Bill Lynch Friday notes

Indiana Head Coach Bill Lynch

About the delays in getting to Phoenix yesterday:
It was just a long day. Those of us who have been around long enough have had those delays at different times. It all worked out. We got here. If we can get all 108 players and support group out here we would be in good shape. If we had to play today it would have been a distraction. We have enough time. We had a pretty good practice considering the delays we had yesterday. We’ve made some adjustments today since we missed yesterday’s workout.

About enjoying the bowl experience: I think they understand. We’re going to let them enjoy Tempe. That’s part of it too. You get to come out to a great city like this. There are some activities that they are going to take place in. We’ll start locking into game mode here tomorrow after practice. I’m not worried about them, knowing the significance of how we play and that we came out here to win a football game. We talked about it as soon as we got the bowl bid. There’s a maturity to good football teams that understand the difference of enjoying the experience and getting ready to play the football game. We’re certainly doing our best to balance it. I think our guys have done a good job at that.

About spending most of his coaching career in the state of Indiana: I coached at Northern Illinois University for a season then I coached in the old USFL in Orlando, Florida for a season. Other than that, I have been in Indiana. We haven’t gone long distances but we’ve bounced around a lot. This is a great situation and we are really looking forward to the future.

About Oklahoma State’s offense: They’re pretty scary if you ask me because they are so balanced. Those are always the toughest teams to play against. That’s what they are. They can run it and they can throw it. So you have to do a great job with both versus a team that is heavily loaded one way or the other and then you can try to take that away from them. Anytime you play a team that runs the football as well as they do you got to be very conscience of that.

About Oklahoma State comparisons with Illinois: Both of their tailbacks are similar. Both Oklahoma State and Illinois have quarterbacks that can run. They combine running some power type football with option football. The combination of all those things with the personnel is very similar.

About becoming a perennial bowl team: I think we had made those strides to be a bowl team. I think we came within a quarter of being there a year ago. As we went into the spring, we thought as a football team we made the improvements. We are certainly a long way from being there, but we are heading in the right direction. When Hoeppner was still coaching, then when he took time off for the spring practice, I remember sitting down with him after spring practice and saying, “Coach, I really think we made good improvements. We’re ready to take the next steps.” After watching practice tape, I know he really felt the same way. Obviously what transpired in June, sure it played into the whole thing. I think the work we put in for three years to get to that point, I think we felt like we were ready to get it done.

About James Hardy possibly playing his last game at Indiana: I think James has had a remarkable career at this point. I’m not a real big stat guy, but he has had 36 career touchdown catches. The Big Ten record is 39. Braylon Edwards has it? And he did it in 49 games? And James has done it in 32 or 33. I think that speaks volumes for the kind of career he has had. He’s made a lot of big touchdown catches but he has also made a lot of big third down conversion plays. Kellen (Lewis) has converted a lot of first downs for us running the football. A lot of it is because we have people chasing James. All of those things kind of play into it. I think his work ethic, his maturity, his leadership – all of those things, he has been really good this year.

About Indiana’s defense being underrated: They better be an X factor in this game. Because Oklahoma State’s offense is good. I think they have improved throughout the year. We are still a young defense. A lot of those young guys have gotten better. We thought going into the season we were going to be a faster defense. I think that has held up by the number of sacks we’ve had. I think our linebackers have made really good improvements.

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