Two hours with Lynch

CHICAGO — The Big Ten Media Days are complete after a two-hour interview session this morning with all 11 Big Ten coaches and three players from each school.

Chris Korman bounced around, talking to Bill Lynch, Ben Chappell, Jammie Kirlew and Will Patterson.

I stayed with Lynch.

This is some of what I learned:

  • He really likes Chappell at quarterback. Thinks that Chappell is a great leader, a great student-athlete and a competitor. The pistol offense fits Chappell (more than, say, Kellen Lewis, though Lynch did not names) because he is a big, strong kid with a good arm.
  • The three night games this season (Eastern Kentucky, Ohio State and Illinois) are going to showcase the program and the new stadium much more so than a noon start would. Also, it will help recruiting. High school football is, of course, on Friday night and many schools hold mandatory video sessions on Saturday morning. A noon start is impossible for them to make, but a 7 p.m. start is reasonable.
  • There’s no significant change in the defensive schemes because Lynch and his staff, after studying last year’s game tapes, decided the team’s problems were because of health, not style of play. He noted several times the seven or eight seniors that will start, and how he feels it is a very productive unit if it just stays healthy.
  • Lynch will be joining Twitter and Facebook soon. Said he’s not sure how much he’ll update his Twitter feed, but doubts it will be as much as men’s basketball coach Tom Crean. Lynch is doing this to make a push on the recruiting trail, trying to connect with the kids that IU could potentially want to bring on campus.
  • Duwyce Wilson could have a chance to play this season. The true freshman from Columbus East is a four-star wide receiver recruit, and has the size, speed and strength to make an early impact. Matt Ernest, a redshirt sophomore, is also a kid that could force his way onto the field.


  1. 1. Do they have place kicker?
    2. Who will be the backup QB?
    3. What is the status on Finch?

  2. Who made the decision to officially dedicate the new facility during the Ohio State game?

  3. Saw Lynch at Joe’s on Weed Street last night. In the Q/A portion he gave some answers to your questions above.

    1. Do they have a place kicker?
    It sounded like it was going to be an open competition with all current kickers on the roster. Nick Ford, Nick Freeland. He spoke highly of freshman Mitch Ewald (3rd best kicker by as well.

    2. Who will be the backup QB?
    Definitely Teddy Schell on this one. Lynch was excited about Kiel and Wright-Baker. Kiel may be the 3rd string if he isn’t red shirted.

    3.What is the status on Finch?
    I was not thrilled with Lynch’s body language and his response on this question. According to Lynch, Finch has had a tough time adjusting to the Indiana defensive scheme and life as a Hoosier in general. He said that it didn’t help that Finch was converted to linebacker at Florida and suffered a pretty serious injury. My take is that Finch has raw talent but that doesn’t always translate to a high football IQ. Problem is, he’s the highest ranked recruit the Hoosiers have had in a while. That has created unrealisitc expectations for him at IU. For now Lynch is set on Polk and Thomas starting. Hopefully Finch can be inserted in a few downs here or there and be a big playmaker. He most likely will help return punts on special teams.

    Hope that answers your questions!

  4. Why do people think that Finch’s football IQ isn’t high enough to play in IU’s scheme.

    He played safety all through high school on a team that won 4 straight state championships. He takes up Florida on a scholarship offer, gets switched to linebacker by their coaches and earns a starting spot as a TRUE FRESHMAN for a team that was the defending national champions at the time before an injury ended his season.

    He transfers to IU, is still nursing an injury, his position is changed again, back to safety, and all of a sudden he has trouble understanding his position and IU’s defensive scheme?

    IU’s defensive secondary had major issues last year. They were 11th in passing yards per game, 11th in opponents’ passes completed & 10th in TD passes allowed among their Big Ten counterparts.

    I think Finch’s problems with IU’s scheme are not really his problems.

  5. The night games will help me too…in many ways but I will make it in to the game! PB, good info, thanks! I liked Schell too at last years practice, but I think Kiel could be our future from what I have heard anyway. The Finch thing is weird to me. I sometimes wonder if he is getting a fair shake because of the way he sold out Hep for Florida, maybe he has to work that much harder. I am not sure, nothing to base that in but GUT. I like Polk and Thomas and realize we have good to decent LB group but my question is if Finch can play LB at Florida, why not IU? Other than the injury, this thing has been really strange.

