Head Coach Bill Lynch's Weekly Press Conference

    Go Hoosiers! Senior defensive end Jammie Kirlew joined head coach Bill Lynch at his weekly press conference.
    Go Hoosiers!
    Senior defensive end Jammie Kirlew joined head coach Bill Lynch at his weekly press conference.
    Go Hoosiers!

    Oct. 13, 2009

    Press Conference Audio: Coach Lynch | Kirlew and Mayberry

    Press Conference Video

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Head Coach Bill Lynch met with members of the media on Tuesday to discuss last week's game against Virginia and to look forward to Saturday's Homecoming game against Illinois. Coach Lynch was joined by senior defensive end Jammie Kirlew and senior linebacker Matt Mayberry. A partial transcript of Coach Lynch's remarks are below:

    Opening Statement:
    "Let me go over the awards for the week that were just presented to our guys last night at the meetings. Our One Play Warriors included Brandon Bugg, Trea Burgess, Ray Fisher, Chris Hagerup, Collin Taylor and Troy Wagner on special teams. I think Chris Hagerup really punted the ball well and hopefully got a little confidence as we head forward. I thought he punted the ball exceptionally well.

    "Our Scout Team Players of the Week that really do a great job week in and week out were Jamonne Chester, a young wide-receiver, and Patrick McShane, an offensive lineman, on offense. Milton Owens, a defensive lineman, and Alex Webb, a defensive back were our award winners on defense. Kevin Bush, who does a little bit of everything, was our winner on special teams.



    "Our captains for this week against Illinois are Mike Reiter, Bryan Payton, Will Patterson and Jamie Kirlew.

    "One of the things in the game itself that we talk to our players about all the time, is you can take stats and play with them any way you want, but there are three areas we really feel are so important for us to win football games and compete. In fact, we have a big board on the other side of the facility that says if you win the battles, you win the wars. There were three battles we lost that really made a big difference looking back at the game.

    "One was the turnover battle. You have to win that battle. We had two turnovers and we never made Virginia turn the ball over. So, we lost that one. The other one that is really significant that I thought was really significant in the Virginia game was big plays. They had nine big plays and we had one. I think that is a credit to Virginia's defense because they do a good job of keeping the ball in front of them. We didn't get any big plays and it really is hard to drive the ball all day long against a good team. That is something was a big factor and we obviously gave up big plays. The third down conversions, which are really the strength of Virginia's defense, held us to 38%, which is better than what they have been giving up in all honesty. They converted six of eleven third downs, 55%, which is not good. So, in the areas we talk about so much, we really did not do a very good job.

    "I think the score obviously reflected that. It is time to move on and that is the beauty of football. It is a big week. Homecoming is always big for a lot of reasons. I think our kids know there is a different buzz about the game and there is a lot going on this week on campus. We will be involved in some of the festivities on Friday and of course Hoosier Hysteria, the volleyball game, and the game on Saturday, a Big Ten Network game, make it a big week.

    "Preliminary sales have been good meaning the crowd will be good. We encourage the students to keep coming back and it can be a big and fun night. We want everyone to take part so we are looking forward to the game.

    "Illinois is a very good football team. I said that about Virginia last week and some people looked at me funny. Who you play and when you play has an impact on your record early in the year. Illinois played Missouri, Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan State. Those are four really good football teams. Missouri should be undefeated except for a crazy fourth quarter Thursday night against Nebraska. Ohio State and Penn State are teams we certainly know are good. Michigan State is certainly an outstanding team who had some tough losses, but bounced back.

    "Illinois has gotten after us the last few years and have many of the same players back. Getting back to work, having a great week of preparation, and doing the things we need to do in order to win football games like turnovers, creating big plays, preventing big plays and being better on possession downs are certainly going to be points of emphasis as we go through the week."

