Head Coach Bill Lynch's Friday Press Conference

    Go Hoosiers! Head Coach Bill Lynch met with members of the media on Friday.
    Go Hoosiers!
    Head Coach Bill Lynch met with members of the media on Friday.
    Go Hoosiers!

    Sept. 4, 2009

    Press Conference Audio

    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.

    Opening Statement:
    "After watching the tape a couple of times this morning, I think what we talked about last night is about the same. It was a great win because in this business, any win is a good win and any loss is awful, so always keep that in perspective. However, there are a lot of areas where we have to improve. A lot of them were first game mistakes that we have to get corrected by week two. Some were by guys that were playing their first football game, and some certainly that were little technique things, fundamental things, and execution that we will address with our players this afternoon and keep working on.

    "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 first one, he got hit when he threw it, but it was an ill-advised pass anyway. It was a route where he could pick a side, a mirrored route, and looking at it he would have been better off going to the other side. I don't second guess that, what I second guess is the pass, unless he was going to throw it out of bounds and he got hit and it came up short, but I haven't talked to him about that.

    "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:
    "We have a lot of confidence in Chris Adkins and Richard Council - they've played a lot of football for us and they're going to play a lot of football for us. Ray [Fisher], he played pretty solid in the second half, and Donnell Jones was having a great camp until he got laid up - hopefully he'll be back next week. The long touchdown wasn't the corners - sometimes they look like the one that was hung out to dry because they're the last ones chasing - that was somebody else's responsibility.

    "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:
    "I think that's what it is. I got home last night and watched Oregon and Boise State and there were some crazy plays in that game too. There were plays that neither one of those teams is going to make the rest of the year - they're two of the top teams in the country. I didn't see highlights from other games, but there's games Saturday, Sunday and Monday and there's going to be a lot of crazy plays, inconsistent play, turnovers, things that happen in an opener that you get worked out for the rest of the season.

    "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 hope so. That's one of those things you turn into a positive. One of the things I firmly believe is that when your backs are against the wall and you need a goal-line stand and you force a turnover, that's going to pay dividends down the road. We're going to be in that situation again and now they have something to fall back on. One of the things that we talk about is `play the next play,' and that's our philosophy - don't worry about the last one, play the next one. And that's a lesson - don't give up when you're down there. Don't concede just because somebody's on the 5-yard line, first-and-goal that they're going to score a touchdown. That's a good lesson and it's something to fall back on when we get into that situation.

    "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:
    "With Darius, one of the biggest things was we didn't really know until noon whether he was going to play yesterday. He's got a bruised-up shin. It's swollen, nothing serious, but somewhat painful and he had it taped and protected. He was adamant that he was going to play, but you want to be smart about it when you've got a young guy in his first game, so that was another dynamic from a coaching standpoint about putting him back in and making sure he's healthy and all that stuff. He didn't have much of a chance [to run]. That time he fumbled, but the next two times he carried it there was someone standing in the hole and he didn't have much of a chance. But we really like him and think he's going to be a good player."

    On coming up with a big turnover in a key situation:
    "That's why I think that's going to pay dividends down the road. One of the things we've stressed on defense is run to the ball. Because if you run to the ball, the second guy is the guy who is going to get the turnover, and that's exactly what happened last night. Mayberry was kind of reaching at the guy and then Fisher came in and knocked it loose, but it was Kirlew running at the ball who recovered the fumble. It was one of those deals where it was at the 4-yard line and he wasn't going to make the play, but because he ran to the ball like he was taught - and he's a high-energy type of guy - he got the fumble. That's something we're going to show to the kids, is what happens when you play with that kind of effort and run to the ball, you come up with the turnover."

    On the defense as a whole:
    "I really think the defense played well. We gave up some big plays that hurt us, the one for the score and a couple that flipped field position, but we came up with some too. We threw a bad pick that went to the 40 or something like that, and Mayberry got about a 15-yard tackle for loss and they ended up punting in three plays. At the end of the first half they got down there and we held them to a field goal. So I think, all in all, effort was not a problem with the defense. I thought they played hard, it was just giving up too many big plays."

    On why the running game struggled:
    "It was kind of a combination, really. We didn't block well enough, we didn't hit the right seams all the time. But a lot was Eastern Kentucky and their movement and their shifting and stemming, they had bodies in the holes a lot. We didn't cover them up the way we really need to in the run game."

    On Western Michigan:
    "I've watched their tape from last year, but they don't play until tomorrow. I know they're very good. I've known Bill Cubit a long time, he's a great football coach. They've been a bowl team the last two years. They beat Iowa two years ago and they beat Illinois last year, so I don't think you need to say more than that. The Mid-American Conference has put out some amazing quarterbacks in the last 10 years and [Tim] Hiller's that guy this year. We're going to have our hands full with him."

    On the defensive tackles:
    "I thought Larry Black played really well. Adam Replogle, I certainly noticed him. [Nicholas] Sliger too. [Mick] Mentzer played better than expected, only because of being out with the injury so much. I thought he played really well. Jarrod Smith was sound. So I thought all five of them that played were good. But Larry had some plays where he really affected the play.

    "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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