Nov. 3, 2009
Coach Lynch Audio | Evans Audio | Kirlew Audio
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Head Coach Bill Lynch met with members of the media on Tuesday to discuss last week's game against Iowa and to look forward to Saturday's game vs. Wisconsin. Coach Lynch was joined by senior Jammie Kirlew and junior Mitchell Evans.
A partial transcript is below.
Coach Lynch Press Conference - November 3, 2009
"Our captains for the Wisconsin game will be Ben Chappell, Rodger Saffold, Collin Taylor and Matt Mayberry. Iowa, as we all know, is a really great football team. If you go back and look at everything and go through the game, I really think teams that are having special seasons, no matter the end result, have special plays and special games. I have been on some of those teams where you find ways to win in the craziest ways. I really salute Iowa. The biggest aspect is they held us off. The part of a team that really makes a team great is the defense. When you are really good on defense and things are not going well for you on offense, the defense pulls it out and that is exactly what Iowa did. You are not going to be perfect on offense every week. In the third quarter when we had great field position, they held us off. We have to make those plays, but if you really go back and look at the game, we really have to congratulate Iowa because of how they played defense in those game situations. We went into the fourth quarter with Iowa having the wind at their backs and we can't give up those big plays. Once they had the lead in the fourth quarter and we were going into the wind, then they can play Iowa football. While we had the lead, particularly with more than a one-touchdown lead, we had our chances. We forced them to not exactly do what they wanted to, but they got the opportunity to play Iowa football. Everybody will go back and look at certain plays, but we keep telling our guys we need to play the next play. When the game is over, you don't look back and say one play made a difference in the game. Going on to Wisconsin, they are having a great year too. They lost a crazy game at Ohio State and I'm sure they looked back on the game and thought how did we lose that game. They lost because Ohio State scored in unconventional ways on defense and special teams. It was one of the games where two good defenses played against two hard-nosed offenses and Ohio State found a way to win it. Wisconsin has a great team coming into this weekend. They have played us hard the last few years and our guys know that. I want to say I hope our fans really come back out and support this football team. Our team has lost two really tough games on the road because we couldn't close out during the fourth quarter. We have had some close games at home where we have finished out the fourth quarter and I think our fans in those situations were a big help. They were loud and a part of it. We have been gone for two weeks and certainly want the fans to come back and watch our football team. The students have been great this year and we need them to be a part of the game this weekend. The game is a noon kickoff and we need everyone in the Hoosier Nation to come out and support us. I know our guys will be ready to play."
On his (Coach Lynch's) approach to addressing the team after the Iowa loss:
"I really don't worry about that. I hope it is the way we coach our football team. I hope it is the way we try to build this football team by building it on accountability. Each of us is accountable. There were 173 plays during the Iowa game. There were some crazy plays during the game, like the 86-yard interception return, but that happens. We could have done something offensively to prevent that from happening. Instead of saying we were so unlucky, we have to realize it will probably be a SportsCenter moment all year. There were things we could have done to prevent that play, and that is where our focus has to be. I think if we give the players the out by saying it is just our luck and the ball didn't bounce our way then that is the way we are going to practice. Our players would then go into the Wisconsin game hoping the ball would bounce our way, but we can't do that. I hope we address our team like that 365 days a year and not just like we did yesterday or the day before. We are trying to make our players accountable. We are going to get better, move forward and get ready to play a good Wisconsin team."
On Iowa's multiple-tipped interception return:
"It was by a hair. We could have released the ball quicker. Whether it is a game of inches or milli-seconds, that is what happened. However, the execution of the play is what we need to improve. You cannot coach how to recover a ball that is tipped or bounces like it did. That is out of our hands. Our focus is not on the bad luck, but how we can execute better."
On Wisconsin having success against Indiana the last few years:
"They really have. Wisconsin has had our number. They have come and really just got big pass plays on us. They are one of those teams that runs the ball so well that you become so run-conscious. Last year, Wisconsin beat us up with the run and the jet sweep. I think it was in 2006 when they just got a lot of big play-action passes on us because we were so committed to the run. Really, last year was an interesting game because it was 21-20. We were moving the ball inside the ten and Ben was hit, the ball popped out, and they ran it back to kick a field goal making it 24-21 at half. We had a chance to go in with the lead at halftime, but Ben was knocked out. Then we started playing multiple quarterbacks the second half and we were not able to slow Wisconsin down. Wisconsin can attack you in a lot of different ways. The first thing you think of is their power running game. They are probably more power running then any team we have played. Ohio State was probably the closest in years past, but that has changed with Pryor. Iowa is a zone blocking team as well as Michigan. Virginia was a spread zone. Wisconsin is a team with a good, big running back who is difficult to tackle. If you become so committed to the run, that is when they get you with the pass. I remember years ago coaching against Ron Dayne. Obviously he was a great running back. You had to gang tackle him because we would bounce off tacklers. Wisconsin is one of those programs I have a tremendous amount of respect for. I think Brett Bielema has done a great job carrying on what Barry Alvarez started. Through the years, Wisconsin has really done the same thing. They had Dayne in the late 1990s, but they always take great pride in being very physical and running the football. A big piece of their success is due to their defense. They have good pass rushers and cover guys who tackle well. They are just a really solid program."
