Dec. 3, 2007
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Head coach Bill Lynch met with the media on Monday, Dec. 3, to discuss the Hoosiers' bowl bid in the Insight Bowl.
"Obviously we are excited to be going to Tempe to play in the Insight Bowl. I think the opportunity to play a Big XII school like Oklahoma State is really exciting for our guys. It has made the dream a reality. I think they felt all along that we would get something but until you are told you don't really know.
"This week we are still on the road recruiting. They are going to work out some with lifting and running a bit. The few coaches that are around will organize them some. But we get back on Friday and Saturday and will go at it again pretty good. But there is a focus now. There is a game, there is a team; all those things we did not have last week so I think that is a real positive. Where we are going and where we get to play, I think it will be great for our fans. It is a great destination and that is all part of the bowl experience."
On the difference in the approach to preparing for a bowl game:
"In some ways it is a little bit like a preseason in the sense that you can really work on fundamental things. You can work on developing players and even experiment with some players a little bit. Once we get back after finals, then we will bring in the game plan and preparation for Oklahoma State. Just like in preseason camp you are putting together a football team and you really start focusing on your opponent 10 days before the game. Obviously we will do that a little bit earlier here. This week we will still be working on ourselves. Yesterday we had a scrimmage with the young guys. Every time you scrimmage, you learn a little bit about players and we learned a little bit yesterday, so that was a positive.
"We will take a good, long break over finals and let them take care of that. And you know how final exams are now, some of these guys may be done by Monday or Tuesday of finals week. Some of them may go all the way to Friday or Saturday, so they will get a pretty good break in there, particularly the ones that can get home. Once we get back from finals, that is when we will put in the game plan and focus in on Oklahoma State. Then we will give them another little break where they can go home for Christmas before we reconvene to go out to Tempe."
On not overpreparing for the game given the amount of time:
"I've seen teams in bowl games change their scheme. Maybe somewhere in there they decide to go to a different kind of offense or defense and they use the bowl game as preparation for it. I think that is something that can certainly happen. Not that you aren't going to make some adjustments. You have some time to think about it and work on things that you don't during the regular season. It is pretty hard to change much in a week and in the Big Ten when you are playing 12 straight weeks without an off week, even more so.
"The other thing is to get guys healthy. You don't want them to get beat up again, especially the ones that have played 12 straight weeks and need a little time to get away. And that is why we are trying to be pretty smart and conservative with some of the older guys right now.
On staying sharp during the layoff:
"Once you get back with them all the time you can get them locked in. In all honesty, we can't really get them all back together and locked in until after final exams. There are a lot of kids who have final exams this week or a final project, so we want to make sure they have plenty of time to take care of those things. Next week their total concentration can be on the academic aspect. That is why I say it is like a preseason where you have them without class conflicts or academic concerns. Then I think you can really hone in on them and get them geared up to play football again."
On whether Demetrius McCray will be able to get healthy with the break:
"I think so. I really do. I think Ben Wyss will be that much healthier and I think Charlie Emerson will be that much healthier and John Sandberg will be that much healthier and Adam McClurg will be that much healthier. Geno Johnson and Tracy Porter. I am thinking of guys that played the last 2-3 weeks dinged up a bit. I think that is a real positive thing. The guys that have had surgery won't be ready to go, but the rest of them I think should be back ready to go."
On speaking with Jane Hoeppner:
"I haven't spoken to her since last night. But I am sure she is excited and I think we were all prepared to go somewhere, it was just a matter of finding out exactly where we were going."
On the benefits for the younger guys having these extra practices:
"We practiced three times - Friday, Saturday and Sunday and we ran it like our normal practice. Let's say a preseason practice, or even a spring practice, you know the 1's and 2's might get 80 percent of the reps and the 3's, the guys that might be scout team, might get 15-20 percent. Now, it is the exact opposite. The 1's are getting about 10 percent, the 2's are getting about 15 percent and the rest are getting about 75 percent of the team reps. I think that is the biggest difference. You can really coach them and get them on tape and get a chance to see their improvement."
On what they can learn from these extra practices:
"I think it is the same as the spring season. It is fundamental work and a chance to get them reps. Football is such a different game and in a lot of ways we have so many restrictions on us that we don't get the individual improvement work. Other sports, it seems like, can work year-round where they have individual drills. Football, maybe the throwers and catchers get the work but the guys up front, the only way you can practice football is to practice football. It is so important what we are doing right now. You take all those young kids that we have and try to develop them. And it isn't just the true freshmen; it is the second- and third-year kids. It is so important. A kid like Teddy Schell, he hasn't run our offense since we were in shorts in August and, as a quarterback, giving him an opportunity to run the offense is really important. There are a lot of different spots that if you can't practice it is really hard to get better."
On young guys now starting to get some attention:
"They've handled their roles very well, basically because it is the same everywhere in the country. It is not unique to our program and they understand that. And most of these guys didn't experience that in high school. If you are a Big Ten football player you probably were always playing all the time as a sophomore in high school. Football is just a different game that way. I think getting coached and getting on tape and being critiqued is important to any athlete."
On Coach Lynch's bowl experience at Ball State and what he took away from it:
"Going back to when I was here with the Independence Bowl team in 1993, I think you want to make it a trip that is a reward for the players. You want it to be a real positive experience, but you have to get prepared to go win the football game. And I think that is the important thing. This is not an exhibition game. We are representing the Big Ten against the Big XII and we want to win our eighth football game. It is like anything else. Once you have done anything in the past, having the experience is good."
