Postcard from Tempe

With the arrival of dozens of reporters in Scottsdale today to cover the final press conference before tomorrow’s game, the conversation returned to the story we’ve written so much about, that of Indiana losing coach Terry Hoeppner and then overcoming that tragedy to finally make a bowl game.

IU coach Bill Lynch told reporters who didn’t know the history of that story about talking to Hoeppner right after spring practice.

“I said, ‘Coach, we’re better. We’re faster. We’ve got more confidence. This is going to be a good football team,’” Lynch recalled.

Hoeppner agreed, Lynch said, and even though he couldn’t rejoin the team, he’s still part of it.

“He brought an optimism that was unique,” Lynch said. “He walked in the room and there was a presence about him. Every day was a sunny day for him. He often talked about there were no problems, there were just opportunities, and that’s the way he lived his life. He is such a big part of this program, always will be. You walk in our team meeting room, his program goals are on the wall. His poem, ‘Don’t quit,’ is right there because we all believe in it.”