Coach Lynch's Weekly Press Conference - Aug. 27
Aug. 27, 2010
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Head Coach Bill Lynch met with members of the media on Friday to discuss his team's opening game against Towson on Thursday, Sept. 2.
Below is a partial transcript of the press conference.
"From this point on, our focus is totally on Towson and the first game. We've really concentrated on ourselves really through last night. The players have today off from a physical standpoint. We will meet with them. Then we'll practice on Saturday and Sunday leading into next week, and a midweek game changes our schedule a little bit, but our focus will be totally on Towson now, putting in a game plan.
"We've got to separate the team some into scout team, which we haven't done. We've worked really hard during camp to give everyone a lot of reps and an opportunity. We went into it with the idea that maybe we've slipped that some in the past. With 24 practices under our belts, that is like another spring practice for some of those young kids that are going to end up getting redshirted and become scout team players. I think we're trying to build depth and give everyone an opportunity. I think there were a lot of positives that came of what we just finished in our preseason camp."
"With our team itself, I think there are still some question marks about who is going to start at certain points. From an offensive standpoint, health will have something to do with it. As a result, I think we'll play a lot of guys in some positions.
"Quarterback, obviously Ben (Chappell) will be the starter. We still haven't sat down and clearly said that Dusty (Kiel) or Edward (Wright-Baker) is the backup, and like I talked with some of you earlier in the week, I'm not really that concerned with that right now. We do know who our starter is and we feel really good about him.
"I will say, Adam Follett has really had a good camp as well. You can tell he really worked at it over the summer. He made great strides since the spring. We really haven't talked about him at all through camp. He is a guy I have confidence in. Very seldom can you go into a season with four quarterbacks that you feel can really play. And, Teddy Schell, who is our holder and a valuable part of it, he knows the offense and he has played some, so that position, I feel very, very good about.
"Running back, a lot of it just depends on Darius (Willis). He was healthy at the end of the week; he was healthy again last night. We've got to keep him healthy up through Thursday, and I'm sure we will. Trea Burgess has had a really solid camp. He has played a lot of football for us; he is a fifth-year senior. He has been a loyal guy to the program and a very good special teams player, so Trea will be very involved in the offense. Nick Turner, he just keeps coming. I think we all know the potential he has. He has not played as much football as Darius or Trea in the past, but I think he'll certainly be a factor. And then Zach Davis-Walker has been injured a little bit lately, but he has had a good camp and as an older guy he is in the mix.
"Then we've got to make some decisions after that, particularly with Antonio Banks and Matt Perez. I'm not wavering from the philosophy that if we're going to play them, we're going to play them a lot. And, how much we play them will depend on the health of the older guys, so that is yet to be determined and may not be determined through the opener, if the other guys are healthy come Thursday night.
"At wide receiver, we feel pretty good there. Tandon Doss, right now, is day-to-day with a stomach muscle pull that took place midweek. He is day-to-day, but Damarlo (Belcher), Terrance Turner, Duwyce (Wilson) are healthy and ready to go. I think Jamonne Chester has had a good camp and is competitive and ready to play.
"The one guy that we moved out there, Connor Creevey, was a backup quarterback that has been in the program a few years. He really has performed well and is one of those guys that could play a lot of different spots. So he'll be practicing up. Kofi Hughes is the one freshman that will practice up as well. We felt that way when we recruited him, he is an outstanding player and he has proven that. He is playing wide receiver with a cast on his hand, which is obviously not the ideal situation. He is going to practice up, so we'll find out how that is going to play itself out.
"Tight end, I think that is another position of really good depth. The guy that has come on and had a really good camp is Ted Bolser. He will certainly be in the mix because there are a lot of things he can do. Max Dedmond has played very well. I think Brad Martin has had a good camp. Eric Thomas that we moved late in the spring will be a short-yardage, goal-line kind of guy that adds some strength up front.
"Charles Love III is another guy that has the versatility to play a lot of places. He came in as a wideout, he is kind of a f-back. He can play with his hand on the ground. Like Kofi, he is playing with a cast on his hand from a surgery he had, but it is a little different than a wide receiver because of blocking. That is a position that we feel good about, and I honestly think all of those guys will have a place in the offense throughout the course of the game on Thursday.
"(Offensive) line, I think there are three spots that we know who the starters are. Will Matte at center, James Brewer the right tackle and then Andrew McDonald who has had a very, very good camp at left tackle. Guard is still a very competitive deal. Aaron Price and Marc Damisch came out of the spring at one because they just had practiced a lot more than Cody Faulkner and Justin Pagan because of their injuries, and as we've gone through camp, they haven't lost their spots. Although, Cody and Justin have both practiced very well. I wouldn't be surprised if all of those guys play. Jordan Marquette is a senior that has played both center and guard, so really good depth in there. We have bounced Pagan out to tackle some when we've rested Brewer, so he is the guy that can play both guard and tackle. So that is how we are offensively going into the opener.
"On defense, we've got four guys inside that are going to play and rotate. (Adam) Replogle, (Larry) Black, (Nick) Sliger and (Mick) Mentzer, they will all play and I'll leave it up the Coach (Brian) George as to what the actual rotation will be. We kind of look at all four of those guys as starters.
