Lynch & Co. respond to you

Bill Lynch

At the start of the week, I asked for your preseason questions that you’d like answered during the Big Ten Media Days in Chicago. Here are answers from IU’s attendees – Bill Lynch, Greg Brown, Marcus Thigpen and Starr – to most of those questions:

1. How many freshmen will play this season?

Lynch said he doesn’t know the answer to that question because it depends on how well the freshman adapt to the rigors of fall camp and are able to keep their concentration and focus while playing at a higher level of competition and intensity than high school. He said that running back and wide receiver are the two positions where he expects freshmen to have a chance to play this season, but there could be others if particular players really stand out or if a particular position has a string of injuries. He said that last year the coaches could tell from the first day or two of practice that linebacker Tyler Replogle was going to get a chance to play, but that couldn’t have been predicted going into camp.

2. What is being done to stop the run better this season?

The team has worked very hard on running the ball better on offense and stopping the run better on defense, Lynch said. Every day in practice the IU offense is using some power schemes like the Hoosiers will see against a Michigan State or a Wisconsin, Lynch said, so the team will be prepared for those teams. Last year, the defense didn’t see those formations until the week of those games because they aren’t ones that IU’s offense typically runs.

3. Will IU use just one primary running back or continue to use a combination of backs?

IU will use a combination of backs, Lynch said, with Marcus Thigpen as the No. 1 back and Bryan Payton, Demetrius McCray and Trey Burgess all seeing playing time in various situations. As noted above, IU’s freshmen running backs will also get a look in camp to see if they can contribute right away.

4. Is there a chance Jerimy Finch will play this season?

Lynch said Finch will take a redshirt year, assuming he reports as expected for the first day of fall camp. The indications are that that Finch will be there, but I don’t think anyone is counting on it as a certainty until it actually happens.

5. Is Andrew Means coming back?

Yes, Lynch talked with Means a week ago. He said Means will report to fall camp on Aug. 3 with the rest of IU’s returnees.

6. Tyler Adetona (freshman receiver from Georgia) had a huge senior season in high school. Will he play as a freshman?

Marcus Thigpen said that IU’s freshmen receivers (Adetona, Tandon Doss, Damarlo Belcher and Charles Love III) have looked very good in 7-on-7 play this summer and he expects a couple of them to play important roles this season to help fill the gap left by James Hardy, but he doesn’t have a good idea at this point on which ones it will be who play right away.

7. Is Tyler Replogle recovered from knee surgery?

Yes, Replogle will be full go from the start of fall camp. Junior Matt Mayberry is expected to be the starter at middle linebacker, but IU’s coaches have said they expect Replogle, a sophomore, to push him for the job.

8. Will Thigpen line up as a receiver as well as a running back?

Yes, Thigpen said he expects to line up as a receiver considerably more often than he has in the past. Lynch said that getting Thigpen open in space to use his speed is a priority in trying to replace some of Hardy’s production. Another change expected this season will be having IU’s tight ends, particularly redshirt freshman Max Dedmond, line up as slot receivers.

9. Is it a concern that using a no-huddle offense could leave IU’s defense on the field too much?

Lynch said this is a concern, but only if the offense is going three-and-out. The no-huddle offense should have IU’s offense on the field longer, Lynch said, because it will help the Hoosiers gain first downs and keep the ball.

Greg Brown said this is not a concern to him. He said that practicing against the no-huddle every day will have the Hoosier defense in top shape and will help considerably in playing against teams like Oklahoma State and Illinois that use the no-huddle at least part of the time.

10. Shouldn’t IU’s non-conference schedule include some opponents that are better known and more difficult than those this year – Western Kentucky, Murray State, Ball State and Central Michigan?

Lynch said that while IU is building its program, he thinks the schedule needs to be like it is now and that having eight home games is also a tremendous advantage in building the program. He also said that without taking anything away from any opponents – he remembers well walking off the field after losing to Southern Illinois two years ago – that IU will look at playing some bigger name opponents as its program becomes stronger and more established.

“As it is, it’s what we need right now,” he said.

11. Other than Purdue, what is Indiana’s most important game?

Brown said that every game is IU’s most important game. He said IU is not to a point like an Ohio State in which it can target particular games as most important or the Hoosiers will end up losing games they are expected to win. He pointed to the Southern Illinois loss – which may have prevented IU from going to a bowl game in 2006 – as an example of what will happen if any games are viewed as less important than others.

Thigpen, a Detroit native, said that games against Michigan and Michigan State particularly important to him, “just for the simple fact that they didn’t recruit me.”

After rushing for 104 yards on 20 carries and catching a 26-yard TD against MSU as a sophomore, Thigpen was injured and missed last year’s game in East Lansing. But he still felt the sting of a 52-27 blowout loss. He said he’ll be ready for the Spartans, visit to Bloomington on Oct. 13.

“This year, I’ve got something for them,” he said.

One comment

  1. too bad iu doesn’t play michigan this year. they might have a chance against them. iu’s offense will mirror the wolverines’. after this year though, look out, as rich rodriguez begins to bring in his kind of offensive players.

    as for central michigan, one of the supposedly weak non-conference foes, they are favored to win their division of the mac and have one of the nation’s top quarterbacks — dan lefevour — up there with kellen lewis, tim tebo and pat white.

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