Football

    Head Coach Bill Lynch's Weekly Press Conference

    Go Hoosiers! Head Coach Bill Lynch met with members of the media on Tuesday to discuss last week's game against Illinois and to look forward to Saturday's game at Northwestern.
    Go Hoosiers!
    Head Coach Bill Lynch met with members of the media on Tuesday to discuss last week's game against Illinois and to look forward to Saturday's game at Northwestern.
    Go Hoosiers!

    Oct. 20, 2009

    Coach Lynch Audio | Mayberry Audio | Chappell Audio

    Press Conference Video

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Head Coach Bill Lynch met with members of the media on Tuesday to discuss last week's game against Illinois and to look forward to Saturday's game at Northwestern. Coach Lynch was joined by junior Ben Chappell and senior linebacker Matt Mayberry.

    Here is a partial transcript of Tuesday's press conference:

    Opening Statement:
    "Let me mention the team awards for the Illinois game. The One Play Warriors for special teams were Nick Freeland, who I thought really bounced back from a couple of missed kicks and did a tremendous job with his kickoffs and big field goals at the end, Matt Ernest, Trea Burgess, Jerimy Finch, Justin Carrington, and Collin Taylor. Overall, I thought our special teams really played well on Saturday night other than the quick kick that ended up being a fluky play for us.

    "Our Scout Team Players of the Week on offense were Aaron Price and Duwyce Wilson. Defensively, our award winners were Milton Owens, a defensive lineman, and Peter St. Fort, a secondary player. On special teams Kyle Dietrick was our winner. Captains for the Northwestern game are Matt Mayberry, Austin Thomas, Ben Chappell and Mitchell Evans.

     

     

    "Looking back at the game, obviously it was a good win for us. I think certainly the levels of effort and intensity we played with were the key, especially early on in the game when we had some success moving the ball and were playing good defense, but we weren't getting any points to show for it. I thought our guys really hung in there and kept playing. We kept playing when they scored and made it 7-3.

    "We simply had a different mindset this week in terms of buying into playing the next play, not looking at the scoreboard, and realizing the outcome will take care of itself. I think from a statistical viewpoint we certainly talk about how stats show week in and week out, especially in a competitive game. Sometimes when you get a blowout one way or another, the stats don't hold up.

    "One of the things we knew we had to do against Illinois that we hadn't done against Ohio State and Virginia was getting some big plays. They don't have to be touchdown plays, but they need to be explosive because it becomes difficult to drive the ball five and six yards at a time. We had six big plays that certainly helped and a couple of the plays resulted in touchdowns. The catch and run by Damarlo and the long touchdown pass to Tandon were big plays. I was really happy with Troy Wagner and he made a great catch on his touchdown. He has been a very good blocker for us, but hasn't been really involved in the passing game so it was great to see a kid like Troy get a big play.

    "The other thing we talk about so much is turnovers. We created three turnovers, which were really big. The turnovers led to points, but also, the turnovers helped stop Illinois from scoring. It was 13-7 and we went for it on fourth down, but didn't pick up the first down. We got a stop and could not move the ball, and then they had an opportunity to score and take the lead late in the third quarter.

    "The other side of this argument is we had one turnover, but the defense came out and made a great stand to force a field goal attempt, which they missed. In those two areas, big plays and turnovers, we turned the table in what we have been doing the last couple weeks. I think that had a lot to do with it and is something we certainly concentrate on during the week in our preparation. The other thing is we were 50 percent on third down conversions, which is a big improvement over the previous two weeks. Illinois did a great job converting, particularly in the fourth quarter. I think those are areas we look back on and realize we played much better at from a statistical standpoint.

    "Northwestern is a team I have great respect for. I don't know of a football program out there that I have more respect for than Northwestern. Pat Fitzgerald and his staff have done a great job in the way their team plays. Defensively, they are very difficult to move the ball against. They are well coached, tough, in the right place, they tackle, they pursue and they play from start to finish.

    "Offensively, they are truly a spread offense and do a great job of spreading the ball around to different receivers. I think [Mike] Kafka is the right fit for them at quarterback. He also has the ability to run the ball. I believe last year, he came in and rushed for 200 yards against Minnesota.

