Oct. 9, 2007
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -
Head coach Bill Lynch met with the media on Tuesday, Oct. 9, for his weekly press conference in preparation for the Hoosiers' contest against Michigan State on Saturday, Oct. 13. He was joined by junior wide receiver James Hardy and sophomore running back Bryan Payton.
Watch the video of the press conference as part of IUHoosiers.com All-Access by clicking HERE
Head coach Bill Lynch
"After studying it, we felt good about how we played against Minnesota in all phases. I thought, offensively, other than the fact we had to settle for field goals, we were very productive. We had seven straight drives with scores and are very pleased with that. At some point, settling for field goals in the red zone can come back to get you. That will be a point of emphasis this week as we go through practice.
"Minnesota is a very good offensive football team and we knew they were going to move the football. Your scout team guys can give you a good look, but it is not the same speed as your opponent and that is what happened those first couple drives. We were in the right spot, but we had to catch up to the speed. I thought our defense played well throughout the rest of the game.
"Special teams were very solid, particularly the big punt return that we had with Tracy (Porter) that set up a score. He's a good player, but there was some good blocking and execution there. And then with Austin (Starr) getting the special teams player of the week award (from the Big Ten), it is a really nice honor for him. And anytime you go 12 for 13, that is pretty good kicking in game competition. So he has done a good job and I should also mention Tim Bugg, the long snapper. He is kind of an unsung hero there, on punts and extra points, he does a good job as does Dustin Hass, the holder. He is new to the job this year and has done a really nice job.
"Michigan State is a different kind of football team. When you watch a lot of tape, they are a good football team. They have a good-looking team and a lot of seniors. It is a new system, but there are a lot of good football players out there. They have lost two tough games. They went to Wisconsin and got to the fourth quarter with a chance to win. And then last week, the Northwestern game was just one of those wild shootout games that you sometimes get in. They are a very physical team on defense. And offensively, they are the same way. You can tell why they are tough because they are tough on both sides of the ball. I like the young quarterback that they have. (Javon) Ringer is a very good tailback and the wide receivers are impressive. Their offensive line has three or four seniors so they have experience there. It's going to be a good football team that we play and a tough environment, similar to Iowa. There is a great tradition at Michigan State and it is a night game and I don't think they do that a lot. So it will be a wild environment. Our trip to Western Michigan was that way until the rain came and Iowa was that way. So hopefully those will prepare us to what we are getting into."
On Michigan State:
"They are really balanced. Their numbers are really balanced. But it starts with the running game. They are very big, a typical Michigan State team. They have a big offensive line, big tight ends and big fullbacks. They will pound it and then they have physical receivers. They have had big strong receivers in the past. But sometimes they have had big games throwing the ball and sometimes they have big games running the ball. Against Northwestern, they had a lot of yards rushing and against Wisconsin they had a lot of yards throwing, so they can do both."
On Michigan State running back Javon Ringer:
"Ringer is really good. I probably am not the right person to compare these two, but I think he is along the lines of (Illinois running back Rashard) Mendenhall, a really good Big Ten back. He has quickness, breaks tackles and is a physical kid."
On the Michigan State defense getting so many sacks:
"One interesting thing about this game is that Pat Narduzzi is their defensive coordinator. Pat was coach Hoeppner's defensive coordinator at Miami University for a couple years. Brian George and Joe Palcic, our defensive coordinators, were on that staff as well. So what they do defensively is very similar to what we do defensively. They have some different parts to it and (Michigan State head coach) Mark Dantonio has a defensive background after being defensive coordinator at Ohio State. They have a good pressure package, just like we have developed a pretty good pressure package as well. They can get pressure with their four-man rush but when they go to their blitz package, they can create some confusion as well. So the answer to your question is that it is probably similar to our own team in that they get pressure off the base four-man rush and blitz packages.
"No matter if a coach has worked on the same staff or not, things evolve through the years with different players. But there are some similarities between the two teams along with the fact that the coaches worked together for coach Hep not too long ago."
On running back Bryan Payton:
"Bryan played very well on Saturday. But it really didn't surprise anybody on the staff or the team. It is one of those thing where Bryan has practiced that way every day for a couple of years. You hate for guys to get hurt or dinged up, but it's not like `what going to happen now' when he goes in there. How he played really didn't come as a surprise to anybody on our sideline.
"As we go to practice today, we certainly feel like Josiah (Sears) will be able to play and Marcus (Thigpen) is going to be able to play. I would think that Bryan is going to be a big part of the game as well."