    On recent flu illness problems:
    "We had the flu last week. I certainly wouldn't in any way use that as an excuse. I think it is something we all are going to deal with throughout this fall. It looks to me like the flu is on every college campus in America. I think teams are going to have it in various degrees and I am not too worried about it. Certainly, we are hitting that time of the year, but the biggest thing is we had several guys on defense that didn't get a chance to practice last week. No practice sometimes reflects on the field. It is not an excuse because that is all part of it. Virginia may have had guys out too that we didn't know about. We did get hit pretty hard last week especially on the defensive side of the ball."

    On players who did not practice last week:
    "Deonte Mack did not practice. Middleton did not practice. It runs together after awhile. We are moving on because it may happen again. We can't use the flu illness as an excuse."

    On areas where the defense and offensive struggled against Virginia:
    "Obviously from a defensive standpoint, there were some basic fundamental things we did not do against Virginia. We didn't tackle well. When you get right down to it, we have to do a better job tackling. I think we gave up too many big plays and some of them were in the passing game where an individual got beat or we gave up big plays because we missed some tackles on a catch or run at the line of scrimmage. We did not have the right fits at times. When I say that, I mean up front in the run game.

    "Those are all correctable things that we have to work on. From an offensive standpoint, we needed to get some big plays. One of the things we wanted to do is stay out of third and long. We did a pretty decent job of getting three or four yards a carry and getting it to be third and three or so, but then we didn't convert.

    "They had really good nickel and blitz packages, which is why they are so good at third down conversions. We didn't convert enough in third down situations. Even with that, we didn't get any big chunks of yardage and the biggest point in the game was when we had the ball down near the red zone on the opening drive.

    "We had a fluke turnover where really it was an interception where the ball hit the player's foot and he ran the ball back. It was 14-0 and we had three straight stops where the defense played pretty well and we didn't do anything. When you get stops, you have to score points. You might get it to 14-7 and then might hang in there until half time and regroup. The other thing happened though. We didn't play well at the end of the second quarter. We gave up some big plays and had another turnover and all of a sudden it was 30-0 at half. At that point, it was very difficult to come back. We came out third quarter and they scored again. We didn't play well enough. We have to make good improvement this week."

    On players being down after the game:
    "I think any time you get in a game like that and get beat soundly that is the way you feel about the game. I also know that night and next morning you are breaking down the film, analyzing what you did and didn't do well, looking at what adjustments you need to make, and go back to work. All of a sudden you are so involved with the next game in Illinois you just move on. That is how you have to handle the situation. We certainly addressed the mistakes yesterday in our meetings and with the team. Then we began preparing for Illinois."

    On what improvements the team will make:
    "We are going to tackle better and have better fits. Our defense is going to eliminate the big plays, but in order to do that, offensively we have to get the big plays. We have to convert on third downs and can't make excuses if one guy wasn't playing. That is the plan for today at practice. We have to play better football. There is no specific thing we can do to get it solved. When you get beat like that, we just didn't play well enough to win football games. That is why we all have to take responsibility for the loss and get back to work today."

    On Illinois' struggles with their offense:
    "They have a lot of talent. Juice Williams had big days against us the last few years. They have a really impressive good group of wide receivers like [Arrelious] Benn who are big and physical guys. They block you on the perimeter and get the ball on the perimeter with the option game. We have to be very aware of the different things they do in the running game. They have a stable of backs who I think are very good.

    "Defensively, I think they have a very good secondary. They lost a very good player in Vontae Davis, but I really like the looks of their secondary. They have some down guys like [Doug] Pilcher and Josh Brent who are forces inside. They are a good football team who has played against some very good teams. I do think when you are coming off of a game like we had, we have to get better ourselves. We have to get back to playing our football. We have to get back to playing good, hard-nosed football. That is a challenge we have this week."

    On what it takes to tackle well:
    "Fundamentals are things we have to work on. I can give you a clinic, but you have to keep your head up, run through the tackle, and don't dive, reach or grab. It's all about fundamentals like blocking. There are fundamentals of blocking, tackling, throwing and catching. We have to execute those fundamentals. If you don't, against a good football team, it is going to show itself and it showed itself last Saturday."

