Head Coach Bill Lynch's Friday Press Conference
Sept. 4, 2009
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Head Coach Bill Lynch met with members of the media on Friday afternoon to discuss his team's performance against Eastern Kentucky and look forward at next week's game against Western Michigan. Below is a partial transcript of the press conference.
"The running game was a combination of things. We had some pretty good performances up front but we didn't have the consistency and that's what killed the running game. You have one break down for minus-one yard and we had a lot of that. I think as we go, our backs will get a better feel for things as we go. First game, Eastern did a pretty good job with their movement stuff. Stemming and moving, which our defense does not do a lot of, so simulating that was a little bit difficult particularly when you don't know how much they were going to do it. I do think their scheme was going to limit our running game because they were committing to stopping our run. But with that in mind we have to improve in that area.
"I think we have to continue to improve in our passing game. If someone is going to be committed to stopping the run then we have got to really take advantage of the passing game, which we did at times, but not consistently. A couple of times the protection breaks down and someone gets in Ben's face. A couple of them were poor decisions on Ben's part but he will get those corrected.
"For the most part I think our wide receivers looked pretty good. They got open, they caught the ball and did a great job running after the catch. I think we had something like 135 yards after the catch, which is a pretty good number. [Damarlo] Belcher had some, [Tandon] Doss had some, Mitchell Evans had some where they caught it and ran with it which I thought was pretty positive. The biggest disappointment is we didn't score many points. We squandered too many opportunities. In the Big Ten you have to score more than 19 points.
"Defensively for the most part I thought we played pretty well. I really thought we played hard. We got beat on some pressure situations. We gave up that one big play for a touchdown. But the other big plays they got flipped the field situation a lot. There were times when you felt like we were going to get a three-and-out and they would punt it right back to us. But then they'd get a big play or string something together and then we'd stop them and they'd punt and then we'd takeover on the 5 or on the 10. So the field position game became important as result of some of their big plays they got both rushing and passing. I do think we did a great job of running to the ball, I thought we were physical and I thought we played hard.
"The kicking game was solid. We gave up the one punt return - that was a little disappointing, but we held them to a field goal there. Otherwise I thought our kickoff coverage was really good. Other punt coverage was pretty good. Chris [Hagerup] didn't have one of his better nights punting but we know he's going to punt the ball well. [Nick] Freeland kicked the field goal, which was positive for him. Their punter was pretty good, and that rugby style punt we have to work on fielding those kinds of punts down the field. A kid is so use to fielding a high punt and we tell him not to back up from the 10 but sometimes those bouncing, low, rugby punts we need to spend some more time fielding those. All in all I thought the special teams play was solid, we had a couple good kickoff returns which I thought was good.
"A couple things statistically that we talk to our team about, and I think it shows we did things well enough, because we lost the turnover margin 3-to-1 and we also lost what we call the battle of the big plays. There are big plays that happen in college football and pro football that have a real impact on who wins and loses. We calculate a big play as 15 yards as a run or 22 yards as a pass. They had seven big plays to our four and they won the turnover margin 3-1. Usually you do not win a football game when you lose both of those statistics, which usually hold up generally in college football. We made enough plays, and I thought our defense rallied and forced field goals when they needed to and certainly getting the fumble there at the end was big. Both teams I think were sloppy in terms of penalties. That was something that we will get corrected."
On Ben Chappell's interceptions:
"The other one, he just forced it, and that wasn't a third down play, that was one that you throw it away, and Troy Wagner was open as a check down. That was one that he'll get corrected because he's really, really smart, and I know he'll get that corrected. Those two were probably more judgment than bad throws."
On whether the big plays allowed were attributed to the secondary:
"I do think [EKU] had a couple big runs on us, they split us on a run - that was big and flipped field position, and we have to stop that - and later we had a blitz on and we didn't contain the quarterback, and he had a long run down the sideline. Those are the two that we have to get corrected because those were really fundamental things for the defense."
On whether consistency is developed through playing more:
"Some of the things we saw in the game we hadn't seen in 29 practices - some of the things we saw in the game, if we had seen them a lot in practices, I'd be more concerned, but I think for the most part the things that we saw we can get corrected. We can't turn the ball over. We need to create more turnovers. We have to get rid of the foolish penalties. But those are all things that we can get corrected."
On whether it helps to be in a tight game early:
"I certainly don't want to go down to the Hail Mary play at the end of the game, but it happened. And that's probably going to happen again sometime before the year is over. You practice those things, but it's a whole lot different when it's in a game. We've practiced the goal-line defense and we've practiced knocking down the Hail Mary, but there's not a whole lot of pressure when you're out there at practice like there is when the game is on the line.
On Darius Willis' game:
On coming up with a big turnover in a key situation:
On the defense as a whole:
On why the running game struggled:
On Western Michigan:
On the defensive tackles:
"I thought Darius Johnson had a great game at defensive end too. He's tough to block because of his body type. With his leverage, he's low with those big, tall tackles."
Click here to listen to press conference audio.
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