On going to a plan B after the injuries to Sears and Thigpen:
"We were down two running backs and we still had a half of football to go. So the guy we talked to was Justin Carrington, who came in a as a running back and has been a linebacker since the Spring. We went to him at halftime and said `listen, if something happens, you have to know how to block this protection and run this play' and he said okay, so we moved on. That was our top secret thing. Now with a week of practice we will be able to get some of the younger guys ready. You don't want to use up guys redshirts if you don't have to. It would be different if the guys were having season-ending injuries, then you would really have to go to plan B."
On the injuries to the other guys:
"(Tyler) Replogle is out for the season with a knee injury. It was confirmed that he tore his ACL, so he will be having surgery. Now they rehab you a couple weeks before surgery, so he will have his surgery about a week after Terrance Turner. Unfortunately, we have had a couple young guys go down two weeks in a row.
"Ben Wyss is feeling better. I just talked to him and he is better. He's not going to practice today. He just got beat up a little bit and is a little stiff. This time of year, you aren't going to have everyone running around full speed on Tuesday. But just talking to him, he feels pretty good."
On Northwestern's spread offense beating Michigan State"
"Northwestern just made a bunch of plays. They threw it up a little bit and made plays. Northwestern is a pretty good football team and you can tell that they have gotten better week by week. Their quarterback is playing better and better. And Northwestern has gotten in some of those games in the past few years and put the points up in a hurry."
On the games being on the Big Ten Network hurting recruiting:
"I don't think it hurts. I think how we play and if we can continue to have success will be a big part of that. We certainly have ways of showing kids how we play when we get them on campus. They can watch games and watch tapes. Some of them, as we have talked to them, have seen us on the Big Ten Network.
"I think in time, the Big Ten Network will be a tremendous boost to us. It is really top flight and very well done and it will be a really valuable part of getting our message out about our program."
On getting votes in national polls:
"Honestly, you wake up on Sunday and you watch the tape of your game and then you start getting ready for your next opponent. That is what we have done non-stop since Sunday afternoon and are looking forward to going out to practice today to see if the stuff we planned has a chance to work. We don't really spend a whole lot of time with that. I'm sure the players look at that. They have worked very hard and practiced hard and like being recognized by people that notice they are playing pretty good football. But as a coaching staff, you don't spend a whole lot of time with that."
On the impact of the scout team last week:
"I told them after the game on Saturday that both sides of the ball did a great job with the scout team. And the reason they don't do it at the same speed is that they don't know the plays because you are running them off cards. By Thursday, you have seen that card enough times that you know how they run each play and the speed gets faster.
"Today, those scout team guys will be going out and being taught a whole new offense. We will tell them you are going to be this guy this week and you are going to be this guy this week and this is how he does things. And then they have to be pretty good actors. But just like anything else, it takes a while to get the feel how you want it done so it gets faster as you get through the week.
"A big part of why we are 5-1 is because we are a team, and I really mean that. These guys have all bought in that we are doing this thing together and everyone has a roll and will take part in the success. I certainly hope that they feel that way."
On thinking about how much Coach Hep would have enjoyed what is going on now:
"Yes, we have thought about that a lot. He is the foundation for this whole program. Whether you are walking around the office or the meeting rooms, his signs and his slogans are everywhere. There is no question when the game is over and you are getting ready for the next week, especially when you are in Big Ten play. You knew how he felt about this team or how to approach this game. That's part of friendship and knowing his philosophy and how he looked at things. So there is no question about that."
On what he has learned about the team over the course of the season so far:
"I think you have a pretty good feel on how they get prepared for a game. I have learned that this is a very workman-like team. It's a team you don't have to motivate to work hard or practice hard. You also don't have to coach effort a lot, and that's important. They have really done a nice job of mentally getting themselves ready to play. We weren't great at the start of every game so far, but for the most part we were very solid."
On getting the team to not pay attention to the media:
"All of us in coaching learn to deal with that. And as a player, you learn to deal with that. I have often used the phrase `you are never as good or bad as you think, the truth lies some where in between.' We just take our own situation. Before the Illinois game, everyone was telling us we were this and after the game they were telling us we were this. Neither one was true, we weren't that good before and we weren't that bad after, we were somewhere in between and have a big game this week. Michigan State is the same way."
Junior Wide Receiver James Hardy
On previous offensive success against Michigan State:
"We have the same mindset that we had the first six weeks, come in and don't take anyone lightly. As an offense we have to try to find the holes in the secondary and try to exploit them like we did with each and every other team. They are going to be more physical with us because they weren't last year, so we've got to come prepared and be on our A-game like we have been."
On what he will focus on in his film study:
"I'll look at the things I did wrong last year. I won't look at the things I've done with the touchdowns and the big plays I've made. I've seen those enough. I'm trying to exploit them and see my the weaknesses that I had against them last year and turn them into positives this year. As far as other teams, I'm going to watch every game that they've played this season, which we started yesterday, and just try to find the holes."
