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Monday, May 27
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

Hoosiers’ hunt for help with penalties unnecessary

Whether it’s barks of frustration with the officials or shouts of joy when his opponent’s last-ditch efforts fall short, IU coach Bill Lynch’s voice has taken a beating through two games. 

With two victories in as many games by a combined total of 10 points, he has had plenty on his plate to figure out before Big Ten season starts. 

Heading into his team’s Week 3 matchup with the Akron Zips, he feels confident in the talent of his team. 

However, that doesn’t mean he’s happy with where his players’ heads are.

In the wake of the Hoosiers’ 21-penalty performance in their short season, Lynch opened practices Tuesday and Wednesday to local officials to call penalties as they see them.

Having officials at practice would be beneficial for reducing most penalties, but given the team’s play recently, it’s unnecessary.  

Lynch said he is bringing them in to help him coach his team on the consequences of their actions on the field, but the majority of the problems are correctable with simple focus.

Of their infamous 21 penalties, 13 of them have come before the play starts.
If it weren’t for false starts, offsides or substitution infractions, the Hoosiers’ penalty numbers would be far less woeful.

This search for help also comes in the final few practices before the team hits its first road trip, traveling to face Akron and Michigan on unfamiliar turf. 

While Akron’s new InfoCision Stadium and its maximum capacity of 30,000 may not daunt IU, the venue they’ll enter a week later in Ann Arbor, Mich., is a much more difficult place to leave with a victory.

When the team struggles with pre-snap penalties at a quiet home, it’s worrisome to think how they will perform when more than 100,000 maize-clad crazies are shredding their vocal chords.

To prepare his players for the deafening noise the team is sure to experience, Lynch said he will play loud music while the offense practices to keep the players’ senses keen and avoid jumping too early.

Lynch continues to take all the blame for the team’s recent abundance of mistakes, but by bringing officials to practice, he is showing that he might not be able to figure this problem out by himself. 

He wouldn’t be the first coach to admit that, though.

This past summer, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick invited referees to his team’s training camp, saying he brought them in to look at illegal plays he may have missed previously.

Belichick also used the same crowd noise situation before, only he piped in Bon Jovi music and played it as loud as possible. 

Whether or not the scheme will result in fewer penalties and more victories is yet to be known, but it’s hard to argue the philosophy of a three-time Super Bowl champion. 

Regardless, Saturday’s game will be a fork in the road for the 2009 Hoosiers. They need to correct the mistakes in a calmer environment before they enter what IU coaches and players previously called the “hornets’ nest” in Michigan Stadium.

If they don’t, they’ll only continue to sting themselves.

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