    On what the team did well last Saturday against Virginia:
    "That was hard to find. I thought our punt coverage was good. I thought [Chris] Hagerup punted really well and we had one good kickoff return. I thought Bryan Payton, a fifth-year senior who played early and hasn't played too much the last few games, came in and ran like a guy trying to win a job. I was proud of him. There were some other things, but overall, it is hard to say we did one thing well when we got beat like we did."

    On the redshirting situation with some of the freshman:
    "We still some tough decisions to make in regards to redshirting. I think I could say it now, but something could happen this week, and what I say changes. That is the thing about redshirting is you don't have declare or send a letter. It is simply they play or they don't.

    Damon Sims was a guy we were preparing to play at linebacker possibly. I say at this point, we will probably redshirt him. Two other guys that fit in that mold are Edward [Wright-Baker] and Mitch [Ewald] and we will keep going and see where we are. At some point, we do have to make that decision, but I think we are at that point right now.

    "That is why I say you could get a rash of injuries somehow that someone else could be affected by. Damon was the closest one we were traveling and preparing to play. At this point, it looks like we are probably going the other way with him. There is too much football left. It is a balancing act what is best for the young man and what is best for the football team. With six football games left and where we are sitting, there is so much out there in front of us.

    "It is too early because that position (quarterback) is too important. That is why it is different with Ed. With Mitch Ewald, Nick has kicked pretty well. I think Nick will keep going and generally that guy doesn't get hurt. That is why that is a little bit of a different situation. It doesn't hurt us to keep Nick going. The quarterback situation is something we will evaluate week by week and have a plan going into the game each week."

    On using last year's big loss to Illinois as motivation:
    "You don't have to use it as motivation when they guys have played. They remember the game. In all honesty, Illinois got after us like Virginia did. I don't think anybody that made the trip to Virginia last week will forget that and the same goes with those who made the trip to Champaign last year. If that is the source of motivation, then fine. The source of motivation is we have to get better as a football team. Anytime everything is based on one game or getting back, that generally doesn't last very long. The really good football teams work hard and get better. That is why Ben probably said last week that the team wasn't our football team. We need to get back to the way we are capable of playing."

    On current player injuries:
    "They are gimpy for practice today. I don't read that much into the injuries before we practice on Tuesday. It is more about the time we get to Thursday that I evaluate injuries. Darius [Willis] did a few things, but Pete [Saxon] didn't. It was a non-contact practice."

    On preparing for Illinois:
    "We are going to prepare and look for Illinois' best shot like we got Virginia's best shot last Saturday."

    On keeping Chappell in the game against Virginia:
    "When you get in a game like that, you want to keep going because at some point you want to get better. You have to keep going. If you just pull your quarterback out, then you are saying you aren't going to get any better. The other side is, you want to give kids the chance to play. With Ben going, there wasn't a conscious decision in that sense and then we decided to put Adam [Follett] in for the last drive. We were not ready to burn Ed's redshirt year to go in and get some reps. Obviously, that factor entered into play.

    "It wasn't like Matt [Canada] and I spent a lot of time talking on the headsets. We simply decided Ben would go one more drive and then Adam would go the next drive. That is about as much thought as we put into the decision.

    "Ben has played solid. Ben had more pressure on him than he has had. It doesn't end in sacks every play, but eventually just hits to the face, in the case with the second interception where he simply overthrew is receiver, lead to problems.

    "He has taken care of the ball well, though, and the two sacks during the game were back-to-back. One was on a play-action we shouldn't have had and the other was on a fourth down that was my fault. It was 21-0 and we were on the 34 and I am normally pretty good about not second-guessing because when it's over, it is over. Maybe we should have gone ahead and punted the ball, but we were down 21 and trying to get a score. It was too far to kick a field goal so we took a sack there.