On representing Fort Wayne:
"It has been a long time coming for Payton because, being from Fort Wayne, I've seen him do that every week (his performance against Minn.). The way he torched us in high school, its about time. So now we're just trying to get it on a consistent basis. He works extremely hard, and I knew it was coming. He has been patient. It is just good to see he is finally getting the recognition he deserves."
On Indiana getting votes in the polls:
"It is good for us as a program because we're trying to put Indiana football on the map where it needs to be. Coach Hep put a dangerous team together, and Coach Lynch is doing a wonderful job making sure everyone stays together and the chemistry continues to grow each and every week. It is just good to see recognition nationally, but at the same time, we've still got to have the same mind frame that we've had and not worry about the polls. The more wins that we get, that will just come with it. As long as we get those W's, that is the only thing that needs to be on each and every individuals mind. As long as it keeps happening and we keep playing like we have been, we'll let that speak for itself."
On the team's start:
"We knew before the season started that this was going to happen, honestly. We thought we would be 6-0 right now after going through our schedule and knowing how hard we had worked in the offseason, so we're not surprised by it. Everyone else is surprised. I mean the fans are still not there. We still need more people out there supporting us. This is history in the making. We knew it was going to happen. Coach Hep knew it was going to happen, and now we are just actually living in it. We knew the bowl game was going to come, and now we're just trying to get to the biggest one possible, and just surprise even ourselves."
On Bryan Payton in high school:
"A little cocky, strong, very determined person. You (Payton) had what 365 yards against us? I mean that speaks for itself. Finally, on what the second or third touchdown I came up to you (Payton) and was like, `It's just like we are back at home, right?' To see him at this stage now. Everyone goes through their little bumps in the road, but now he has actually got the confidence and has everyone behind him to believe in him. We're expecting big things out of him like Concordia did when he was in high school."
Sophomore Running Back Bryan Payton
On his mindset going into the Minnesota game:
"My mindset going into the game was just to remain ready. I knew I'd be playing in the game. I didn't anticipate two of our backs getting hurt. Basically, I knew I just had to continue what I had been doing. I always try to run hard. I always want to work hard and contribute to help the team win. It was just a blessing for me to get an opportunity and do great things. With that being said, we need everybody, and I hope those guys have a speedy recovery."
On his confidence level after a big game:
"It definitely gives a boost to my confidence. I knew that I was capable of rushing for touchdowns and doing great things, but it just seconds the fact that I know I can do it. Seeing yourself go out and do it in a big-time Big Ten game like that. At the time you don't realize what is going on, but this weekend felt like high school again, to be able to go out there and do something great. I knew I had it in me, and it was good to go out there and do it."
On looking ahead at what could be:
"With that being said, I think we all know we have many supporters and a lot of fans, but in the back of everybody's head there is always a little bit of doubt, and part of becoming a great team is erasing that doubt. It is always, `we know you can win but...' or a what if. You can't be a but or what if. It is we are going to win period, and you have to go into the game with that attitude. I know every single guy on the team goes in with that attitude. It is just getting the fans to believe and come out and see us play."
On when the winning attitude developed in the program:
"I think we've had it ever since I've been here. When Coach Hep came in, he didn't put any limitations on us. He told us what our goal was up front, gave us the tools to do it and got us prepared every week. It didn't come the first two seasons, but not everything is going to go your way. We continue to keep working hard, and we've all known that great things were going to happen and this is our year. Everybody else is surprised, but we're not at all."
On James Hardy in high school:
"What I remember most is James was an amazing basketball player in high school. I remember he wouldn't even be playing Concordia, which is the high school I went to, but I would make it a point to go see him play. I remember the gyms being just packed, and he could leap out of the gym. As far as on the football field, I know when we played against him he had about four or five touchdowns. He was their team pretty much. He was just unguardable, which he still is."
On his blog:
"The blog was something I had been thinking about for six months previous because I just like to write for the fun of it. It actually took a buddy of mine who graduated from Southern Cal, who was a journalism major, it took him to get me to really do it. He told me it would be a good idea to do it. I was wondering if my teammates might not like it. In the end, I didn't really want to worry about that because I wanted to do it for post-career opportunities because you've always have to have a plan B. As far as the way the teammates take it, I think they like it. They're always joking with me about `when am I going to be on there?' or they always want to be talked about on there. I make it a point to keep things positive and just really put thoughts from a player's perspective. It is really fun to do it, and I think it is fun for people to read as well. I try to make it more for the fans instead of the players. The players, we're there everyday. They don't need to necessarily read it. It is more toward the fans."