Bloomington – While Indiana fans reflect on the Hoosier football program's current two-game slide, there's something that seems to be easing the pain.
After all, it WAS Michigan. And then it WAS Ohio State.
What do you expect?
But that's not good enough for Indiana Coach Bill Lynch, who's not looking for moral victories from the near miss in Ann Arbor or the humbling-but-not-humiliating loss to Ohio State. He draws no comfort from those results, and he doesn't want his players to do so, either.
"You want to get your program to the point that any loss hurts," Lynch said Monday.
That's what Lynch said he saw in the locker room after each game. There's wasn't any sense of "accomplishment" from the final scores. Instead, he saw the disappointment of losing, a realization that they could have played better, and a commitment to fix it before Saturday's game in Charlottesville, Va., against Virginia.
"We know in life you win and you lose, and you pick yourself up and you move on," Lynch said. "We're going to do that. But from a football standpoint, you want to get yourself to the point where losing isn't acceptable. You get 12 chances, and you're going to do everything you can to win a football game."
There also appears to be a sense among IU's players that they have what it takes to compete with whatever opponent presents itself on any given Saturday on the schedule. The days of conceding they're not big enough, strong enough or ultimately good enough to compete with the conference's best teams are seemingly behind them.
"Watching the film of the last two losses, it's all been fundamental stuff," Justin Pagan said. "It's stuff that can be corrected. It's not drastic…these last two losses have been fundamental issues. If we get those straightened out, we'll be fine."
The task of getting things straightened out began Monday when the team turned the page from Ohio State and turned its attention to a Virginia team that is 1-3, but coming off an impressive 16-3 win Saturday over North Carolina. The Cavaliers head into the game looking for their 12th victory in 13 October games over the last three-plus years.
Indiana, meanwhile, heads into the game looking to complete a perfect non-conference slate and move within two wins of bowl eligibility. While the disappointment of the last two weeks is still there, Lynch thinks he'll get a team that's hungry to return to the winning side of the ledger.
"It will be a good challenge on the road, but our guys are looking forward to getting back at it," Lynch said. "I like the look in our guys, how they went through practice yesterday. They're not hanging their heads.
"They know we have to work to get better. Maybe we didn't make that kind of improvement last week, so we have to do it this week before we go on the road."
Last Two Weeks Not Good Enough For IU, Lynch
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