Oct. 2, 2007
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -
Head coach Bill Lynch met with the media on Tuesday, Oct. 1, for his weekly press conference in preparation for the Hoosiers' contest against Minnesota on Saturday, Oct. 6. He was joined by sophomore defensive lineman Greg Middleton and redshirt sophomore defensive lineman Jammie Kirlew.
Head coach Bill Lynch
"After reviewing everything, I felt like we played a solid football game on Saturday. There are still areas of improvement that we certainly have to work on starting today as we start getting ready for this week. It was a good win on the road and part of maturing as a football team.
"Minnesota is a good football team coming in here. I think their offense is very difficult to defend. They have good balance, running and passing. They played against, particularly the last two weeks in Purdue and Ohio State, two undefeated football teams. In the Big Ten they've played some really good people. I like their young quarterback. They've got some good receivers and a good back. Defensively, they are a physical team, which is typical of Minnesota. I think that our kids have a lot of respect for Minnesota because physically the last two years they really got after us. We have different things we need to work on and a good week of preparation to get ready for them."
On Minnesota's offense compared to last season:
"It is quite a bit different. Their offense is similar to ours in looks. In the past they've been more of a traditional power, two tight ends, running football team. They've been one of the better running football teams in the country the past few years. They would get you with play-action pass, which is what they did last year against us. Early on they were a really good running football team, and they play-action faked and got some big plays down the field on us. This is a spread offense. They're like us where they will get under center and play a traditional set at times, but for the most part they are spread. Mike Dunbar, their offensive coordinator, is an outstanding football coach, and he was the coordinator at Northwestern for several years there with Randy Walker when they were gaining a bunch of yards and doing different things. The look of their current offense is very similar to that offense."
On having played Minnesota last year:
"I think that, obviously, when you're in conference play you can relate back to the year before or even two years because kids know who they are playing against. I said that as we were getting ready for Iowa. What happened the year before really had nothing to do with Saturday other than the fact that our kids knew who they were playing against. They are going to look at tape. Looking at last year's tape really is more for personnel than it is scheme right now because the schemes are different on both sides of the ball. I think that is something that is an advantage to conference play. They have the same advantage too. They can throw the tape on from a year ago and see our guys. I think each year is different. I think that probably this year in college football shows as much as any that you have got to play well on Saturday, and to play well on Saturday you have got to prepare well during the week. I know our kids have respect for them because they really have gotten thumped pretty good the last two years."
On Greg Middleton:
"Greg is a physically talented football player. He has got good strength and he's got good quickness. He has got great hand strength, and sometimes hand strength is so important in defensive linemen and pass rush in getting off blocks. He has got a good quick move, and he has gotten better each week too. I think he has gained confidence. He got to play last year, but this year, I think he feels like he really belongs, and you can see his confidence growing. He is physically a strong kid with good quickness and good hand strength."
On depth along the defensive line:
"That is one of the advantages that I think we do have, that we have that much depth and that Brian (George) does play them all. So that at the end of drives and at the end of series they're not just out there struggling, which you can if you've got to play every down of a long series. We have had some games where the teams were forced to throw it and they were going to throw maybe in hurry-up offense. A pass rusher not only has to rush the passer. Once the ball is thrown, he has got to turn and run to the ball as well. To have some depth and play different guys has certainly been an advantage for us."
On the increase in turnovers by Minnesota:
"I would say it is a combination between youth and a new offensive scheme. They've had to play from behind and did a great job. Bowling Green had jumped out in front of them, and they came back. Florida Atlantic was the same way. Purdue was the same way. They made a great comeback against Purdue. I think the flow of the game had something to do with it. You hate to say this, but some years you just commit some turnovers. I am sure they are working hard to correct that, and there is a lot of football left, and I am sure that is the way they are looking at it. We've been a little bit lucky. Our turnover margin is plus-5, which is really good, but we've had the ball on the ground too much. We've had the ball on the ground and recovered it, and then you are not going to get a play like we had last week for a long time, when not only you recover it but you recover it and run for a touchdown. That is being fortunate. I'm not going to sit here and say it is because we've done such a great job. We stress it. We talk about it a lot and we'll continue to. Sometimes you have those years where the ball gets on the ground and you never get back on it yourself. I think Kellen has done a very good job of taking care of the ball in the passing game. He had the one early on where he forced it in the red zone, but after that he was very, very good with the ball. I think that is an important thing too, because if you are going to throw it as much as we do, the quarterback has got to use good judgment."
