Chappell earns Big Ten honor for unbeaten Hoosiers
Bill Lynch looks at Indiana’s unbeaten record and understands
it’s been far from perfect.
The Hoosiers, he insists, still need to be more efficient in
third-down situations on both offense and defense. He wants them to
score more touchdowns in the red zone and close out games better
than they did at Western Kentucky.
”We must continue to get better,” Lynch said Monday. ”We have
to continue to run the football better. I think that is something
that is vital and there are times in games when you have to run the
ball when they know you are going to run the ball, and that’s when
you have to be good at it.”
So far, so good.
Indiana has averaged 4.5 yards per carry, a significant
improvement over last season’s average of 3.8 yards. And after
posting a 39 percent third-down conversion rate in 2009, the
Hoosiers have bumped that average up to 54.5 percent.
Quarterback Ben Chappell has been brilliant, too, completing
nearly 74 percent of his passes, averaging 274.0 yards per game
with five TDs and no interceptions and is coming off the best game
of his career. On Saturday, Chappell was 32-of-42 for 366 yards
with three TD passes and one rushing TD. He had career highs for
completions and yardage and tied the school record with his fourth
career 300-yard game.
On Monday, Chappell was rewarded with his second career Big Ten
offensive player of the week award.
”It’s a great honor,” he said. ”We’re going week-by-week, so
I guess that means I had a good week and I will try to do it again
But Lynch also realizes statistics can be deceiving, especially
this early in the season.
Indiana has racked up big numbers against Towson, a Football
Championship Subdivision school, and Western Kentucky, which
extended the nation’s longest losing streak to 23 games with
And things are about to get a whole lot tougher.
Up next for Indiana is Mid-American Conference foe Akron, and
then the Hoosiers host No. 21 Michigan, and Heisman Trophy
candidate Denard Robinson, before visiting No. 2 Ohio State, and
Heisman candidate Terrelle Pryor, in back-to-back weeks.
That gives the Hoosiers basically one chance to fix Lynch’s
lingering concerns before opening Big Ten play.
”There are a lot of areas for improvement and our guys
understand that in the way they go about their work,” Lynch said.
”I’m confident we’ll have that kind of week as we get ready.”
The good news is that, despite Lynch’s concerns, Indiana is off
to a seventh straight 2-0 start – just what they need if they
intend to get their second bowl bid in four years.
But what does Lynch really need to see?
More consistency, more conversions and the mentality it takes to
close out drives and games with perfect precision.
”I like what we’re doing (running), but we’re not looking to
put in new plays or new formations, we just have to execute
better,” Lynch said. ”We’re close. When you break down the tape,
and that’s one of the advantage we have with all the technology now
and the end zone look, we see how close we really are. But close
doesn’t get it done. And close gets you a 1-yard gain when you
should get a 6-yard gain. So that’s where we have to continue to
improve and we’ll get there.”