Lynch: Northwestern’s efficiency a concern

Bill Lynch said Tuesday he has more respect for Northwestern than maybe any other program. It was a slightly surprising statement considering that Northwestern is the one Big Ten school with a history as dour as Indiana’s.

It wasn’t meant as a slight to the league’s powers, of course, because Lynch isn’t in the business of slighting anyone. but the Indiana coach said he meant it largely as a complement to Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald inherited his position in a similar circumstance to Lynch’s hiring. Just as Lynch was promoted after the death of Terry Hoeppner, Fitzgerald took over after the passing of Randy Walker. Last year, in Fitzgerald’s second season, he led the Wildcats to their seventh bowl game in school history.

“I think one, because I know Pat Fitzgerald so well,” Lynch said. “I have so much respect for him and how he runs a program. He took over for a really, really good football coach in Randy Walker that I knew for a very long time. They do things the right way. When you recruit against them, the kinds of kids that come in, how they develop them.”

Especially concerning to the Hoosiers is the Northwestern offense. Wildcats quarterback Mike Kafka completes 67 percent of his passes, the best mark in the Big Ten, and Northwestern ranks third in the conference in pass efficiency.

“We’ve played against a lot of spreads, but what they do is a little bit different than some of the others, because they use the short passing game so well,” Lynch said. “They are so patient with it. Most teams get impatient and they don’t. If we aren’t careful, they’ll go over the top with a big play down the field.”

The Hoosiers have to try to stop that offense with a banged-up defense that will be missing starting linebacker Will Patterson, cornerback Donnell Jones and nickel back Chris Adkins. Lynch, however, said he doesn’t expect that to be an issue.

“We’re not worried about changing our game plan and everything,” Lynch said. “… I’m not concerned about that, because I have confidence that these guys can step in and play.”


  1. “A history as dour as Indiana’s”?

    Northwestern has been to bowl games 3 of the last 6 years. They went to a Rose Bowl in 1995, then won the Big 10 again the following year.

    Indiana, meanwhile, has been to one bowl game in what, 18 years? And when was the last time they won the Big 10?

    IU, simply put, is the most pathetic Big 10 team of the last 3 decades. People must understand this if they ever want things to change. Please, no more attempts to soften this painful fact through comparisons or misleading statistics.

  2. H.T.
    So let me get this right. It is perfectly alright for you to use comparison and misleading statistics to make your point. How far do I need to go back to point out the errors of your ways? Yesterday you got on your soap box to point out IU’s deficiencies in the red-zone. No one argued with you. Then your buddy D-5 pointed out to you just how misguided your position was. Your demeanor changed immediately, swtiching to Jay Cutler and you even responded to GFDave in a civil manner. Earlier this week you tried to use the analogy of UW’s loss last week in some weak manner. Once again D-5 shut you down.
    Perhaps you should try a different tact. Nobody is arguing that IU football is pretty bad. You instructed GFDave yesterday about his use of the Bill of Rights. Would the same advice possibly apply to you?
    By the way, I do not listen to talk radio, in the main because I do not believe in yelling and name calling. If you remember you don’t want a long protracted argument but your attitude just invites that, doesn’t it?

  3. Jay- You are building up pretty nice case; a good mental (and written?) log of all my blog comments. I can’t tell, though, whether you are playing the role of policeman, pastor, or politician (those aren’t name calls; don’t get offended).

    Sometimes you see the blog as place that needs to be ‘cleaned up’, like an officer on the street: no passionate arguing, no name-calling or name-suggesting; just clean, honest fun.

    Other times you put on the robe and preach holy hymns of correct behavior, accompanied by sermons of equality such as that which you’ve just written.

    But most often, you sound like a politician: willing to lecture those whose position you oppose, accusing them of poor decorum and hypocrisy, but all the while content to quietly and surreptitiously engage in the same stat-spinning, opinion-slinging blog behavior as everyone else.

    The point is, this isn’t church, a presidential debate, or the mean city streets. It’s a blog. You write something with the knowledge that it may be contested in various forms. Try to sneak in generalizations and fact-stretching, and you will be called out. Heck, even when you write the truth, people may take exception. It’s all part of the fun.

