Though Bill Lynch’s job would certainly appear to be in peril with one year remaining on his contract and a 12-game Big Ten losing streak hanging around his neck, the Indiana football coach said at his weekly press conference on Monday that athletic director Fred Glass, the man who will have to make the decision on Lynch’s future, has stayed behind him.
“His support has been unbelievable,” Lynch said. “We’ve had a great relationship and everything that he’s said has been exactly what it’s been throughout the year. He’s been as supportive as can be, week-by-week.”
Glass did not immediately return a call about Lynch’s status.
Lynch said he’s not at all concerned about whether Saturday’s game against Purdue will be his last as the head coach.
“I’m worried about Purdue,” he said. “Just like I was worried about Penn State. That’s my job.”
Senior quarterback Ben Chappell admitted, however, that the players are starting to become concerned.
“We’re probably trying to put ourselves in a black hole as much as possible and we’re in the grind and week-by-week trying to win football games on Saturday,” Chappell said. “But we’re all not dumb. … It’s tough. I think you feel kind of personally responsible because we’re the guys who are playing. I think he’s done a great job of getting us prepared every week. We’ve said this a lot where it’s come down to very few plays where if one of us steps up and makes a play, we have some different outcomes. That’s obviously tough, but I have the ultimate respect for coach. I love playing for him, and I’d do anything for him.”
Tyler Replogle didn’t acknowledge the elephant in the room in quite as straightforward of a fashion.
“We’ve been trying to win for Coach Lynch all year,” Replogle said. “We talk as players all the time. We love Coach Lynch. We want to go undefeated for him because he means the world to us. But you try to win for him every week, and I think that’s what we’ve tried to do. If there’s anything left that we can give more, we’re going to try to.”
Other Notes from Lynch’s press conference:
- Lynch said he will most likely continue to use Chappell and redshirt freshman Ed Wright-Baker at quarterback. He also said that Wright-Baker’s fellow backup Dusty Kiel is still out with a thumb injury. “I think they probably both will play a little bit,” Lynch said. Now how much, I don’t know. Last week was different in the sense that two things happened. One, Dusty got hurt. Now all the sudden, Dusty was not an option in the thing, and we really didn’t know if Ben would make it through the game. So we had to have a plan going into it. So it was Ed, and so we had a plan that I think we probably felt 10-12 plays. As it turned out, what was it? Fourteen? I think it was something like that. It could’ve been more if Ben didn’t make it. Ben practiced, but we didn’t really know. He was banged up. We knew he was about one hit from going down. We wanted to have a good plan in effect for Ed.”
- Lynch said he didn’t think he needed to do any additional motivation for Saturday’s game because it’s the Old Oaken Bucket Game or because the Boilermakers have won the last two and won 62-10 in the last game at Purdue. “That takes care of itself,” Lynch said. “I think if you overdo it, then you get your guys playing out of their normal routine. There isn’t a need to do that. Our guys know how important this game is. They know it’s their last game. It’s the seniors last game. They know how important it is to win this game, to get the Bucket back here, a way to finish this season off that has had it’s tough times and disappointments, but certainly would finish on a high note. You don’t have to conjure anything up to try to get them excited for this game.”