July 29, 2009
CHICAGO - On Tuesday, the Hoosiers wrapped up their two-day stay at the Big Ten Football Media Days. IUHoosiers.com was able to sit down and talk with head coach Bill Lynch, defensive end Jammie Kirlew, linebacker Will Patterson and quarterback Ben Chappell. Below is a recap of our conversations:
On Ben Chappell:
"Some quarterbacks come off the field after a play, you ask them what they saw and it is a little bit scattered. He can tell you everything he saw, where everybody was on defense and what happened. Then, when you turn the tape on after the game, he was right. Or after a practice, the same thing when you turn the tape on. Then you know that a guy is really seeing. Sometimes the quarterback will tell you one thing, and you turn the tape on later on and you're like, `What was he looking at?' And, he is also honest. If he didn't see it, he'll tell you he didn't see it. He is accountable for his play, and he has been very good about that."
On Ben facing pressure because he is a local product:
On the North End Zone facility:
"I think he is old enough and mature enough now that that is probably not a big factor. I'd say that that is more of when you are a young kid coming in, and everybody thinks of you as that high school kid. This is going into his fourth year out of high school, so he is more the IU quarterback than the local kid. I think Jordan (Hulls) coming in to play basketball this year is probably thought of more as the local kid at this point. I think as time goes on, that probably goes away a little bit. I don't think there is pressure from that at this point. He has been a college student now for going on four years, being a part of our campus and community. I know that the Bloomington people are certainly proud of him. We all are. But, I don't think it is added pressure."
"There is no question that it creates a whole new environment, and it is something that we've probably been behind, but we have it now. It is really first class.
The commitment it shows, I think is huge. It is a commitment to our current players. It is a commitment to our alums and fans and football at Indiana. That really carries over into recruiting. When a recruit comes onto campus now and sees it. There is a wow factor. That translates into commitment.
"The other thing that I think is really impressive is that everything that is done is really for the student-athlete. You figure with 25,000 square feet of weight room, you can develop young guys with that facility. Along with that, there will be 22,000 square feet of academic support center. That is showing a commitment to academics and trying to help on that side of it, too. There are just a whole lot of features that I think day in and day out are going to help the program.
"As a result of it, we have an opportunity to present a different gameday experience. Fred Glass and his staff are very good about thinking outside the box, in terms of what they want to do for gameday. They try to make it fun and exciting for everybody. We all know that when you put 50,000 people in a football stadium, they aren't all die-hard football fans. A lot of them are there because it is the place to be, and we want to have things for those people so that they enjoy the experience just like the die-hard football fans."
On the toughest Big Ten stadium:
"I would probably say Kinnick Stadium (Iowa). The reason being, the fans are right there on you, and every opinion that they have, you hear it. You're always going to have a tough matchup going into Kinnick Stadium. They have the stands packed, and it is just a crazy environment. You almost get a little pumped up being there. It is fun, but it is definitely a difficult place to play."
On the toughest player he has played against:
"There are a lot of tough players in the Big Ten. The toughest player I've played against would be the running back from Iowa, Shonn Greene. He was a tough running back to take down. He had great hustle, strong legs. You could have a good gameplan going in, but he is such a talented running back he would create things like missed tackles and just make things happen."
On the most difficult player to game plan against in the Big Ten:
"I would say Juice Williams. He has a strong arm, but he is also the type of quarterback that can hurt you with his feet, too. Especially on slides or options, you have to be able to track him down and get a read on him."
On the linebacking corps:
"We have myself, Matt Mayberry and Justin Carrington who are seniors, and then Tyler (Replogle) who is a junior. Tyler is amazing. He works so hard, and he never takes a play off."
On getting the team's starting safeties back from injury:
"Nick Polk and Austin Thomas are almost like security blankets, whether it is run or pass. Polk has been looking so good over the summer, and Austin as well. You can go in the weight room at just about any time and see either one of them in there working out beyond what we're supposed to do. Just having those guys is going to be big for us."
On returning from his own injury:
"I'm back 100 percent. If camp started today, I'd be ready to go. The knee is fine. Everything else is fine. Not only as a leader but just as a player, I really wanted to be out there. It hurt a lot. I think watching my team play out at Penn State, and maybe being able to contribute to that game, it really messed me up mentally. I tried to get back for the Purdue game. We tried everything and nothing was working to help me be mobile. That hurt, too. You just want to be out there as a player. This was the first time I really missed something like that. It was probably the worst injury that I've ever had."
On the North End Zone facility:
"I took Dusty Kiel, our incoming freshman quarterback, around the facility. We went into the facility in February, and that was when it was just the bones of it, not really anything much done with it. We walked through there and he was like, `Wow!' It really is one of those things that when you go through, it has the wow factor. It is a lot different now than when I went in February, and it is going to be beautiful when it is all done."
On Damarlo Belcher:
"Damarlo could be great. He has had a great summer. He has been in Bloomington all summer working hard. He has gained maybe 15 pounds or so. He did what he needed to do. He has gotten stronger. He has great hands. He really goes up and gets the ball. That is probably my favorite thing about him. You can throw it maybe five to ten yards off the mark, but he is going to go get it. His route running has improved 10-fold since he first came. Being a basketball guy when he first came in, he could run some routes, but he has improved so much in that area. He is going to be bigger and stronger this year, so he is going to be a lot more physical with the cornerbacks. I'm excited to see what he can do."
On the pistol offense suiting his abilities:
"I think it does. I think having a diversified running game, being able to run the ball downhill, is something that definitely suits every quarterback. Being able to play-action off that is going to be one of my strong points. Really, just kind of spreading the ball around and getting it to the guy who needs to get the ball."