Oct. 23, 2007
Press Conference Video
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -
Head coach Bill Lynch met with the media on Tuesday, Oct. 23, for his weekly press conference in preparation for the Hoosiers' contest at Wisconsin on Saturday, Oct. 27. He was joined by junior wide receiver James Hardy.
Head coach Bill Lynch
"We have to get ready for another really good football team in Wisconsin. They are a lot like what we have seen the last two weeks. They are very physical. They have good balance like Penn State, in terms of running and passing. I would assume that they would probably try to run the ball on us and they have had success in the past doing that on us. They do a great job of throwing the ball down the field and the play-action pass. (Tyler) Donovan, their quarterback, is a good player. He is really active and you can tell he is a leader and a competitive guy.
"And then defensively, I have always felt Wisconsin is always so sound. They are big, physical and tackle really well, run to the ball and are well coached. We will be challenged there as well going into their environment. We were in a tough environment in Iowa and handled it very well. We went to a tough environment at Michigan State and didn't respond as well. So we have another opportunity to see how we respond at another one of these great college venues in Madison."
On the team's injuries:
"I don't think Demetrius McCray is going to be back this week. He is going to run around a little bit and do some drill work. Right now, I would say he would not play this week, but we are gaining on it.
"We are hopeful that we get Nick Sexton back this week. Other than that, we have been pretty fortunate. We have some guys dinged up a little bit, but we should have everybody else out there playing.
"(Charlie) Emerson is beat up and I don't know how much he will do today, but I think that he is much better than he was a week ago at this time. He has a combination of his ankle, knee and shoulder. He's just one of those old veterans that is a little beat up. He is a tough guy and I would expect him to be back."
On Emerson's replacement last week, Mike Stark:
"I thought he handled himself well. That's not to say he didn't get beat a couple times. Everyone that we saw Penn State play, their tackles struggled some with their outside guys, but he and Roger (Saffold) both played really well.
"I thought our guys inside really battled. There were a few sacks, but we had gotten to the point with the score that we had to throw it, so you are going to have a little bit of that."
On Wisconsin's play-action:
"We have to be sound, that's the biggest thing we have to do. There is a fine line, that when you play a team that can really pound you running the ball; you still have to stop the run. That is a coaching cliché but I think there is a lot of truth to it. The problem with that is if you commit everyone to stopping the run against a good team is going to be able to play-action pass and beat you down the field. They have good skill on the outside and they have hurt us pretty good in the past couple years with the play-action pass. So we can't let them run the ball up and down the field on us, but we have to be smart in what we do. I am a firm believer that first downs and yardage doesn't beat you, points beat you. Big plays from either the run game or the pass game are what beat you.
"The other thing that Wisconsin is so good at, and are leading the Big Ten in, is time of possession. That is not always reflective of winning and losing, but if that's your style of play, then it can be very effective. You have to get yourself off the field and get stops, but you can't give up points. One of the things that I hope our defense learned from Saturday is to keep battling and force people into field goals because it gives your team a chance. If our defense had buckled in the second half in any of those situations (against Penn State), we wouldn't have had the ball with a chance to win at the end. But because they did, we had a chance."
On whether there is fatigue after playing eight weeks in a row without a bye week:
"I think there is, but everybody else has the same situation. But that is why in the Big Ten, everybody talks about that and it being a physical league. But I like this football team, I think we have a physically tough team as well a mentally tough team. They have not shown the effects of it and have come to work every day ready to go. But I think everybody in the Big Ten is probably going through it a little bit."
On Wisconsin running back P.J. Hill:
"He is a really good back, and every team seems to have one. He has lost a little bit of weight, I think, but he is still a big, physical back. He's different than (Javon) Ringer from Michigan State, who would go in and out of the holes a little bit. Hill will take you on and they have a fullback that is about 270 pounds and a big offensive line. Having said that, I am sure they are going to try to make this as physical as they can."
On the team's plans to stop the run after giving up big yardage to run-oriented teams this season:
"We're going to do our thing. We believe in what we do, and we're going to do it better than we did it against Michigan State. We did it better last week against Penn State, in all honesty. We're going to do it better again this week. Some of it is just technique. Some of it is reading your keys and the right fits and leverage on the ball. Like everything else you can't have he one big run like Ringer had on us. Those are the things that get you. The big play-action passes that we talked about for the touchdown. Those are the things that put you in a bind. Now all of a sudden it changes what you want to do offensively, and it changes what they can do defensively, so the whole game changes when you give up those big plays."