  4. Husky, you are the best poster the Scoop has! I like how you say whats on your mind. That last post cracked me up!

  5. Husky,

    You know the majority of the time I got your back and enjoy your post, but the negativity towards all things IU football present and past is getting old.

    We all know the past, and we are all aware of what is going on now. The team just got a victory in a should/must win game. Something they have not done for a while.

    They are playing another should/must win game this weekend.

    What is more important, how this team plays Saturday at noon or how teams from the past 3 decades have played?

  6. Mike-

    Good point. I do pour on the negativity sometimes, and it might seem stale and old to many (thank you, Juan Blanco, for being one of the exceptions).

    The simple engine behind by comments is a belief that attempting to explain away IU’s singular ineptness through comparisons and misleading stats lulls us all into thinking “maybe things aren’t so bad”; “there are others like us.” This can then lead to complacent, anti-analytical positions where a status quo of losing becomes a culture which everyone fears is just “how things are.”* Case and point, after the loss to Michigan, we had posters on here calling for a 5 year contract extension for Lynch AFTER A LOSS. That is the culture we are fighting against. We all loved the effort from the club that day, but the fact is, it was severely skewed by Forcier and the center’s inability to get the snap count right.*

    *= These are just opinions. There has been no name calling or incivility. I invite disagreement, counter-arguments, or any other comments.

  7. Husky,

    I don’t see anywhere that Dustin posted misleading statistics.

    Fact of the matter is IU and NW have almost the same winning percentage (.405 IU and .415 NW) for the history of the program, IU has played in and one more bowl games than NW. NW has more Big Ten Titles.

    Yes, NW has been to 4 bowl games this decade. Getting beat by a combined total of 72 points. Last years team went to a Bowl, IU beat that team, remember?

  8. Mike-

    Yes, I figured someone would ‘move the posts back’ to show that IU and Northwestern are basically the same. Buy all of us here would probably admit that what matters most is what is recent.

    I’ll take 4 bowl losses before 1 bowl loss any day, if you set the posts to ‘this decade.’ If you set the posts to ‘last two decades’, I’ll take NW’s two Big 10 championships over IU’s accomplishments any day. Steve Schnur, Darnell Autry, Gary Barnett- ahhh, those were the days.

    If we move the posts back 3 decades, then, well, I wasn’t alive, so I find it hard to care.

  9. Tom’s sinister plan is to extend a line of thinking that will turn IU into a wishy washy school of sports mediocrity…a basketball team full of toe-dribblers and brick-tossers with knee burns …..a football team that squeaks into the Cheez-It Bowl year after year…In other words, he wants to bring UW to Bloomington..

    Indiana is a basketball state…Unfortunately, the more we waste effort on attempting to turn IU football into the Ohio St. Buckeyes, Kentucky continues to land the big-time basketball coaches and recruits…they continue to peck away at the great hoops heritage we once had….The big blue vulture to the south grows…Keep thinking like a Husky and it will all be gone soon. Basketball at IU will be a carcass in a lonely cornfield.

  10. Downing-

    You’re right, I want to bring a type of UW to Indiana. UW: a school that won a football national championship in the last 20 years, a Rose Bowl 8 years ago, a Pac 10 basketball title last year, and was a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament in 2005.

    In other words, a team with a relatively RECENT history of success in both major money-making sports.

    I can hear you dusting off those (1-sport) banners already, preparing to shove them in my face. Please get them checked for asbestos (asbestos use was phased out in the 1970’s, so most of them will still have some in there, I think).

    Do me another favor: post your “basketball state” comment on a forum where Notre Dame, Colts, and Boiler fans congregate. See what they say.

  11. G-5
    I am going to wait to comment on “a carcass in a lonely cornfield” for a while. I am not totally sold on Crean but I do believe he deserves some time.
    You weren’t around, I imagine, when Knight was hired in 71. Are you aware that not everyone associated with IU was jubilant about the hire? The “Hurryin Hoosiers” running a motion offense and demanding defense, and no fast break? You seem to be interested in IU basketball. Good for you. Let’s wait and see. Although I admit I was upset when IU hired Sampson. that’s another story.

