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Monday, Feb. 26
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

Lynch brings referees to practice, emphasizes discipline

IU football vs WMU

The referees called penalties and the crowd noise distracted the players.

But this was just a mid-week practice for the IU football team.

IU coach Bill Lynch brought in referees and piped crowd noise inside Mellencamp Pavilion during practice this week to prepare his team for its first road game at Akron this Saturday.

Lynch stressed reducing penalties following IU’s game against Western Michigan. In that game alone, the Hoosiers committed 13 penalties, totaling 106 yards, as they squeaked by for a 23-19 win.

Especially disconcerting were the seven pre-snap penalties Lynch said must be eliminated.

To highlight his concern, Lynch brought a referee crew to Tuesday and Wednesday’s practices to call penalties during the team’s scrimmages.

“I think if you are going to emphasize something, you have to do everything you can to emphasize the point,” Lynch said.

IU wide receivers coach Billy Lynch, son of IU coach Bill Lynch, said the officials add an extra layer to practice.

“Not that you can’t do it without officials out here,” he said, “but it certainly brings another element of focus to it.”

Through its first two games, the team has committed 21 penalties for 149 yards.
IU has tripled the total from its first two games of the 2008 season, when the team committed just seven penalties for 63 yards.

With 10 games remaining, the Hoosiers are on pace to commit 126 penalties, 43 more than the 1986 team that set the dubious school record of 86 in one season.

With a 3-9 record, IU finished its 2008 season with 64 penalties for 591 yards.

While the referees observed practice in a relaxed manner, there was nothing casual about the team’s scrimmages.

“They called a couple things on us,” junior quarterback Ben Chappell said. “It’s something we have to focus on and get better at. We can’t have those penalties.”

Chappell mentioned that most of the referees’ calls at Tuesday’s practice were post-snap penalties.

While post-snap penalties were an issue in the Western Michigan game – especially in a key fourth-quarter drive in which the defense committed three personal fouls – Bill Lynch classified some of those as “effort” penalties.

“As long as the players are using good fundamental techniques on the effort penalties after the ball is snapped, then it’s hard to get upset about that,” Bill Lynch said.

The coaching staff had the offense practice inside Mellencamp Pavillion, while blaring crowd noise and music simulated the atmosphere of a road game.

After two home games to start the season, IU will travel to Akron this week and Michigan next week.

“It’s something we have to get used to,” Chappell said. “That’s what it’s going to be like down the road for us, if not this week. We have to be ready for it.”

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