CHICAGO – The level of recruits is improving for Indiana football.
The program has made upgrades off the field, first with the north end zone developmental center last year and with a scoreboard that will rank among the largest in the country for this season.
Athletic director Fred Glass anticipates eventual changes to the final score of games, and Bill Lynch leading the way as the coach.
I really feel like Bill and his staff are going absolutely in the right direction and my sincere expectation is that he’ll be the coach here for a long, long time, Glass said at Big Ten football media day Monday at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place.
We haven’t tried continuity too much at Indiana University football either because of horrific circumstances beyond our control or decisions that have been made. I think we’re going to start to see the benefits of that because of the cycle that Bill’s been through, the opportunity to redshirt (and) have kids that came for him.
Lynch, who took over as coach before the 2007 season after former coach Terry Hoeppner died, is entering the third year of a four-year contract he signed after the 2007 season. The Hoosiers are coming off a 4-8 season, but three of the losses were decided by less than seven points.
Lynch said the team was about 12 plays away from having an outstanding season and playing in a pretty good bowl game.
We are coming off a season that we felt we made great strides, said Lynch, who is 14-23 in three seasons. We certainly didn’t in the win-loss record, but we learned how to compete, particularly on the road.
The Hoosiers went 1-5 in road games, but suffered crushing late losses at Michigan (36-33) and Northwestern (29-28).
We’re getting better, we’ve shown we’ve gotten better, Lynch said. I think when people have come on campus, they’ve sensed what we have going.
Glass praised Lynch’s recruiting philosophy (14 of the 21 oral commitments for 2011 are at least a three-star recruit according to Rivals.com) and the strategy of redshirting a majority of the freshmen. The Hoosiers have played six true freshmen in the last three years. As for evaluating progress, Glass said he’s adverse to setting litmus tests or timetables.
We’ll look at everything; recruiting, retention, progress. We’ll look at wins and losses. I’m not a goof, I know that wins and losses matter. They matter a lot to me, they matter a lot to Bill Lynch, but I’m not going to defer to a numerical statistic, Glass said. We’ll see it and then make our judgment based on that.
With the facility upgrades eventually comes higher expectations. It’s a challenge Glass gladly accepts.
I hope that the north end zone project, strength and conditioning center, the academic center, the south end zone scoreboard, the new activity in the stands, the student involvement, I hope that raises expectations because we are in a conference in which you have to have confidence in yourself and be ready to be a giant-slayer, Glass said.