"At end, Fred Jones is banged up a little right now, but we look at him as if he'll be ready to go this weekend. If not, on Monday. If that would be the case, we feel like he'll be in there. Deonte Mack will play as well, and I think Deonte has stayed healthy and has a good camp. Terrance Thomas has been slowed a little bit with a concussion, but he should be back ready to go by the first of the week as well.
"At the other end, what we call our drop, Darius Johnson has had a very good camp and Kevin Bush has been right there with him, and then Javon Cornley is the young guy, so again, I wouldn't be surprised if you saw all of those guys play some on Thursday, as we continue to try to not only build depth but I think they're all deserving and they've all practiced well.
"At linebacker, we have three inside guys, (Tyler) Replogle, (Jeff) Thomas and (Leon) Beckum. Replogle is clearly one starter, and then Beckum and Thomas will both play at the other inside `backer spot. Outside, at what we call our Will, (Chad) Sherer and (Damon) Sims are still competing and they'll both play there.
"The secondary is a great competition, which is what we set out to do last spring and it has really happened. Matt Ernest has bought in and has gotten better every day, which we expected. In the spring, with playing baseball and not knowing when he was going to play and if he was going to play and then he got a sore arm, so I don't think he had total concentration in the spring, but he has really bought in and think he has played really well.
"Richard Council has had a tremendous summer, and I mean that going back to what he did in the summer. I think he hooked on with Terrence Turner, and from every indication really worked hard, and he has shown it on the field. Adrian Burks has been solid and Andre Kates is a very good football player like we expected and he has a great attitude.
"So, we have some great depth there, but we will continue to let them compete. We're not ready to announce any starters there. Those of you that are at practice a lot know that Coach (Joe) Palcic has rotated them everyday and almost every drill to the point where I'm looking over there wondering who he is going to put out there first because we're trying to create that competition.
"Safety, Mitchell Evans and Donnell Jones, because of Chris Adkins injury, will be the starters, but we moved Lawrence Barnett and Lenyatta Kiles in there to see what they can do, and they both, over four or five days, have done well, so we're going to continue with them working in there and then Aaron Burks and Kyle Dietrick are there. Dietrick will be in on a lot of special teams. That was something that we certainly from last season on have talked about is developing that depth and I think we've done that.
"At placekicker, it is unbelievable. We have charted every kick that (Nick) Freeland and (Mitch) Ewald have made since we started and the stats are phenomenally close, so we're not ready to declare who that guy is going to be either, which is good. Sometimes you think `they can't make a decision,' but when you're letting guys compete, I'm going to let them compete all the way up to the middle of the week. I don't think it makes a difference to declare now, because I want to keep it all going.
"It is a unique situation too, because this opener is the most important game of the season. It is the next one and we all want to get off on a really positive note, but with the schedule set up so unique, we have 16 days before our next game, we certainly want to create competition and keep that competition going within the framework of getting guys ready and having a good game plan in for Towson. That is the personnel part of it and where we stand coming out of camp."
"They have a lot of returning football players. Defensively, they have probably eight guys that are returning starters. They've got corners that are seniors who've played for four years. They've got some very athletic linebackers. They've got a couple of guys it sounds like that moved from safety to linebacker and inside to outside. They have some transfer guys. I think the one guy that is a really good player is a transfer from Syracuse. They've got two big, thick guys inside defensively that have experience.
"Offensively, they have their best running back back, their best wide receiver. They've got three guys back on the offensive line. At quarterback, it is interesting because they've got a transfer, and I don't know that they've declared who their starter is yet or not, but they've got a transfer from The Citadel, who graduated from The Citadel, one of those rules where you can graduate and transfer and play right away if you get into a graduate program. He had tremendous success at The Citadel, where he threw for like 3,500 yards and 38 touchdowns or something like that where he has played a lot of football. He is competing with some other guys. I think they played quite a few last year because of injuries.
"They had one of those years last year injury-wise like we had in 2008 around here. With that, sometimes you build depth because guys play. I know they're going to be really well-coached. They do a lot of things on offense. They can give you the spread and also the two-back which UConn made a living off of. They're one of those teams that can hammer away at you and pound the ball. So, we've got to be prepared for both, and I think we're going to see a very athletic defensive team with some good guys inside.
"I know this. They play in a very, very good league. I think out of that league last year, in the opening weekend, William and Mary beat Virginia, Villanova beat Temple - and Temple was a very good team out of the MAC - and then Richmond beat Duke. That league has competed against BCS teams and done very well. We have to go no further than our opener last year where we had to recover a fumble. We know what we're getting into. We're going to have a good football team coming in here, and they're coming in here with the opportunity to beat a BCS team, a Big Ten school in our stadium.
"Like all openers, I don't care if you open with a non-conference team, a traditional rival or someone in the Big Ten, it is always about your own team in that opener. By week seven and eight, you can scheme this or scheme that, but in an opener, you've got to make sure that you've got the right people playing, that you're prepared, that you don't beat yourself with turnovers or mistakes in substitutions or penalties or kicking game mistakes. That is something that we've worked very hard on and will leading up to the opener. "
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