FB PRACTICE: Lynch Keeps Focus on the Field

Bloomington – When a smattering of fans voiced their displeasure with IU Coach Bill Lynch after Saturday's 55-20 loss to Wisconsin, the second-year IU coach wasn't looking and he wasn't listening.

Bloomington – When a smattering of fans voiced their displeasure with IU Coach Bill Lynch after Saturday's 55-20 loss to Wisconsin, the second-year IU coach wasn't looking and he wasn't listening.

As Indiana's season has taken a turn for the worse during the last two months, fans have begun growing restless and are now voicing their displeasure. At the conclusion of Saturday's game a couple of fans held up a sheet that read "Fire Bill Lynch" and on Monday during his weekly radio show a caller asked if Lynch was going to consider stepping down at season's end.

While neither scenario appears likely, it's obvious that IU fans are no longer reveling in last year's bowl trip, and they're certainly not giving this coaching staff any slack as it struggles through a very disappointing season.

"When you're a coach, it's part of the territory," Lynch said Wednesday after practice. "You're so wrapped up in the football game, I don't notice those kinds of things. You hear people yelling, but you don't know what they're yelling."

That's probably a good thing, because the comments haven't been very complimentary about an IU football team that has dropped seven out of eight and is tied with Purdue for last in the Big Ten.

"If you're a football coach and you're paying attention to that stuff, you're not doing your job," Lynch said.

Some fans might be turning on the staff, but IU's players continue to show nothing but support for the staff and the direction the program is headed. While this season has witnessed a significant drop-off with the team's win-loss record, the drop-off is more of a reflection of the injuries that have happened as opposed to any shortcomings of the staff in their minds.

"We've had a tough year," Lynch said. "We're had a lot of things happen to us. But we're sticking together, we're going to fight.

"Those of us who are there everyday on the inside know the things that have gone on."

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As Indiana gears up for its road trip to Penn State on Saturday, it is hopeful that all Kellen Lewis, Ben Chappell and Mitchell Evans will all be available for the contest.

Chappell was held out of Wednesday's practice for precautionary reasons, but Lynch is confident he'll be ready on Saturday. IU Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada, meanwhile, told Lynch after practice that both Lewis and Evans were moving better than they did on Tuesday.

"We need them all," Lynch said. "I feel better (about them being able to play) today than Monday."

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The IU staff has watched the film of Iowa's upset win over Penn State last weekend, and Lynch is confident that his team can do what Iowa did that proved to be the key to the upset win.

"(Iowa) played really hard," Lynch said. "When you watch the tape, that's the No. 1 thing. It was a hard fought, hard hitting football game. They got it to the fourth quarter, they got a few turnovers and they made a drive and a kick. It wasn't anything special that they did."

If Indiana is going to be competitive in this game, it has to keep players such as Evan Royster, Darryl Clark and Derrick Williams from putting up huge offensive numbers offensively and on special teams. But as good as that trio is, Lynch is more concerned about some other players on the Lion roster.

"What's really impressive about Penn State is what they are up front on both sides of the ball," Lynch said. "They're offensive line is really good, very athletic, physical, and you can tell they've played together. Their defensive line, with depth, are big, physical guys.

"That's the first thing that jumps out when you watch them."


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