Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lynch On The State of IU Football

IU athletic director Fred Glass will evaluate the football program at the end of the season, which will begin sometime late Saturday afternoon in the aftermath of the Oaken Bucket Game. But let’s say Bill Lynch was doing a self-evaluation. How would he do it? For that we bring you his response to a Big Ten teleconference question.

“That’s a difficult question for me to answer because I’m certainly going to slant the answer in my favor,” Lynch said. “That’s what makes it difficult. I certainly have a great respect for everyone here and the evaluation process they’ll go through, but I think in running a football program in the Big Ten there’s a lot of factors that go into it. We’re all judged on won-loss record.

“Those of us in the profession know there are so many things that are involved with it. It all shows up on Saturdays. I’m certainly proud of what we’ve done here and what we have built. We’ve been very, very competitive. I think in the last two years, we’ve had 15 Big Ten games and 10 of them we’ve had the lead or were within a score in the fourth quarter. We’ve only won one of them. So, that’s the reflection of us not finishing and not getting it done, but it’s also certainly a reflection on us being competitive.”

When a team fails to finish, who is responsible?

“Every situation and every game is different,” Lynch said. “It’s about making plays. Our guys have prepared very, very well and have worked very hard and have really battled. We’ve been coming up a play or two short. Each one’s a little bit different situation. To try to characterize it, it’s because of this, you can’t do it that way. That’s why you play, but the effort our guys have given and the way they’ve battled and certainly the staff, I think there isn’t one single thing you could say would make the difference, but that’s true in every football game you watch no matter what it is.”

Consider this. Against Michigan cornerback Richard Council was coached well enough to be in position to make an interception in the closing seconds of regulation. His job was to make the play. He didn’t, and injured a knee in the process.

Against Iowa, receiver Damarlo Belcher was coached well enough to get open for a game-winning touchdown pass. Quarterback Ben Chappell hit him perfectly. All he had to do was catch it. He could not.

IU is 0-7 in the Big Ten. It is the only winless team. Why?

“I think we played against really good football teams,” Lynch said. “Every team that beat us is a bowl eligible team out of the Big Ten. The Big Ten is very, very good this year.

“We certainly had a great opportunity against Michigan, got beat in the last minute. We had a great opportunity against Northwestern, it came down to a made field goal and a missed field goal. We had a great opportunity against Iowa and dropped a ball in the end zone. We were tied with Penn State going into the fourth quarter.

“At some point, you’ve got to realize we came up a play or two short against some really good teams. We had some injuries, I think losing Darius Willlis has affected our running game, but everybody has injuries. I’m not going to say that’s the difference because everybody has injuries. That’s part of it. We were very competitive in some big games that would’ve turned our season around and everybody would’ve looked at it a little differently.”

Instead, there is no turnaround, only growing speculation that Lynch won’t get the chance to coach his contract’s fourth and final season. He isn’t alone on the hot seat. Michigan’s Rich Rodriguez might not survive if his Wolverines get pounded by arch-rival Ohio State Saturday.

What’s going to happen?

Maybe the best compromise would be to let Lynch stay if he replaces some members of his staff. But finding a good assistant coach, say an offensive or defensive coordinator, would be difficult given the tenuous nature of IU's coaching situation. A guy would risk coming for one year and then getting released with the rest of the staff if the Hoosiers don't win next season.

No wonder there's a lot of grim faces around Memorial Stadium these days.


  1. What about promoting Matt Canada?

  2. Absolutely not! Changing some of the staff on a team that has never made success of their own hard work would be a waste. Cut our losses now. Start the process over with a guy who has the passion and fight of Hep, if there is such a man out there that wants this job. Spend the money and hire a quality coach. This is the time to create an up and coming football program to go with our up and coming basketball team. Crean wasn't cheap and expecting to get a bargain coach that can win in football is just not reasonable and has cost us over the last few years.

  3. My thinking is to give Lynch 1 more year which will give him 2 more years total. The reason why is that he has a great class of recruits coming some say the best yet for him. If IU does not give him at lest two years we have a lame duck coach and that is not a good thing.

    If IU fires him then the recruits coming in will most likely go to a different school and if I was one of then I would look at a different school.