  12. Well G-5,
    As I was posting to you, your ex-protege Husky Tom saw fit to show you the door. Funny, I thought you were his hero, you are better than him. Is this all a result of losing the mademoiselle?

  13. Great stuff. This is the kind of back-and forth banter that blogging was made for.

    Add comedian and satirist to Jay/Jimmy’s list of talents.

  14. so spending some money and effort in hopes of getting a good football team at IU hurts our basketball teams future…I have heard it all now. Jeeeezzz!!!

  15. Basketball and football…surf and turf…wife and hooker…..booze and Prohibition….banners and bowls…Hummer and Yugo…..Annecy and Tennessee….talented thugs and church boy slugs….everywhere and nowhere…..blah…blah..blah

    With Tom you can have it all!….And what do you have when you do have it all? Where’s the differentiation? Where’s the unique? Where’s the Perrier in his Lake Erie drink? Where’s any black in the sea of red ink?

    I don’t think those banners looked too dusty seven years ago when we were playing for a National Championship..(I believe that was more recent history than your precious Huskies football team going to Rose Bowl…a freakish year when they drew the sorry ass Boilermakers instead of the perennial powerhouses of our conference..I think you ended up 3rd in the National rankings..Hoist the banner! Yippee!)

    You call those Hoosier basketball banners dusty, but yet omit the Sweet Sixteen’s, the Elite Eight’s, and the Final Four’s…No wonder and no coincidence…Funny how you can’t even find any fond memories for recounting the glorious deep runs of Dawg hoops in the tournament..Why? Because they’re aren’t any!!…Yes, I hear it coming..”Almost..Almost..Almost”…You can have it all + you have the most = Almost, Tom….Never a Championship…Never even an Elite Eight!…Even Valparaiso has made it to a Sweet Sixteen…You forgot to mention that small Indiana school in a tiny Indiana town that is rich in basketball tradition(Homer Drew, Bryce Drew..“The Shot”…anyone?)…Indiana is a basketball state..Butler, Valparaiso, Ball St, Purdue, Notre Dame…They all have had more success than UW basketball…And to think we used to be at the top of that list…I always felt that was a great honor..IU has always been seen as the cream of that crop…the reason the word “Hoosiers” is synonymous with bball in representing that great tradition of hoops hysteria in Indiana…So now we’re left to talking about Husky conference titles?…I am really impressed…Polish those trophies every day…Keep the newspaper clippings from the Seattle times sports pages that boast of being a high seed…. Huskies have arrived!…Yes, as a Husky fan you certainly have it all…I think I’m ready to give up those five dusty basketball banners, a runner-up finish in 2002(after taking down a #1 Duke team in Regional in Kentucky), a few trips to meaningless Final Four’s and Elite Eight’s.. I think I’ll trade them all in for watching the pretty rose covered floats go down the boulevards of Pasadena every couple decades.

  16. oops…Keep the newspaper clippings from the Seattle [T]imes sports pages..

    I missed ranting.

  17. Well said, but I am sorry to say, D, much of the emotion that drives your rant is based on loss; the lossof tradition, the loss of prestige, the loss of glory… it’s all gone, and all you can do is evoke past ghosts. It reminds me about what anthropologists have said about the emergence of religion, and how it came about as primitive man mourned beside a lifeless body of a loved one, desperate for a narrative that could explain his pain and heal his wounds…

    Meanwhile, at the U of Washington, it is about the Future; teams and programs on the rise, hope springs eternal. You are undeniably jealous of this fact, and your anti-UW rage makes it all the more apparent.

    You have been doing a good job of channeling some of those emotions into good football observations of late, but this thread represents a bit of a breakdown for you. I suggest you keep at it.

  18. Oops, didn’t mean to italicize the whole darn thing.

    The locals are not going to be happy with these IDS Basketblog-style posts…

  19. not taking sides here at all, but I did not hear Florida or Ohio St fans complaining when they were going to Champ games in both sports. That is not even what I am asking. It would be nice to go to a middle of the road bowl in football and be competitive, and yes…go back to the final 4 and champ game in bball. That is not too much to ask IU is it?