    "They do a great job of converting. For a pass offense, time of possession is something they are good at because they can put together 14-, 15-, or 18-play drives. This means they are very well coached and execute well. We have had two great games with them the last couple of years. We did not play them for a couple years, but we had a great game in Evanston in 2007. They drove the ball the length of the field to score late and we had the ball back and turned the ball over at the end to lose. Last year was the same kind of game in which we were able to hold them off at the end and win. We certainly are going up to Evanston knowing we are going to have to battle for 60 minutes because Northwestern will."

    On Will Patterson, Donnell Jones, and Chris Adkins being out this weekend:
    "I don't really know how long they will be out as I talk here. I do know that we decided at our staff meeting they are out this week. I think Chris is out, call it long-term, and I don't know if that is season ending. We feel he has some time before he will be able to play again. I don't think we know for sure with Will and Donnell. I expect to learn more with them as we go, but they won't play this week."

    On preparing the defense for Northwestern with some defensive injuries:
    "We are not going to anything differently in terms of changing our schemes or anything, but we are going to get prepared for Northwestern within the concepts of what we do defensively and put together the best plan we can. It does shuffle our depth chart.

    "With Will, I have thought all along since spring that we really have four starting linebackers. Justin Carrington is a fifth-year senior who has played a lot, but hasn't played as much as Will, Tyler [Replogle], and Matt [Mayberry]. He certainly has played a lot of football for us, so he will step in and play for Will. From a linebacker standpoint, Leon Beckum should be back on Saturday, so that gives us depth at this position we haven't had the last couple of weeks.

    "Donnell's position is one you filter down as you keep losing secondary players. I thought Collin Taylor did a nice job of stepping in last week and certainly will be involved this week. You just hope guys like Collin have been locked in, but haven't gotten the opportunity to play are ready to go. Adrian Burks and Andre LaGrone are guys that are going to have to step up and provide the depth. Last week, it was Richard Council who came in and played well when Donnell went down.

    "I think that is why practice is so important as kids come down with injuries. A kid has to get himself prepared all of the time, because he doesn't know what week he will be called upon. Every rep since the beginning of August pays off and I think Collin Taylor is a perfect example of that. It will be somebody else this week who has to step up."

    On shuffling the defense against a quarterback like Kafka of Northwestern:
    "We went through a little bit of in-game shuffling last week where we had a quarterback who could certainly throw and move the ball. Illinois is one of the better running teams out of the spread and Northwestern can certainly run it, but Illinois has a little different spread.

    "There is certainly a threat with Kafka running the ball and they throw the ball very well. They spread the football around a lot. Their quick passing game is difficult to get to the quarterback because he gets rid of the ball quickly. It will be an important week of practice to get everyone prepared because we can put on the depth chart who the starters are Thursday, but we know the next guys are a play away from playing just like we went through on Saturday. It does stress you as a coach, but playing this offense certainly worries you because they spread you out so much. We have played spread teams throughout the year, but Northwestern is a team who really spreads the ball around well."

    On who would be the first linebacker off of the bench now with injuries:
    "It depends on situation. Chad Sherer would be the next outside linebacker and Beckum is an inside linebacker. I think it depends on the flow of the game because Replogle can move inside. There are so many scenarios like what if Mayberry went down? Then Replogle could come in to the middle for example. You could also go to a different kind of a nickel package. There are a lot more things I could tell you come Thursday after we have three good days of practice and find out exactly what the best combinations would be."

    On the Illinois win being a confidence booster going into the Northwestern game:
    "Every week is a new challenge. That is what is great about playing football in the Big Ten. You better not get comfortable with any win just like you better not get too down about a loss. You have to line up and get ready for next week. If you look throughout the league, there are some really good football teams, for example, look what Purdue did to Ohio State. They outplayed Ohio State from start to finish.

    "I think we are capable just as Illinois is capable of beating anyone. Certainly, each week you have to be ready to go. By the time you get to this point in the year, any one win at this point is good for your confidence. There is a maturity that goes with having a little success in that you have to put the success aside and get ready for practice and the next team. That is what really good football teams and programs do. You can't get too down on a loss and shut the book on it and move on. We will see how we react, but I'm looking forward to practice today and preparing for Northwestern."

    On getting a good feeling about how your team will play on Saturday during the week of practice:
    "You do and you don't get a good feel. Sometimes you think you have a great feel, while other times you are surprised on Saturday. I certainly think you get a feel for your preparation and how you are practicing. The intensity, how guys are locked in, and the little mental mistakes, and those things give a clue to your preparation.

