Bloomington, Ind. – Bill Lynch was happier man at the end of practice than he was at the start.
As the Hoosiers went through their third straight day of practice in mid-90 degree temperatures at the IU practice fields, Lynch and his staff weren't necessarily seeing the same attitude in the early going as they had seen during the first two days of fall camp.
Whether it was drops or missed assignments or mental mistakes, the first half of Wednesday's session didn't leave a good taste in the Hoosier head coach's mouth.
"The thing I thought about today was we didn't mentally come out ready to go," said Lynch, whose team practiced in shells. "It was one of those days, we had two really good days (Monday and Tuesday), so it's hot and (they're thinking) I'll go out and see how it is. The first two days, it didn't matter how hot it was, they were going to go 100 miles an hour."
Admittedly, it was the hottest of the three days thus far for camp. Temperatures were in the mid-90s, there wasn't much of a breeze, and the sun was out for the duration of the 2 hour, 45-minute practice.
There was a steady stream of players making their way to the sidelines for water, and Lynch said the team took longer water breaks than normal to make sure everyone was staying hydrated.
"It's hot," said freshman Chris Adkins, "but you have to do what you have to do."
What you have to do, according to fellow freshman Tyler Repogle, is keep the focus on the field and not on the conditions.
"When it's hot out, it's pretty much all mental," Replogle said. "You have to focus on your job and get it done no matter what the temperature. Whatever the weather is, the weather is."
After the sluggish start, Lynch was pleased with how the team regrouped and closed out Wednesday's session. The final half of practice included some solid work by both Kellen Lewis and Ben Chappell during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills. The defense, meanwhile, had a handful of big plays as well, including an interception return for touchdown by Tracy Porter and a big hit by Leslie Majors on Demetrius McCray on an underneath route.
"I liked how we bounced back," Lynch said. "I didn't like how we started, but I thought we finished strong and we preach all the time about finishing."
The Hoosiers are expected to remain outside for the rest of the week despite the forecast of near 100-degree temperatures, although Lynch admitted that the staff would prefer the conditions were a bit milder. But he also thinks the weather can serve a purpose and reveal some things about the mental make-up of the players as well as the team.
"You don't really want it this hot, but if you're going to play football in the Midwest, it's going to be hot and it's going to be hot on some of those Saturdays in September," Lynch said. "You learn to fight through it. Some of it is mental, but I thought we were smart with what we did with them physically, too."
Note: HoosierNation.com will have individual notes on practice later this evening, including additional comments from the coaching staff, some statistics from 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 work, and more…
CAMP REPORT: Weather Takes Its Toll
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