doing a lot of drills. We will keep him out of hitting, being a shoulder injury. Really, I think the guys going into it that definitely aren't going to practice - (Alex) Perry won't practice, Deonte Mack won't practice, and Jammie Kirlew won't practice."
On Will Patterson:
"He may end up out there some. We are waiting for him to go back to the doctor. That injury (wrist) is one of those that they may decide to go ahead and cast it up and let him go. Now, if he is out running around, we are going to be smart with him. It is a lot different than getting ready to play a game given a guy who has played as much football as he has. (Trainer) Brian (Lund) told us this morning in the staff room that there is a chance Will might be able to do some."
On the injuries to Nick Polk and Austin Thomas:
"They are going to do some individual drills. When I say hold them out some, we probably could put them in 7-on-7 where there is not full contact work. These are the injuries we will be smart with. The young guys need work, and we need to see where they all fall out with (Jerimy) Finch, (Jarrell) Drane, (Shane) Covington, (Kyle) Dietrick, (Matt) Kurz and Collin Taylor. All of those guys need as much work as possible. That is where I say we will be pretty smart with Austin and Nick."
On having injuries in the spring:
"I think everyone has injuries. I have talked to coaches around the country, and I go back and think spring practice has become a lot different with the scholarship reduction 15 or 20 years ago where you just don't have as many guys. You are going to have some injuries and you are going to be smart in the spring. We all run short spots and generally where you run short are along the offensive and defensive lines. Those are the guys when you do a lot of hitting and scrimmaging, they take every play as full contact. We all kind of run short there. A few years ago, when (Steve) Spurrier was still at Florida, they had a spring game and they did not have tackles because they did not have enough offensive linemen. It looked like an Arena football game. I think that is something we are all going through right now, and I think our injuries are the result of the last fall. Alex Perry's is the only new one. (Jammie) Kirlew's and Deonte Mack's came through the season, but we hoped they would heal up. They did not, so they had surgery."