    "I was very confident of our preparation last week because of the intensity of our practices. If you run into me on Saturday afternoon and ask how you are going to play, I never know for sure how we are going to play. I did feel like we were prepared and had a good week of practice for Illinois. I was concerned about our preparation the week before against Virginia because so many guys did not practice. I've seen guys through the years have bad practices and show up on Saturday and play very well. Generally, when a guy doesn't practice all week, he doesn't play really well on Saturday.

    "One thing that is interesting as you watch college football, is the first few weeks, there are a lot of upsets because you don't know your football team. I don't care who you are because you start the season out not knowing what kind of football team you have. That is when you see the upsets or near upsets. Then you get into the season and things start to play out and generally in the middle of the year, you have those games.

    "If you have two evenly matched teams and one team isn't playing at their best, is flat, or whatever term people want to use, then you have a blowout. You saw that around the country this week, too. I know that from checking scores on Sunday morning. If you have one team heavily favored over another, that is generally when there is an upset if you aren't ready to play each and every week. By the end of the year, you are through all of that in sense you know your team, been through the emotional highs, and the best team generally wins at the end of the year.

    "As a coach, do you know? You do not know until you line up and play. I talk to Don [Fischer] two hours before kickoff, but I don't know for sure until the ball is kicked off."

    On this game being a battle for one of the last bowl spots in the Big Ten:
    "It is not something we openly talk about, but there is no question we are thinking about it. We have smart guys on our football team and they have goals and aspirations. We do not dwell on that because we talk about controlling the controllables. We have to take care of business we have control over.

    "My biggest concern is how we practice today and hopefully we can get that message across to our players. Hopefully, they are setting individual goals for how they practice today and what they want to get accomplished today. Then we will regroup and do it again Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and play a game on Saturday. I think whenever you start looking long term, then that is when you are not at your best.

    "That is a human condition, I think. We all want to look ahead and play out the variables, but it always comes back to get you in sports. You better take care of that day and that is certainly what we stress and goes all the way back to playing the next play. That is how we have to approach this game, and the game against Northwestern is a big football game for us. I'm sure Northwestern feels the same way, but we are not going to openly talk about it. Our kids are aware of the ramifications, but if we keep talking about going to a bowl game and not worrying about today, we are never going to get there."

    On the year Matt Mayberry has had:
    "He really has had a great year. I'm really happy for him because no one puts more effort out than he does. He is a guy who works out year-round. Matt has a great offseason workout and is very dedicated. Football is very important to Matt. Those are the guys you really enjoy watching having success. I am sure Saturday was big for him too in beating Illinois. Anytime our Ohio kids play Ohio State or our Michigan kids play Michigan or Michigan State, it means something special to them. Our Illinois kids know it was a big game for them, but we do not openly talk about it."

    On Damarlo Belcher's importance to the team:
    "He is going to keep getting better if he works at it. Damarlo has a lot of ability physically in his size, speed and strength. He can catch the ball and has proven he can make someone miss when he runs the ball. That is the tough thing about spreading the ball around, because you would like to get everyone certain amounts of touches each game, but you have to take what the defense gives you. You can't force things. I see teams who try to force the issue and make sure this guy touches the ball so many times. It doesn't work out that way though. You have to play the game and let the opportunities come.

    "Your guys have to make the most of those opportunities and there were opportunities that came Damarlo's way Saturday. I was proud of him because he took advantage of his opportunities. We have two really good young wide receivers in Tandon [Doss] and Damarlo. I am confident they will continue to improve and work at it. They can catch the ball and run with the ball after the catch, which makes a receiver very dangerous."

    On the emergence of good wide receivers and the pistol offense:
    "It really hasn't changed our offense. One of the things we hoped with the pistol offense was to be able to run the ball well enough to force defenses to defend the run. If you get defenses totally committed to defending the run, you have a better chance of getting your receivers one-on-one on the outside where they have a chance to make plays. If you can't run the ball at all, then teams can run lot of cover-two type defenses where they only need a certain number in the box depending on how many wideouts you have to keep the good receivers in front of them. We went into this offense not only wanting to run the ball better, but to force people to respect and defend the run. I think what we have done with Mitchell Evans has been able to help too. We have been able to get some different formations to continue to be able run the ball effectively."

    On the touchdown pass to Troy Wagner being a confidence booster for Ben Chappell:
    "I think it is a confidence booster. I still want him to make the smart and right throw to the open guy, but that is part of playing that position. You want a guy to have confidence that he can make that play, but I thought Ben played a great football game. I think being the Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week was a very deserved honor. I really think Ben had control of the football game and that is what we are really looking for.

