Wednesday, March 17, 2010

For Indiana Football, It's Time To Finish

So here is Bill Lynch, braced for the start of spring football practice, geared for what he and the Indiana Hoosiers hope is a break-through season, the culmination of years of recruiting and redshirting and developing.

IU came close last season. It finished 4-8 and it could have been, without divine intervention, 8-4.

It lost to Michigan 36-33, Northwestern 29-28, Iowa 42-24 and Wisconsin 31-28. It was outscored in the fourth quarter 15-7 by Michigan, 10-0 by Northwestern and 28-0 by Iowa.

With just a little more effort and execution, the Hoosiers would have made a bowl game.

Guess what? That’s been a point of off-season emphasis. So with spring practice set to begin on Tuesday, the theme is as clear as a fist to the gut:


“It’s on the back of the players’ work-out t-shirts,” Lynch said. “It’s in big letters – FINISH.

“There’s no question we were close and had leads in the fourth quarter. We needed to get a first down or punch it in the end zone or get a stop and we didn’t do it. We’ve got to get over the hump and finish.”

The coaches have ramped up the competitive battles in off-season workouts to try to develop the mindset that leads to strong finishes. And there is, Lynch insists, enough talent to ensure that competitiveness is real and not contrived.

“We have more depth at more positions than we’ve had,” he said. “It’s going to be a great spring to see who comes out ahead.”

Who, in other words, knows how to finish.

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