  6. Mike P.,

    Only one correction, Finch was never a starter at Florida. He finished his season with 4 solo tackles/3 assisted tackles and 1 interception for 9 yards which is where he suffered the leg injury that kept him out for the rest of the season. Those stats came in blowout wins against WKU, Troy, and Tennessee. He was in the game when the outcome of those games were pretty much decided.

  7. Amigos,

    I think Lynch definitely expects to play Mitch Ewald at kicker. He generally goes into a season expecting to have to use players at certain positions (last year he thought they’d need WRs but never expected to un-redshirt offensive lineman Justin Pagan) but without much of an opinion on which players he’ll use. That works itself out in camp. Except with kickers. Ewald should be the guy.

    I think the battle for second-string QB will ostensibly come down to Adam Follett and Teddy Schell. You could see that Schell, who will be a redshirt sophomore, was a bit more poised during in-game situations this spring. But Follett appears to have better tools.

    If for some reason Ben Chappell couldn’t play, though, I’d expect Kiel to get a long look. The high school coaches we’ve talked to around the state think he’s that good.

    On Tuesday, Lynch’s explanation for the letdown on Finch was that the buildup had been out of hand. He thought the hype around Finch was unfair and that his struggles can be explained by the switching of schools and dealing with injuries.

    He added that he thinks right now Austin Thomas and Nick Polk are simply better football players than Finch.

    But as PB noted, Lynch doesn’t exactly bubble over when talking about Finch. He’s probably tired of the question he always gets — “How can a guy who played as a freshman at Florida not play for IU?” — and trying to answer it without criticizing the player, which he never does.

  8. Guys I think Finch is a baller. He blocked 2 punts that I can remember(maybe more) early last year. How many others were blocked by the entire team? My guess is nada.

    He got burned a few times in the d-backfield, but the kid has ability. He needs to play somewhere.

    If we struggle, I hope Kiel gets a look. He and Wilson know each other very well.

    Just my opinion.

  9. Who has the lead at RB? Does Lynch think darius willis will be a major contributor this season?

    With regards to the pistol offense, will we see any option out of it or will we see a more traditional running game?

    How is in state recruiting going? Are these kids more open to IU then they were in the past or are the top kids looking past IU from the start?

  10. Greg, the 2 national magazines I have bought have Willis starting and getting the bulk of the carries at least halfway through the season. Mike P or Korman could answer that better most likely. I wonder sometimes why he was redshrited. In the practices I saw last year, wow! Take care.

  11. My take on Finch is: wait and see. Maybe his skill at the college level will prove to be as projected. Then again, he wouldn’t be the first HS star to fall short in college. That sort of thing happens all the time.

    We’re used to seeing it in basketball as we’ve had far more hyped HS stars come to IU and fall short. Nobody seriously could blame Bob Knight for the relative lack of achievement by Steve Bouchie, Chuck Franz, Charlie Miller, et al.

    I’m semi-excited by the upcoming season. We should start seeing the last few year’s of recruiting success manifest itself on the field.

  12. The coaching staff’s defensive philosophy continues to baffle me.

    “Cover 4 works! Just watch! We’ll drop 4 people back deep and Wisconsin will run for 254 times on us scoring 4 billion points! Genius!”

    They’ll be gone at the end of the year. Quote me.

  13. By the way, it was injuries and not the scheme the reason the defense gave up a bazillion points last year? O rly? How do you explain letting Ball State (3rd game) light up the sieve defense? Or Michigan State the next week?

    Hell, if it wasn’t for Kellen bailing us out with 80 yard runs, we might have lost to Western Kentucky.

  14. Why not ask Bob Hammel what he thinks? I am not saying that he is an expert but he has seen a lot of teams, good and bad. Perhaps some insight from Bob could help identify what made teams good and why other teams didn’t do so well.
    Sam Wyche, who I think really left IU high and dry would probably have some ideas.
    Corso, maybe but his deal with ESPN probably won’t allow him to speak, on the record.
    Mallory probably will refuse, because of loyalty, but he was good for IU.
    Within two months, or so, people are going to calling for Lynch’s job. Perhaps all of us would be well served by some informed information.

  15. GFDave,
    I hope you are right. But I’m still shell-shocked from last year. And the schedule is tougher too.

    Go Hoosiers!

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