On the team's performance in the fourth quarter:
"We have gotten into some manageable third downs. At Northwestern, we converted some third-and-longs, but not some third-and-shorts. We had a little bit of the same issue on Saturday against Iowa. We were in a third down-and-three situation and didn't convert. Then we punted and Iowa came back and scored. Then we were down and had to play into the wind. We have not found one particular thing that is the difference or that we haven't made good adjustments. Our problems have come in the fourth quarter against teams like Michigan, Northwestern and Iowa. We look at every angle and it all boils down to executing better. I know it is not conditioning or strength. I think defensively, there have been some games where we have played a lot of snaps. We have some guys who are ironmen like Jammie Kirlew, Greg Middleton, Matt Mayberry and Tyler Replogle. They are on special teams and they play hard. I think in the Northwestern game, Jammie and Greg played 85 snaps in which they really rushed the quarterback well. I can't tell you how much respect I have for those kids and I realize they play a lot of plays. It comes down to certain situations. I think situations like in the Michigan where we had an 85-yard touchdown run that put the defense immediately back on the field. We have also given up some big plays. You ask a good question and we look at everything."
On Ray Fisher's injury:
"Ray is going to have surgery tomorrow, and there is no such thing as minor surgery. We are hoping the injury is not reconstructive and I do not know any more yet. I am not ready to go there yet."
On the big plays Iowa had on the game last Saturday:
"The two big plays were breakdowns. It was one guy getting beat. I have so much respect for Donnell (Jones) because if you saw him on the field, he is basically playing with one arm. When he runs, he can barely swing the other arm. I think if he is able to swing his other arm, he is able to catch the runner. I think the receiver would have caught the ball, but not run 90 yards for a touchdown. One of the big plays, we were in single coverage and had a miscommunication. There were a lot of things that had to do with giving up the big plays. We didn't get enough pressure as the receiver had time to run all the way across the field. You can't give the quarterback that much time. Then we had a missed tackle as well. You can't let that play go for a touchdown. Your arms are as important as your legs, according to the sprint coach, and if you aren't moving both, you are not running as fast. On the other play, we had the help at safety, but we didn't make the tackle and we have to make that tackle."
On Donnell Jones:
"He is a tough kid who is going to play. I feel bad for him because he had a hamstring injury early and now has this injury (elbow). We have to be smart because this is a different kind of football against Wisconsin. The ball is going to get spilled to him with John Clay. He is no worse for the wear, so we are expecting him to play."
On breaking down the season into quarters and judging how the team has played in each quarter:
"We are going into the fourth quarter of the season. I remember Lee Corso always said that the games in November are the games you remember. That is where we are right now. We have two out of three at home and there is a lot to play for. It all starts with Wisconsin. We look at this as a new opportunity and what is behind us is behind us. We need the Hoosier Nation to come back out and support us. After the first quarter we were undefeated, but the season was out in front of us. Before halftime, we fell off a little bit during the second quarter. After the third quarter I told our team I was really proud of them. I said people are starting to see the Indiana football team. In all honesty, I think people are starting to see it nationally. I think people are seeing a team that played with great energy and passion against Illinois, Northwestern and Iowa. We did not get the wins against Northwestern and Iowa. Also when you are building a program, you are seeing effort, intensity, preparation and caring. We certainly carried that through the third quarter and now we are starting the fourth quarter of the season. It is a new challenge on Saturday."
On making any adjustments to the injury-plagued secondary:
"I think you are constantly looking at the situation. The biggest thing is you have to get guys who are healthy to practice well. You have to be prepared to move guys around and be ready to make changes during a game. You hate to be in that situation, but it is what it is and we deal with the situation. You have to get as many guys as ready as you possibly can."
On Adrian Burks play against Iowa:
"He wasn't perfect, but nobody was perfect. I talked to the team before the game and said we do not have to play perfect. We have to play hard, play with great effort and play with confidence. I thought we got that out of our players. Sure you would love to have a couple plays back, but for a kid who hasn't really played in a tough environment, I thought he did well and really competed."
On the redshirt situation:
"Other than Edward Wright-Baker, we would not pull the redshirt on anyone else. Ed is on a vine and is just hanging on. He has done well handling the situation. We would not pull the redshirt on anyone else at this point. He is still is in the game, but hasn't gotten in the game."
On the approach to rotating cornerbacks into the game:
"That is not a true philosophy that if you haven't practiced during the week that you are not going to play. I think it is the idea that you do not give up on a kid during the middle of a game. That is why they pay the players so much in the NFL because it is tough. We saw one of our own get another interception last night and I think we all remember how good of a player Tracy (Porter) was when he was here. It is more of a gut feel versus a philosophical approach. It is similar to figuring out when you are going to change quarterbacks during the game. You rotate in a lot of other players and there are certain guys you can rotate. Certain positions that are tough include cornerbacks, quarterbacks and centers. Cornerbacks are tough because if you go into a game cold, it is difficult to get warmed up."