On improving the small things:
"That is what we try to do every week. We talked about some of those things on Sunday, and we'll talk about them again today. It is the little things that you have to continue to improve on. You can't let those things slide. I thought we were better in all those areas Saturday. We had a couple penalties that we need to get corrected. The one huddle procedure penalty, they don't always call it, but by rule it was right. We had twelve in the huddle for too long. We weren't nearly ready to break the huddle, but we were by rule wrong there. The one that hurt us was the alignment on the punt. It was close, generally one that is not called, but by rule it was the right call. Those sorts of things we've got to get cleaned up. There are some penalties or some things that happen within the course of two teams playing hard on a football field. The things that you can eliminate that we always talk about are the pre-snap penalties. You certainly get those things corrected, which we'll certainly work on."
On touchdown celebration penalties:
"They go through all their meetings in the offseason and in the summers. Then they generally let us know points of emphasis for the year. That really wasn't one. When did it start, ten years ago, when they really tried to crack down on it? Every year it is a little bit different, and it is probably a bit different between crews. You know what is and what isn't. It is unique that both teams had kind of unusual touchdowns and both teams got penalized after them. By rule, both of them were a penalty. I don't think it is something where they've said `we're really going to crack down on this.' The one point of emphasis that they told us this year was more of protecting wide receivers on overthrown balls where they're unprotected and taking hits."
On Kellen's flip:
"It was a pretty athletic move. You see how big of a deal it is when they move it back and you're kicking from your own 15. It almost feels like a different sport when you're there. They moved you back to the 30 to start with. They had to start the second half the same way, which got us field position, not that we took advantage of it, but we had good field position to start the second half."
"If you think about it, not having James Brewer, but that was an injury that went back to last spring. Then we had Brad Martin get hurt, and then of course Terrance (Turner). So, we've had three different surgeries. They've all been leg related where we've lost guys for the year. I'm not sure when we're going to get Demetrius McCray back, but we'll get him back before long. But, other than that, we've been very fortunate. Especially when you talk to some coaches and you see some teams where they lost their eighth starter. And again, that is a little bit like turnovers, you coach them up and coach them up, and some years the ball bounces a funny way. Injuries are certainly that way. We all train very hard. We all work very hard in the weight room. We all study that. So it is not like one program has the answer over another about how you eliminate injuries."
On Minnesota's offensive team:
"They've got some quickness. I really like their quarterback. I think he is a good player. He can throw it, and he can run, which you kind of need in that offense. They've got good receivers. Wide receiver Eric Decker is a big guy. You know he is their leading guy. We've had a little bit of problems with some of those big physical guys. The kid at Western Michigan and the kid at Akron both caught some balls on us. Wheelwright, he has played a lot of ball against us, and he is a big target, so they've got some good weapons on offense."
On defending Minnesota's running game:
"You have to defend formations, and you have to defend plays, and you have to defend systems more so than players when it is the guy in the backfield. First and foremost you've got to tackle well. That is fundamental no matter who you are going against. Next thing, you've got to get your defense aligned in such a way that you have leverage on the ball depending on what kind of running scheme they have. I thought we did a good job against Iowa in the running game. They were going to gain some yards. They got some hits on us when it wasn't necessarily the guys up front but the coverage we were in that is not as strong against the run. Our whole idea going into the thing was keep the ball in front of us and not give up the big play. Really, the defense did that other than the last play of the first half."
On the contribution from players from the state of Indiana:
"We're really proud of who we are and that we're representing the state of Indiana. We certainly want to have Indiana guys play for us. That doesn't mean that we're not proud of the other guys too. There is a good showing there. You go along the defensive front. We've talked a lot about those guys and how many of them have played. Greg (Middleton) stands out. Brian Faires has played very well. The Burrus brothers have certainly played well. Fabiene Boone has been a backup and been a very good contributor. You've got two starting linebackers in McClurg and Patterson. That is important. On offense, you mentioned James (Hardy) and what he has done. Josiah (Sears) has done a great job. Guys up front, some old reliables, in Sandberg and Wyss have played a lot of football for us. Sexton is playing more at tight end. So as you go through it there are quite a few of them. (Austin) Starr has kicked he ball well and Hines is our punter. So, we're proud of that, and it certainly will always be an emphasis in our recruiting because that is where it all starts. Again, not that we're not going to go recruit other places too and get the best players we possibly can. I think that is a pretty good group of guys that are playing for us. I probably left somebody out there, and I didn't mean to do that."