On the absence of Demetrius McCray and the team's lack of rushing production:
"Sure we miss Demetrius, but I think it (the production) is somewhat reflective of who we've played. We've played some pretty good football teams, that have done a good job, but there are some similarities from our losses to our wins that jump out at you. Those are the things, as much as anything else, that we have to correct. I think you've got to know who you are and what it takes for this football team to win. We've talked about it as a staff a lot. We were plus-7 in turnover margin in our five wins. We are minus-4 in our three losses. We have had 34 sacks on the season. 28 of them came in the five wins; six of them in the three losses. We've given up 22 sacks on the year. About 16 or 18 of them were in the losses. The running differential has been big. So, what does that tell you? You can't turn the ball over. We've got to be on the right side of the scoring ledger so we're sacking them and they're not sacking us. We've got to run the ball a little better, and we've got to stop the run a little bit better. That is a simplistic look at it, but if you want to ask me what our points of emphasis are this week, it is pretty clear that those are the things that we have found with this football team that make a big difference on whether we win or lose, regardless of who we are playing. You can't make excuses for who we're playing. We're playing in this conference, and we're going to play some good football teams."
On Kellen's struggles:
"I think there are a lot of things that go into it. Again, I think we're a better football team, and it probably bares itself if we don't have to throw it as much. Some of those things have a lot of truth to them. The score has a lot to do with it. When you're behind by two scores, like we were, you end up throwing the ball more. The more times you throw it, the easier it becomes for them to lay their ears back and come. More pressure is on the quarterback, more times he gets hit, and the more opportunities for him to drop it. I think ball security is something he is very well aware of, and we're going to work on that this week. Sometimes, the quarterback gets hit from the blindside and doesn't really have a chance. The ball can pop out if you get hit when you don't see them coming. I really do keep thinking about it. He has been a starting quarterback here for a year. When you think about a little over a year, he has got a lot of football left and he has played pretty well. He has done a really good job of not throwing the ball to other people. That is an interesting difference between games we've won and games we've lost. He has only thrown one interception in the three losses, and that one was the one at the end zone right at the end against Illinois when he kind of had to force it. That is a real positive. We've got a young quarterback that is throwing the ball a lot of times and has only thrown one pick in the losses."
On running the ball with Kellen:
"It is like anything else, you can't force it. You've got to stay disciplined. You've got to keep your poise. You've got to do what we do, and the plays are there. On tape they're there. But if they've totally committed somebody to be in his face, then no. It is not a game of tag. On two different occasions he did keep it, and both plays turned out ugly. One was about a six-yard loss, and the other was a fumble. We've got to stick with what we do. We sit here and then all of a sudden we gained 300-plus yards against Penn State and they've been giving up about 240. We scored 31 points, and it was the most points they'd given up in the Big Ten since 2003. So, here we are going boy, we're doing some things right. You can't turn the ball over. I don't care what game you go to, unless that other team is a dominant, dominant football team, if you turn the ball over it is going to make the difference. It is going to make a difference when Ohio State plays Penn State this week. It is going to make the difference when Purdue plays Northwestern. Whoever else is playing, it really has such a big impact on the game. I just think the most revealing statistic is that we've won five games; we've been plus-7. We've lost three; we've been minus-4. We talk about that. You ask our kids, that was the first thing we talked about in fall camp. Turnover margin is going to be huge."
On the benefits of having played at Michigan State and Iowa:
"I think the experience of doing it is good. Obviously, we kind of embraced the environment at Iowa, and from the opening kickoff, we took it in, we enjoyed it. This is what Big Ten football is about, and we're going to play to it. At Michigan State we probably didn't. At Michigan State we might've looked around to see what was going to happen, and you can't do that if you look around to see what is going to happen it is going to happen and usually happen in a hurry. I think our guys understand that. It is the same guys playing. They know the difference between how we left the tunnel at each place, and I think that is the biggest thing. If you embrace the opportunity to play in those situations and go attack it, it can be a lot of fun, and that is how we have to approach it. It is going to be loud and we're going to have to be careful with our cadence, and make sure we're sound and all of those kind of things, but we're going to practice that way this week too so our kids aren't caught off guard when it happens on Saturday."
On crowd noise at practice:
"We generally do that on Thursday. It is kind of annoying. We crank up the noise. We go into the stadium on Thursdays, and we do it. The defense gets annoyed because they don't need it because it is not noisy when they're playing. The problem with it is when you crank it up it is hard to coach because the kids can't hear you, but we do it because we think it helps get them prepared."
