Lynch: Still competition at several spots

Bill Lynch heads into the week of his first game with several starting spots still undecided.

But the Indiana coach said he isn’t especially concerned.

“There’s somethings I wake up in the middle of the night worrying about,” Lynch said at his press conference Friday. “That’s not who’s the starter at any of those positions. That doesn’t bother me. I’ve coached in situations where you wake up in the middle of the night wondering who your quarterback is. That’s sometimes an unsettling feeling.”

At the two guard positions, he’s still considering senior Cody Faulkner, junior Justin Pagan, sophomore Marc Damisch and redshirt freshman Aaron Price, a South graduate. At cornerback, seniors Adrian Burks and Richard Council and juniors Andre Kates and Matt Ernest are all still in a battle. Lynch is still deciding on a kicker between sophomore Nick Freeland and redshirt freshman Mitch Ewald. The middle (Leon Beckum vs. Jeff Thomas) and weakside linebacker (Chad Sherer and Damon Sims) positions are still undetermined, as is the backup quarterback position where redshirt freshmen Dusty Kiel and Edward Wright-Baker are still battling.

Lynch said he doesn’t think he needs to establish starters by Thursday, however, because he could just as easily rotate players at each of those positions.

“I’m not really concerned about having a starter,” he said. “I want to know who’s capable of playing at this level. Then, I think playing guys can help keep guys fresh and hopefully develop depth that can not only help us early in the year but also pay off in October or November.”

The only position battle in the bunch that Lynch said needs to be decided at some point is the place kicking job.

“If we were going to start right now, Freeland would certainly be the kickoff guy,” Lynch said. “He’s done that. He’s a really good kickoff guy. The extra point and field goal is where they’re really competing at that spot. I’ve seen Freeland do it. I guess that’s the other thing, Mitch hasn’t done it, but I certainly have confidence in him.”

Another thing he may or may not have to decide by Thursday is which true freshmen will have a chance to play. Lynch initially indicated that just two freshmen, wide receiver Kofi Hughes and linebacker Chase Hoobler, would “practice up,” once the games begin, which means they would be a part of either the first or second team but not the scout team. On Friday, Lynch added running backs Antonio Banks and Matt Perez to the list of possibilities, though he stressed that they would likely play only in the case of injuries. He also indicated that Hoobler may go back to scout team simply because of the depth at linebacker.

Hughes, though, has a real chance to play. The former Cathedral quarterback has had a very strong preseason despite the fact that he’s played the last few weeks with a cast over his right hand protecting a broken thumb.

10 comments

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