    "We have to get bigger plays either by catch and run or by the running game like someone breaking a tackle. Ultimately, the quality of the defenses we are playing, it is difficult to beat them with consistent four or five yard plays. At some point, they are going to get a stop and you are going to have to punt the ball."

    On defense playing well the first five games, but giving up nine big plays against Virginia:
    "We are going to go back to work and really work on preventing big plays. We can't have big plays. I could go through each big play, but that doesn't do us any good. A lot of it is fundamental things like a talked about before. We have to tackle better, have a better pinch on the run game, and cover people better. There is not any magic to it. I think our players understand that and that is why we have to have a great week of practice. Each one of the plays was a fundamental error. It wasn't like the play was an unfair advantage. It was not playing the way we need to play."

    On negative feelings after a game like Virginia:
    "I think that is all part of playing. When you have success, you feel good about yourself, but when you don't play well bad feelings creep in. That is why I talk to the team all the time and talk about the truth. You are never as good or bad as you think. The truth always lies somewhere in between. That is where we are as a football team. This can be a very good football team.

    "We played poorly on Saturday. There is no denying that, but that happens and I don't like it or ever want it to happen again. You deal with it and you move on. I think that is where we are. You get your confidence back and get feeling good by going out and practicing hard. You get it going again and by Thursday, you are ready to go again. It is going on all over the country right now.

    "What is disappointing is you always want to give whoever you are playing right now your best shot and we didn't give Virginia our best shot. That is disappointing, but it is just over. That is the whole problem with the psychology of sports. You have a good game and all of a sudden, you think you are great, but you're not any better. When you have a bad day, you are not any worse. The players have to be mature enough to understand that and what we did wrong, and need to get corrected."

    On feelings of seniors and all the fundamental problems with the team:
    "There isn't any question that is disappointing. I use this term with everyone and the staff. We are disappointed, but not discouraged. There is too much left. I talked to our team about this before we played Michigan. We are trying to break the season down into a game. We came out and started 3-0 the first quarter of the season and came out the second quarter and were beaten soundly the second quarter. We had a bad second quarter. That is what it is. We still have a whole half to go. We can sit around and feel sorry for ourselves or take the other approach and say we are going to get back to playing our football and get back to practicing that way. There is a lot out there for us."

    On approach to gauging a team's reaction to wins and losses:
    "I thought we had a really good practice yesterday and that is all I can go off of. One of the things I do like, but everyone is different in their approach, is we have to give them a day off a week. There was a time around here when we brought them back in here on Sunday, showed them film, had them workout, sent them home, and gave them Monday off.

    "My experience is that when you give them Monday off, you really don't give them a day off. They still have to get up and go to school like the rest of us. Monday is a workday just being a college student. I always like Sunday off because they can be a college kid by lying around and watching NFL football. They can do what the rest of the kids around campus are doing on Sunday.

    "It also gives us a chance to get away from the game and evaluate. You need that 24-hour period and I mean that even when you have a big win. When you have a game like Saturday, you need that 24 hours and you move on. As a staff, we were right back at it Sunday afternoon and met to get on with preparing for Illinois. By the time the players come back on Monday, we are ready to go. They can't wait to play football by the time they come back on Monday after watching NFL and Sunday Night Football. You see the reaction on the practice field and in the meetings. I think they have done a good job of moving on. It is not hard because they have a lot of respect for Illinois and are jacked up for Homecoming."

    On the backup quarterbacks giving signals during the game:
    "You have to talk to Coach Canada about that because that always confuses me. They have these secret meetings where they develop their signals, but don't share it with anyone. It is no different than the third base coach in baseball giving the signals. The only difference is they have dummy signals.

    "When I was growing up and playing catcher, one was straight and two was crooked. Other teams try to steal your signals. I get a kick out of that. We have three quarterbacks and keep changing the signals up maybe by series or who the live guy is versus the dummy guy. They have fun with it. They can make up their own code words and signals. As long as the players understand, that is all that matters. Some staffs let the coaches do it, but we let the quarterbacks do it."


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