Head Coach Bill Lynch's Weekly Press Conference
Oct. 13, 2009
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:
"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:
On players who did not practice last week:
On areas where the defense and offensive struggled against Virginia:
"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:
On what improvements the team will make:
On Illinois' struggles with their offense:
"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:
On what the team did well last Saturday against Virginia:
On the redshirting situation with some of the freshman:
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:
On current player injuries:
On preparing for Illinois:
On keeping Chappell in the game against Virginia:
"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:
On negative feelings after a game like Virginia:
"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:
On approach to gauging a team's reaction to wins and losses:
"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:
"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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