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Bill Lynch said several times over the last two days that his Indiana football team was 12 plays away from having a special football season last year. For Indiana, that means a bowl-qualifying campaign.
Now, Lynch doesn’t have an exact list of the 12. They aren’t numbered anywhere, and when he was painfully reminiscing over season-defining failed red zone and third-down conversions on Tuesday, he lost count of how many he had listed.
But the point remains. Last season’s Hoosiers went 4-8 instead of 6-6 or even 8-4 because of a handful of plays that turned the tide.
“They were all plays that you look back at,” Lynch said, “and I don’t think it was dumb calls. It wasn’t that (our players) weren’t good enough. It was a matter of executing.”
And that, Lynch said, was the theme of the offseason.
As has been previously reported, the t-shirts IU players wore for offseason workouts read “Finish” on the back, meaning that the Hoosiers were in so many games but didn’t execute on crucial plays that would’ve allowed them to finish victories. The Northwestern game, which they led 28-7 but lost 29-28 was Example A.
“It really struck me when I’m watching all these bowl games,” Lynch said. “And they’re playing on New Year’s Day sitting there at 8-4. I’m thinking, what a great job they did. They went to Iowa and beat Iowa. Are they better than us? I don’t know, but they won those games. That’s why we’re not that far off, and it’s not impossible things. It’s not we’ve gotta go recruit a completely different kind of player or we’ve got to run a different offense or a different defense. It’s we gotta execute in those situations.”
So what does the difference have to be this time around? Focus and attention to detail. Those have been focal points since December, the Hoosiers said.
“Everyone of those plays, we had nine, 10, maybe 11 guys doing their job,” senior wide receiver Terrance Turner said. “Maybe one, two or three that weren’t. … You have to play as a unit every down.”
Indiana coach Bill Lynch said his contract status is not affecting him. Associated Press
Usually when a conference commissioner starts talking on media day, you tune him out and start writing about the other news you picked up from the day.
Not this time.
Jim Delany was the man everyone was waiting to speak to, and though there is much about the expanded Big Ten that is not finalized, he gave specific timelines about when it will be.
Delany said he hopes to have a plan for divisions for a 12-team Big Ten in place within the next 30-45 days. He reiterated that the most important criteria for determining the divisions will be competitive balance. To determine that, he said, the conference would look at the past 17 years, going back to the 1993 season. That year was chosen, he said, because it was the year every team in Division I-A (as it was known at the time) was limited to 85 scholarships.
Delany said definitively that he expected to have a Big Ten championship game in 2011. As far as a venue for the championship game, he did not rule out the possibility of rotating the venue, in part because he has concerns about the time and resources it would require to do an exhaustive study of a possible venue.
The commissioner said the conference has paused expansion to fully integrate Nebraska into the conference, but it has not turned away from the idea of adding more teams. However, when asked whether he considered Notre Dame to be a player in expansion, he said he did not think it would because he believed the Fighting Irish would remain independent in football and in the Big East for all other sports.
Delany said that the school’s athletic directors have supported the idea of going from eight to nine conference games, and that he thinks it would be more beneficial to fans to have such an arrangement because so many schools have been using guarantee games to fill their schedules. That likely won’t get unanimous support. At least one coach, Ohio State’s Jim Tressel, said he thought it could be problematic, especially in the case where a potential national championship team had to play five conference road games. In addition, there will assuredly be arguments from many athletic directors for financial reasons, because it will be a burden on athletic departments to have fewer home games.
Jeff Overton tees off on the third hole during the final round of the Greenbrier Classic golf tournament. Steve Helber | Associated Press
Kenny Kaminski, a 2012 forward, has picked Michigan State as his college choice, Scout.com’s Evan Daniels is reporting (subscription is required).
Kaminski, a 6-foot-7 shooter who could also go in the post, was choosing between the Spartans, Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio State.
He is on the 16U Indiana Elite Team Indiana team that also features D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Hanner Perea and Peter Jurkin.
Indiana’s basketball newcomers all met with the media for the first time as Hoosiers Friday afternoon, but one of the three players who sat on the dais in the Assembly Hall media room still carried more of an air of mystery than the other two.
Neither Will Sheehey (Florida) nor Victor Oladipo (D.C. suburbs) played high school ball anywhere near Indiana, so they aren’t as familiar to the Indiana fan base as say, Jordan Hulls. However, both played at premier prep schools and teamed with Top 30 recruits. Video on them is readily available online, and the fans that were able to drive to Louisville in April got to watch the springy legged Oladipo at the Derby Classic
Guy-Marc Michel, however, spent his last two years in basketball hinterland at North Idaho Community College. He lived in Martinique until he was 16 before moving to France for three years. IU didn’t even start recruiting him until after assistant coach Steve McClain, who had been recruiting Michel as an assistant at Colorado, joined the staff in April. (more…)
Former Indiana running back Marcus Thigpen has found a place to play in Hamilton of the CFL. Courtesy photo
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