Lynch press conference

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Bill Lynch said in his weekly Tuesday afternoon press conference that he’s looking forward to seeing how his team responds to the challenge of being the first Big Ten team to play at Western Michigan.

“They’ve had this circled on their calendar for a long time,” Lynch said. “It’s going to be a hornet’s nest in there, plus, they’re a very good football team.”

Lynch gave a brief scouting report on Western Michigan, which went 8-5 and went to the International Bowl last year. He said the offense returns its entire line, features a star wide receiver in Jamarko Simmons and presents challenges by using as many different sets and formations as any team IU will face all year. Simmons had 14 catches for 144 yards against West Virginia.

He said the defense is led by a secondary that has fast cornerbacks and physical safeties, and the defensive line that is very physical.

“It’s not hard to see why they are favored to win the MAC West,” Lynch said.

Lynch said IU should go into the Western Michigan game at full strength. Offensive lineman Rodger Saffold who left the Indiana State game with an injury, and running back Demetrius McCray, who missed the game, are both expected back today. Safety Joe Kleinsmith (hamstring) is expected to miss today’s practice, but be ready before Saturday.

After watching film of Saturday’s game, Lynch’s take was similar to what he said right after the game. He said the Hoosiers were tight early, but big plays by James Hardy and Kellen Lewis loosened them up. He thought Indiana State’s unusual defensive formation and frequent stunts made it hard to run the ball early, but IU’s offensive figured out how to run against that defense as the game wore on.

Lynch liked IU’s special teams play, which he said needs to continue to be a strength. The biggest concern he voiced was with IU’s offense putting the ball on the field six times, although the Hoosiers lost just one fumble. He said ball control will be a point of emphasis this week.