  20. The rage is stage, Tom…I have no ill feelings toward UW…And I do wish our basketball was more on the rise…You’re right…I cling to a ghostly basketball past…a past when candy-stripes meant more than a preachy coach in a carnival tent.

    I will wither and wait as the football Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come visits tonight at bedside..Oops..never mind..Already happened…the star tight end..the football hero I was stuck to room with my freshman year…the night he stood like death next to my quivering homesick bed. My freshman year at college…That was the final days of basketball at IU…We won the NCAA Championship that year…After peeing myself that night, I didn’t go to any more football games for the rest of year…Now thy price be paid…Will you still take my lump of coal for Tiny Tim football, Dr. Grim Reaper?

    I’m confident Indiana basketball will be back soon…Huskies turn to jackals and preachers be Grim Reapers, nothing shall bury, nor destroy my faith.

    Go Hoosiers!!

  21. J Pat-

    Florida and Ohio State, not to mention lesser schools like Kansas and North Carolina, are higher up the evolutionary scale than IU for the reason you point out. I am convinced that large universities that cling to a one-sport identity, and their fanbase, are stuck in a Middle Ages of the sportsworld, filled with superstition, fairy tales, and lore.

    This blog, in a way, is a forum for the Enlightened few who know that having a competitive presence in both major sports can do nothing but good for the big picture. Polyannas and Loudmouth Cynics alike share a common belief that football is important, and for that reason alone I respect this feisty crowd.

  22. Are you sure you’re not the bright light the “New Generation” of Hoosiers are reaching for, Tom?

    Thanks for your enlightenment. I’ll place my faith in the displaced humble cheer of a most misguided heart.

  23. Do you think the measly price of a student ticket is the financial fuel that keeps the multi-sport engine running at IU?

    What fed the football program(and likely most the budgetary needs of all athletics at IU) for the past 30 years was the success of IU basketball…But do you think its only contribution be found on banners, in trophy cases, new practice facilities, or surpluses on Athletic Department balance sheets? The prestige flowed well beyond the tangible and measurable…It still flows today….It contributes to the vitality of Bloomington and the university as a whole..Is that realization an extension of primitive thinking?…Those banners have paid for far more than the value of their fabric….It is the immense and immeasurable interest and national focus brought to IU by the success of basketball that contributes to the overall health of our university…Mock it, and call it dusty mystique, if you will..A modern man in his dream world of independent thought will not pay the bills when big daddy contributor stops sending his checks …All fine and dandy when someone, or some bottomless pit entity, has endless resources of cash to feed such experiments of perfection..You’ll find where your enlightenment will take you if both sports programs are fighting for an ever dwindling dollar in hard times….One of these programs needs success quickly.

    As I’ve said many times…I’m all for football to get off it’s comatose state of zero success…I’m ready for national recognition…Enlighten me and delight me.. I would love to see an IU football team make a trip to Pasadena…Kick a Trojan back to Rome….Bring ruin to a Bruin…Maybe we could even have some dumb luck and get a blue moon chance to put some extra whippin’ on a fly-by-night lost sled dog from Seattle …Can we please do it quickly? Somebody needs to get their priorities straightened out in a hurry….For some strange reason we just committed to throwing tens of millions of dollars at a basketball coach with a guarantee to keep him for a decade..Why? Because we are desperate….Desperate to try and recapture what we have lost…For there are a select few that don’t live on planet Utopia..Football is on their brain…They realize a trip to a Holiday Bowl will never be enough to pay for that hideous hodgepodge addition, the price tag no tradition, for the gladiators to play helmet tag in the money pit next door…

  24. Another Downing Masterpiece. The photo, in particular, gave me quite the morning chuckle.

    However, I can’t help but think that your argument is like Sarah Palin’s “Real America” argument transposed to the world of college sports.

    A few days ago, the Herald Times published an article about how a large majority of university sports departments were in the red. The exceptions? Those with large, successful football programs .

    Sorry, D, but no amount of illustrious, ghostly donors can match the revenue of a packed 60,000 person stadium and passionate football base on a year to year basis.

  25. In 2006, I think, the Indy Star published a report on NCAA Financial Report. If you have not looked at it is pretty good. As far a I know this is the most recent report avaialable that actually provides information for most universities. financial reports/

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