On going to his bowl game and future expectations to make a bowl game every year:
"I think it is immeasurable in recruiting. Everyone who plays at this level is trying to sell the idea that we are a bowl team on a regular basis. And then you get to the point where you want to compete to be a BCS bowl team. We talked a little bit before about the progression of programs. Kansas is a perfect example of developing a program, making progress and reaching goals. In recruiting, that is very important. Kids want to go where you have a chance to be successful and go to bowl games. They have friends that go to schools and do it and they know that it is a great reward. And it is a great reward because everyone in the program gets to share in it. These kids want to come back 20 years from now and show their kids that they were on that bowl team. We all know how hard they work and it is a 12-month deal and it is a reward for all the hard work. It pays off in so many ways."
On adjusting to the time difference:
"I think we'll have plenty of time. We need to be out there by the 27th and that will give us plenty of time. By the time you get to the afternoon of the 31st I don't think that will be a concern. The climate, that will be an improvement, I think. That will be a positive."
On priorities for 2008 recruiting class:
"Things change daily in recruiting. I think the ones that we have verbally committed are a real well rounded group that has some flexibility in positions and also we have covered some positions of need. There are a couple of places where we would still like to get a guy in a position but I think we are pretty much down to wanting the best football players available, which is a good place to be. We want guys that are fast. I think that is the biggest thing we have been able to do over the last three years is that we are a faster football team, particularly on defense. I think that is one of the things as you watch the games of the last weekend, the teams that are up there have great team speed. As you go through recruiting you certainly keep that in mind."
On what he did immediately after finding out the team's bowl location:
"I don't think you ever get a chance to relax and appreciate it until maybe June. Football just never stops. We got done with you at that press conference (Sunday) and I know what I did. I went right back into my office and I was watching recruiting tape to make some decisions now. It just never stops. I would like to say you could sit back and enjoy it but you really don't, you just keep moving forward. But that is the fun part of it too. I have had too many years where you have the season over and you have a lot of time to sit back and think about it because you are sitting at home and everyone else is getting ready for a bowl game. This is much more enjoyable."
On recruiting with a bowl bid and coaching contract:
"All the uncertainty is gone and that is what is so positive about it. We have been talking to these recruits, telling them we are going to be a bowl team and now we are a bowl team. They can't say, `yeah you said it, but you didn't do it.' Now we have all that."
On seeking advice from other Big Ten coaches regarding how to work through the layoff between games:
"I am sure I will. That hasn't been the first priority. We are so engaged in recruiting right now. The other thing is we have a tremendous administrative staff which has been ahead of the curve in terms of organization for going to a bowl game. That is a big plus that you don't have to worry about as a coach. Out biggest emphasis is recruiting right now and keeping the guys practicing a little bit. But then I am sure I will talk to guys who have done a lot and I am going to have the opportunity to see some of those coaches tomorrow as I am part of a group going to New York to see Anthony Thompson's induction into the College Football Hall of Fame and I know there will be quite a few coaches there. But is something that as a staff we have all had experience doing it. All the Miami guys, right before they came they went to bowl games for two straight years and had the same situation. I think we will be able to handle that part of it."
On the practice plan after finals:
"The good thing about finals being done on the 17th is that we are going to have a week there, like preseason camp, where we have their undivided attention. We are the only ones on campus. We don't have the 20-hour restrictions or class conflicts, so we will be able to spend a lot of time on football. In that week's time we will be able to get a lot of the preparation done so that when we get out to Tempe we will just be cleaning it up and getting ready to play. All the game plan will be done before we break and let those kids go home for a few days."
On Oklahoma State:
"I've gone over the stats a lot, that is enough for me. They can run the football, I can tell you that. But our grad assistants were breaking down some tape this morning and I went in for a few minutes just to take a quick look at it. But our focus is recruiting and this is a huge week. But they will continue to break down tape and once we come back this weekend we will have a real good idea once we start practicing."
On the `Play 13' motto motivating this year's team:
"I don't think there is any question that was a huge motivation through out the year. But there is a story behind it. That was Hep's motto the day he came on this campus. The very first year it was `Play 12' because we were still playing an 11-game schedule and then last year when we went to a 12-game schedule it was `Play 13' and we came up a game short a year ago. Throughout the offseason that was the goal; that is what Hep talked to them about all the time. Unfortunately Terry became ill right before spring practice so he wasn't able to coach but he was still communicating to kids through e-mail and his last e-mail to the team was `Play 13.' It was very clear to our guys that was the goal of the program. Terry and I talked about it last winter; we were getting better as a football team. We were starting to get the right people in the right places. He used to say it wasn't the people who were on the bus it was making sure they were in the right seats on the bus. Part of it was moving guys around. He got to watch our practice tape during the spring. Our players' respect for him and what he brought to the program was evident throughout the year.
"I think as a coaching staff and a team we tried very hard to not talk about playing 13 but playing the next game, playing the next play because we really felt like there were so many people on the outside, in a kind way, encouraging them to play 13. But we needed to take care of business. And that started with the opening game and went all the way to the last play of the last game before we got it done. I give the kids a lot of credit for staying focused on the job at hand and not getting ahead of themselves."