Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bucket Win -- A Few (And More) Good Men

Bill Lynch could celebrate after a Big Ten game, an “I” link from the Old Oaken Bucket hanging around his neck, Hoosier hysteria rolling across the Ross-Ade Stadium turf in a wave of emotion.

Imagine that.

Richard Council could run from Hoosier to Hoosier, hugging a trail of joy, eyes red and filling.

This is what beating Purdue can do.

Fred Glass surveyed it all, enjoying the moment, declining to steal from it, keeping whatever decision he will make to himself. Indiana’s athletic director was all about praising the coaches and players for beating a rival that has dominated the last 13 years.

A decision on Lynch’s coaching future?

That’s for another day.

Yes, this Oaken Bucket battle went to overtime for the first time in series history. IU’s 34-31 victory came when redshirt freshman kicker Mitch Ewald capped an unexpected season of opportunity by drilling the game winner from 31 yards.

It seemed a chip shot, but ask Boise State’s field goal kicker about that when the pressure is on.

Ewald never flinched.

“I’ve done it a million times before,” he said. “So much credit goes to the snapper and holder.”

That would be Jeff Sanders and Teddy Schell, unsung heroes in a brisk day full of them.

There was battered quarterback Ben Chappell, his body a walking bruise, throwing for 330 yards and three touchdowns to clinch the Big Ten passing title. His 3,295 passing yards set an IU single-season record.

“Chappell is unbelievable,” Lynch said. “No one will ever know how bad he’s been hurt over the last five or six weeks, and how bad he was hurting today. You couldn’t get him out of there. He made play after play.”

There was linebacker Jeff Thomas, a junior college transfer whose overtime interception gave IU a chance to win it in the first overtime period.

There were receivers Terrance Turner (10 catches, 100 yards), DaMarlo Belcher (eight catches 83 yards) and Tandon Doss (eight catches, three touchdowns) coming up big.

There was linebacker Tyler Replogle who had 11 tackles, including one for a loss.

There was an offensive line that gave Chappell enough protection to drive the Hoosiers into overtime.

Finally, there was Lynch, whose team earned its biggest come-from-behind victory under his watch (at one time it trailed 21-7). It was IU’s first win at Ross-Ade Stadium since 1996 and snapped a 12-game Big Ten losing streak. It was Lynch’s 100th career victory and gave the Hoosiers a 5-7 record, one more win that last year.

He didn’t want to talk about it. It was about the players, you see. It was for the seniors, most of whom will never again play an organized football game.

“It’s all about listening to those guys jumping up and down,” he said. “We’ve had a few weeks where it’s been pretty quiet in there. You need rewards for all the hard work and they’re getting their rewards.”

For Lynch the reward would be getting the opportunity to coach the final year of his four-year contract. That is what Glass will decide and don’t expect it to take long. There’s no reason to drag this out. If Lynch is staying, announce it to end the speculation. If he’s gone, the sooner the search for a new coach begins, the better.

As we’ve said before in earlier blogs, the fair thing would be to let Lynch coach the final year of his contract because, in so many ways, he is the ideal man to coach the program. The players were in full support.

“He’s been fighting for us all season,” senior safety Mitchell Evans said. “He stood up there when a lot of times it was our fault and he took the blame for it. I loved playing for the guy. It was great to get this win for him.”

But in this bottom-line world and profession, being fair doesn’t always mesh with reality. Glass’s priority has to do what’s best for the program. One way or the other, we’ll soon know that.


  1. If Glass had a brain in his head, he will fire Bill Lynch on Monday!

  2. Lynch is a bum, and can't coach worth a damn. If Glass doesn't fire Lynch , perhaps IU should fire Glass!

  3. How can you say that Lynch is "the ideal man to coach the program"? Is there no other coach available who can recruit AND WIN with class at IU? Frankly, I'm weary of reading about what a nice man Lynch is. Mr. Nice Guy is not winning games against conference foes, and coming close is not good enough.

  4. As important (and enjoyable) as it is to beat Purdue, the win should have no bearing on the decision to terminate Lynch and his assistants. Randy Shannon at Miami goes 9-4 and 7-5 in the last two seasons and is gone. The coach at Vanderbilt gets one year and is gone. No bowl eligibility for Lynch in his career at IU (except for Coach Hep's team)and barely hung on to beat an inferior opponent yesterday. There is no body of work that could justify a contract extension, and without an extension you can't recruit. Lynch is done, and not a moment too soon.

  5. Pete, you say the following:
    "As we’ve said before in earlier blogs, the fair thing would be to let Lynch coach the final year of his contract..."
    Are you serious? It would, however, continue the Fred Glass tradition of making it a State Fair Carnival atmosphere in Bloomington on Saturday's. A lame duck coach simply is laughable. IU gets Mid American Conference talent as it is. What kid is gonna go somewhere when he doesn't know who the head coach is gonna be? NO ONE! And it would be a media frenzy of speculation after each loss (8 or 9 of them to be exact). And don't even talk about naming an interim Head Coach. This is IU...the worst team in B10 History! No incoming coach (other than a MAC Coach like we already have) would agree to that!
    Sorry, Pete, your proposal is totally unworkable.
    But for IU Football, it certainly wouldn't surprise me!!!

  6. I could not disagree more about Coach Lynch. You stated that the fair thing to do is let Lynch coach the final year of his contract. Fair for who? It certainly is not fair to all the fans and alumni who have had to grimace through three demoralizing Big Ten losing seasons. And it is not fair to all those football athletes whose experience at Indiana University was marred by the unrelenting criticism of newspapers, fans, and their own student body because they had bad leadership that was put into place by an incompetent athletic director. These kids had so much more potential and would have experienced success under the leadership of a more talented coach. The right decision could never be fair for only one man and unfair to so many others. Let Lynch's legacy end on high note and start the search for a new coach this week!

  7. Win or lose my thoughts have not changed. I would very much like these type of quality human beings to experience the BOWL season. But I would not trade loses for wins to have to experience ANY changes in the pesonification LYNCH and HEP have brought to building a stable, productive program of football. With present staff, I really do not know for sure that W will out number L in the future. But I do believe that with present company the tumultuous disgrace suffered by all of IU and fans over past basketball (Sampson) will never be felt. Fred Glass, build it the right way. Even if you (we) have to wait for the back order parts to come in, IT WILL BE WORTH IT.