On the team leading the nation in sacks:
"That is a pretty good accomplishment from where we were a year ago. I don't think that as a coach you think about those kind of things, leading the nation. You always look for improvement and we'd like to improve in that area. I think we have. Obviously, to be where we are, that is more than you probably would have expected. Part of that is the game situations we have been in. If you think about it, in our four wins we've had some leads where we forced people to throw the ball, which leads to sacks. We're proud of that."
On leading the Big Ten in sacks:
"It feels good. I worked pretty hard over the summer and in the offseason."
On the maturation process he has gone through:
"Last year I was just trying to learn the playbook and all the schemes that the coaches were teaching me. Coming into this year and being a bigger part of the defense this year feels good and makes me want to work harder."
On playing faster with an increased knowledge of the playbook:
"The more you know, the more it will help you on the field. If you know what the offense is going to do you can play faster and are able to make more plays."
On any moves that have helped him this year:
"Coach George has us do a couple pass rushing moves. But I look at NFL guys and see what kind of moves they do, like bull rushing and those types of moves, and I try to incorporate those moves into my game. I particularly watch Michael Strahan of the New York Giants."
On using last year's game at Minnesota as motivation:
"That was kind of embarrassing for me. Being a part of the defense, they put up 63 points on us so we have to come out and make a statement because that was embarssing."
On the depth of the defensive line:
"The more people we can have on the field will keep us fresh. So while we are in there we can go as hard and not worry about fatigue and just play hard and fast and get after the quarterback.
"What we have been doing is rotating four new guys in every other series. It is different in practice, but we usually do not put ourselves in and take ourselves out."
On the success meaning more being raised in Indiana:
"It is a good thing. For the past decade really, we haven't had too much success here. Being a kid from Indiana, being able to help the program get back to where it needs to be really feels good."
On the drills that the pass rushers work on in the summer:
"There are drills that we do in practice and we try to memorize those drills and get in as many of those in as we can. It can be bag drills or we are working the hands or opening the hips. But it is mainly keep going at it and keep our motor going and don't stop until the ball is down."
On leading the nation in sacks:
"It's a great feeling. We know it doesn't stop there; we have to keep on top of it. Things can change any week, so we want to improve and consistently get better every week."
On the Minnesota's offensive line:
"This is definitely going to be one of our toughest challenges. We did get a chance to look at a little bit of their film and saw their three-step drops and the quarterbacks getting the ball out quick. So we are going to have to get our hands up and knock the ball down a couple times during the game. But we are still going to have to keep the pressure."
On the feelings after Iowa scored right before halftime:
"We knew we were going to win the game. We had the feeling that we were doing what we needed to do. We knew that we had the edge and the mindset that we were not leaving that stadium with a loss. In the past, we didn't necessarily hang our heads, but I didn't see the spirit and everyone keeping their heads up as much as we do now."
On using last year's game at Minnesota as motivation:
"We went up there expecting to win that game and continue on to our goals, and they stopped us. After that we were not successful, so we have something in the back of our heads to get them and then, regardless, we are going to get after them because we have our goals and we are not going to let anyone stop us from getting there."
On watching the film of last year's game:
"I doesn't make me upset. It kind of enrages me a little bit and gives me that fire to want to go this year. We have been working so hard this summer and we are better. We can do different things now and that makes you want to go out there and play harder."
On that film bringing back bad memories:
"It does and it's going to. But Saturday night and Sunday morning I want to have good memories of playing Minnesota and erase the bad ones."
On getting a vote in the top 25:
"It means a lot. It really lets us know that we are getting that much closer to our goal. Everything is in line, we are starting to hit these intermediate goals with the big goal still in mind."
On adjusting the third-down packages:
"We did have some personnel packages last year so it's not that big of a change. We do rotate more people this year. If you are on the sidelines you need to be ready so when your package is called you can get out there and are ready. And we have done a pretty good job with that."