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Tuesday, June 18
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

Lynch vows to make offense more productive

Unless the Hoosiers throw for a game-winning touchdown or stop a mind-blowing running attack in the closing seconds, IU coach Bill Lynch isn’t going to be the most forthright guy in his post-game press conference.

It’s pretty standard aimless discourse, cute cliches, rhetorical questions and attempts to spin anything that comes across as detrimental to the program.

Obviously, he’s not alone. This methodical dialect is the nature of the coaching business, one that calls for the protection of pertinent information.

Lynch, like many of his colleagues across the country, acts in this manner not to leave the media hanging, but to hide any formations and schemes the opposition shouldn’t experience until gameday.

However, he’s no politician during the off-season. At Monday’s media gathering, Lynch wasn’t all about the meaningless words and non-explanations.

He was blunt, honest and straightforward.

“Last season was ugly – we all know that,” Lynch said. “We’re definitely changing up a lot of things, probably more so than I’ve ever done from year to year.”

Among his new implementations, Lynch said IU must gain respect in its running game. The system, I can assure you, won’t resemble the Anthony Thompson era; however, just bolstering the backfield attack will alleviate a lot of pressure off quarterbacks Kellen Lewis and Ben Chappell.

You’re probably saying to yourself, “wanting something is one thing and actually doing it on the field is another,” but I’m taking Lynch for his word this time.

And you should, too.

The Hoosiers only registered 167 yards per game in 2008, a statistic probably inflated by the long-distance scores of former running back Marcus Thigpin.

The two players who will fill this void are Bryan Payton and Demetrius McCray.

Look for more handoffs this upcoming season as Lynch and offensive coordinator Matt Canada try to establish a downhill running style, something Hoosier nation hasn’t seen since the Bill Mallory years.

As for the guy handing the running backs the ball, it’s a toss-up at this point.

This no-huddle offense will revolve its tactics around multiple quarterbacks.

Some don’t like the two-quarterback system, but Chappell and Lewis do balance each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

Lynch believes Chappell is more dynamic when there’s a featured back, whereas Lewis is more useful in the spread, a formation that gives him the option to tuck and run.

So, will Chappell conduct the offense more than Lewis?

I’m not drawing any conclusions, but there’s a strong possibility Lewis will line up more at wide receiver this year to add another game changer to the 11 men on the field.

Having said that, No. 15 is and will always be a college quarterback whether you think that position suits him best for the next level or not.

If Lewis is out wide, behind Chappell are up-and-coming arm slingers Teddy Schell and Adam Follett.

I’m not a stats freak like Bloomington’s Jeff Saragin, but whoever the quarterback is, he must improve two areas more so than the rest: third downs and red zone touchdowns.

The Hoosiers only moved the chains 28 percent on third downs and were a mere 15-33 in the red zone last season.

If Lynch’s vow to change the offense stands true, I only see those numbers going up.

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