On the last year's game as motivation:
"I don't think those things are motivators. I think you address it so they understand why a game went a certain way. We didn't use what happened against Minnesota the year before as a motivator. We addressed what happened there, and why we didn't give ourselves a chance to win. I think that is probably the best way to look at it. I think even though Coach Bielema was only the head coach last year, he was the defensive coordinator the year before in Coach Alvarez's last year. Both of those games were very similar. The one up there didn't get away from us like the one did here, but a lot of it was because Hardy had an 83-yard touchdown catch, and we kind of used a pump and go and (James) Bailey got a long one. Other than that the games were really similar, so we've got to learn from them. We'll address that, what we have to do, not necessarily as motivation. What Terry (Hoeppner) said about it is it's a long season, it is a tough season, and it is a physical season. These kids are trained, and that is why they work 12 months a year. That is the early morning stuff in the winter and all the weight room stuff and the early mornings. They are a mentally tough group, college football players are. They don't need some kind of gimmick motivation week to week. They embrace the opportunity of playing and enjoy it and the challenge and knowing what we have ahead of us and what we can accomplish. That generally takes care of itself. We've got to be more sound in what we do. We've got to take care of the ball. We've got to be better against the run. I'm not going to sit here and say we're going to stop the run against Wisconsin. That is not what we have to do. We have to be better against the run. We have to be better against the play-action pass and take care of the ball. We have got to protect the quarterback, or we've got to get rid of the ball quicker. Those things fall in there. We've got to pressure their quarterback. They don't have to all be sacks, but we've got to get in his face a little bit better than maybe we have the last couple of weeks. That is the focus of our preparation."
Junior Wide Receiver James Hardy
On his big game against Penn State:
"This is the first game that I had that many catches, the most of my career actually. I was ready to play, and I told coach I was ready to play, and it just ended up happening like that."
On how he will get his teammates focused to get the team's sixth victory:
"I'll show them how I'm going to work. You go out there, you have got to stay positive. This is a program where it hasn't happened in 15 years. We can't let that get the best of us. We still have four more games left. There is no reason to hang our heads. The seniors have been doing a great job of speaking up in the locker room. We've just got to get it going."
On the team's spirits after the loss on Sunday:
"For the most part, Sunday is just being sore. We come back and then have to run 100s when you come in. Spirit-wise, I think everyone has the right mind frame on what we need to do to bounce back. Michigan State was a similar situation a couple of weeks ago, and how they came out against us, that is basically what we have to do this week."
On playing against an All-Big Ten cornerback:
"I go in and watch what he does, his tendencies, and what I can expose. I look at every corner the same. He is going to get the breakdown just like everyone else, and I'm just going to go out there and do the best that I can do."
On playing from behind:
"We're trying to get three in a row going into the Purdue game. In our minds we shouldn't lose any more. We have to go in with that mind frame that we have the past couple of weeks and, it just ended up that, we got the short end of the stick. We're focused. There is nothing to worry about."
On the disappointment following the loss:
"This is a different team. We expect to win now, and I'd say the couple years before we had the talent, we knew we could compete, but at the same time, we were just hoping to win. This is a team that we look at each and every week like `we got this team.' Michigan State, they just flat out beat us, but as far as Illinois and Penn State, we beat ourselves. We have to come in with that mind frame, knowing we beat ourselves and no one can actually stop us if we just do the best that we can do and not make the mental mistakes."
On the team's vocal leaders:
"Josiah Sears, he'll speak at times. Honestly, every guy has his own opinion. It is just at the right time, who is going to actually step up, not only vocally but actually showing it. I think we have things like that in Kellen (Lewis) and Tracy (Porter), but at times you make mistakes, and we know that as a teammate we've still got each others back. Everyone is on the same page. We all know our goal, and that is to get to a bowl game and get these six wins. This week coming up we've just got to work harder than we did last week and not give it away."
On the increasing difficulty of the season:
"Each week gets harder, but that means we have to step it up more. That means we've got to go in knowing that Wisconsin saw the game. They know we basically beat ourselves, so coming in they're going to feel that they are going to be able to create turnovers on our behalf. We've just got to work on ball security and work on each and every thing we did last week but three times harder, because this game is going to be harder since they watched us and saw our weaknesses."
On motivation from having only one catch against them last season:
"I actually don't look at what I did the year before when I face a team. I'm a different player than what I was last year going into each game. I have a different mind frame. I break the corners down a lot better than what I have. I prepare myself to dominate. It is the same guys out there. It is just a different situation, and mentally I've grown. I really don't think about it."