    "He is not going to beat you with his legs and he knows that. He is a smart football game who is one of the few quarterbacks I have been around who sees it. Ben can come off the field after a play or series and tell you exactly what he saw. You can't see it on the sideline I guarantee you because there are so many bodies in the way. When you turn the tape on Sunday, what he told you he saw is what happened. Ben is a unique quarterback who can do that. It takes a mature player who studies and works hard in the film room, so I think all of these aspects develop the confidence. When he makes plays like the throw to Troy, that will certainly help in his development."

    On how difficult it is for a coach to decide what to focus on in practice daily:
    "It is difficult. As a coach, you have to know your football team. You have to know what they need on a given day or week and that is why you go back to the question about a bowl possibility. If you spend your time dwelling on those things, you aren't doing your job.

    "We figure out a lot what we want to do in practice today. It is all scripted out and we spend a lot of time doing that. It is my job to ensure we are practicing with the intensity it takes to play on Saturday, but you do have to be smart particularly with the physical capability of the athletes. When I played, everyone was slow and no one hit that hard or got hurt. Now, if you do it with these guys every play, it is tough. You need enough intensity where you are playing at the speed of the game so that each and every Saturday you are ready to play.

    "Everyone has a different philosophy about practice. There are some major programs that win all of the time and play after New Year's Day, but don't tackle all year. There are some that line up and scrimmage every Wednesday. There are different ways they do it even in the NFL. I think each coach has to have his own philosophy and know what his team needs. I don't think you blindly say what you are going to do in practice each day of the week. I throw ideas off of the staff, but someone has to make the final decision. We do not have 10 guys vote. You talk to everyone who knows the kids and make a decision based on that. You have to have a gut feeling what a team needs and every team is different. Each week is a little bit different as well."

    On how his team will prepare this week for Northwestern in practice:
    "We will do a lot of the same, but we will do some things differently. We feel we have to create competitive situations in practice because that is what raises football players' level of intensity. We are going to do different situations where we are going to compete differently than we did last week. Regardless, if it is good competition, that is where you get your intensity and enthusiasm that it takes."

    On Collin Taylor's play last week and competing for a spot:
    "It wasn't a one-on-one competition because there were a lot of guys competing for the spot. With Collin, he has proven on special teams that he is a very good tackler. He has shown this for the last couple of years. Collin Taylor is a guy who you coach up and he will be there when he is supposed to be there. Last week, we were really impressed with how he practiced and where he was. He is a fifth-year senior and put a lot of time in this program and he got the start and did a great job. You compete everyday and we have 22 spots for 105 guys to fill. Jerimy [Finch] was one of our One Play Warriors so obviously he made significant plays and I think that is his first time being an award winner on special teams."

    On looking at the film on Sunday and realizing certain "fluky" plays shouldn't happen:
    "It is just like the quick kick that bounces off their leg and we recover. That is why football is a crazy game because the ball is not round. It bounces in several ways and football is a collision sport that forces the ball to bounce the way it does. As crazy as the turnovers were in Virginia, recovering a fumble on a quick kick was just as crazy. There are some fumble recoveries when it looks like an opponent will recover and then it bounces right or left and you recover. These bounces can turn a whole game around, but that is why it is such a great game."

    On having defensive back injuries and looking at using true freshmen:
    "We are not looking at burning redshirt players right now, but good question. The only guy who still has to be ready is Edward Wright-Baker and I talked to him about it yesterday afternoon. There is a point, that if something happens to Ben, we will use him, but we have not reached that point yet. He is still the next guy to go for quarterback. If Ben were hurt, then Ed would go, but if Ben just had to come out a few plays, we would use someone else temporarily. Something could happen in practice this week, but right now Ed is the only possibility."

    On Nick Freeland and being comfortable with his range:
    "I am comfortable with him up to 50 yards. If you look back on it, I am not sure why we haven't kicked from that far yet. Wind conditions, field conditions and other factors now come into play at this point of the year on. You do not know what you are going to see Saturday weather-wise. I have seen him hit long field goals in practice and he certainly is a good kickoff guy with good leg strength. Nick has had one block that was his fault at Akron, but other than that, he has done a good job. I wish I could say I was a great kicking coach, but I stand there and observe Nick all of the time. I know when he hits the ball well and when he doesn't. He hit the ball well on the two he missed on Saturday."

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