Taking the week off

Bye week buys Hoosiers time to prepare

POSTED AT 12:32 AM ON Sep. 8, 2008 


Two weeks into the season and the Hoosiers already get a break.

After running roughshod over its first two opponents, IU gets to rest up an extra week for Ball State with a bye week. Though the Hoosiers could make excuses about the week being too early, IU coach Bill Lynch tried to turn it into a positive.

“It comes at a great time,” Lynch said. “I’ve always felt that way – whatever your schedule is, you play that to your advantage. ... As a coach, you always want more practice time.”

A bye week allows the Hoosiers to get more practice and preparation work in for the Cardinals, a team that forces Lynch and his players to stay humble. Led by quarterback Nate Davis – one of the premier quarterbacks in college football – the bye week could not come at a more appropriate time.

The effort and result in this upcoming game, the Hoosiers said, will set the tone for the rest of the year.

“We’re going to use this week as much as we can to prepare for Ball State,” said junior quarterback Kellen Lewis. “You can never look past an opponent.”

Trouncing Murray State 45-3 on Saturday, the Hoosiers were able to substitute some of their backups and see how well they can contribute in game situations. Jumping out to a big lead early also allowed Lynch to utilize certain players in different situations.
This new experience for certain players will play into how the Hoosiers prepare for BSU, as they hope to give the Cardinals some different looks.

At the same time, Lynch admitted the Hoosiers have a lot of areas they need to work on throughout the next two weeks, citing only converting 4-of-13 third-down conversions and allowing some miscues in the kick return game as issues.

“Those kind of things are really going to hurt us in games down the road,” Lynch said. “We know what’s ahead of us. Certainly, those couple things jump out at me.”

Credit most of the dominance to the IU defense, has hardly budged in the Hoosiers’ first two games. Though the Hoosiers are just two weeks into the season, they are sixth in the NCAA in rushing defense, allowing 1.57 yards per carry.

But all that could change when Davis leads his Cardinals into Memorial Stadium on Sept. 20. Ball State averaged 487 yards of total offense through its first two games, and Davis, much like Lewis, possesses the threat as a dual quarterback, being able to make plays on the run as well as throwing.

When IU sees Ball State, will get a better assessment of where they are as a team.

The Hoosiers did take care of business against Western Kentucky and Murray State, but the players were asked on several occasions if this is the IU team that will show up the rest of the season.

“These two games are just summing up everything, and we’re just trying to get the confidence down so we can roll into the Big Ten games,” said junior safety Nick Polk. “As long as we’re flying around and keep the confidence high, I think we’ll do well.”

The Hoosiers will get some help in the form of junior wide receiver Ray Fisher. The junior wide receiver sat out on Saturday with a sore shoulder – an injury that has limited him in practice throughout the week. Lynch admitted if Saturday was a conference game, there was a good chance Fisher would have played, alluding that he should be ready for IU’s next game.


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