    I do not buy in the statement "who would want to come to Indiana", enough money and we can get a great coach. We are in the Big Ten and Indiana does have the fan support and great buildings for a football program.

  4. Lynch has done a lot of good things at IU (recruiting, facilities, graduation record, etc). I think he made some good points above. Losing D. Willis was huge, and has most likely cost us a couple of wins. Presently, the future looks bright in terms of talent (less two star or no star talent on the field, but, rather nationally ranked athletes). To this end, I find it difficult to adequately evaluate a coach strictly on his win/loss record at IU. That is, not only is he expected to win, but he is also expected to turn the tide after decades of losing. I believe that takes more than four seasons. Look at coach Rodriquez at Michigan, for example. He's having a difficult time getting Michigan, with all of its tradition, back to the top in his third season. Frankly, there is no comparison in terms of the difficulty Lynch is facing. Ultimately, the only way we should replace Lynch after this season and not let him coach next season is if IU is able to recruit a nationally recognized head coach, thus willing to pay the money. Anything less, at this juncture, would simply be a lateral move. Furthermore, IU has to stick with a coach long enough to resurrect the program. Take for instance Jerry DiNardo's tenure. He was a nationally recognized coach (LSU). He was getting national talent (Porter and the Law Firm), yet he was only given three years. I think had he been given five years, things would have improved.

  5. I have total confidence in Fred Glass to do the thing that will be most helpful to IU football. He's a smart guy and an IU grad who no doubt was studying how to improve Hoosier football even before he became athletic director. Now that Tom Crean is hitting the jackpot in basketball recruiting, Glass can devote virtually all of his time and savvy to improving the football program. And he will succeed! He is so much more capable and knowledgeable than we 'Monday morning quarterbacks' that it's foolish for any of us to speculate on what he should do. Go Hoosiers, on the hardwood, gridiron . . .

  6. First, I wouldn't classify our incoming recruiting class as "great", or even any different than losing recruiting classes of the recent past. Next, all of the points that Lynch makes in Pete's column (thanks Pete nice job) are excuses and further cement the case for his removal. Also, it must be one or the other - Lynch is either gone or he gets a 3-4 year extension because no coach can recruit on the last year of a contract without an extension. His numbers certainly do not warrant an extension, so he is gone....

  7. The problem with giving Lynch another year is that he has shown very little, if any, improvement over the previous seasons. There is no indication that he will be able to have any more luck next season. Let's face it; he only got the job on the coat tails of Coach Hep. Had he gotten the job over Coach H years ago, we would have already been fired and IU wouldn't have gone to a bowl game. I don't like changing coaches every 3 to 4 years than anyone else, but I am also tired of the same promises and excuses with no success. For those who want to live in the world of denial and say that Indiana is just a basketball state or even IU is just a basketball school, then how do you explain the success Purdue had from the late 90's through most of the 00's. What about Northwestern's continued success since the mid '90s? It is once again time for a change with hopefully better results...

  8. One additional thought to the person who posted, why not promote Matt Canada? Are you serious? Look at the teams lack of production during the big 10 season on the offensive side of the ball. Before the B10 season started, ESPN and other sports networks talked about Ben and how he could be the reason that IU has a successful season. But once the B10 season opened up, his numbers dropped because he was facing better defenses (other than the Michigan game). Matt has also not brought anything innovative to IU football. Of course, part of that may be do to the fact that he hasn't had a lot of talent, but great coordinators are able to maximize what they have and produce results. Average to below average coordinators produce results like Matt Canada. It is time to clean house and start over. Maybe Lynch and his staff can go back to BSU.

  9. Monkeyboy,

    Everyone quit making excuses, Lynch can not coach. If he had Peyton Manning, Lynch would have him run the ball, get rid of him and pay some money for a good coach. Next year we will have no one, Chappel will be gone and Doss is going pro with Belcher. Remember the old saying, nice guy's finish last, and yes we are in last place again! Look at Louisville, they bring in a new coach and he has done more than Lynch has in 3 years.

  10. I say no way to Matt Canada too. The Purdue/IU game showed that both these teams had equal talent but the better coaching at Purdue converted that talent to some B10 wins. This staff had enough talent to do better but coaching decisions obliterated it. Look at Zook, coaching makes the difference.