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Thursday, August 6, 2009
Indiana's Lynch upbeat entering camp

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Bill Lynch has spent less than four days in Indiana's end zone facility, but he loves his team's new digs.

He loves his team even more.

Despite a 3-9 season in 2008, a swell of major injuries to key players and the dismissal of record-setting quarterback Kellen Lewis after spring practice, Indiana enters preseason practice Friday with a great deal of confidence. Players have healed both mentally and physically, and team chemistry is much better than it was a year ago.

The results on the field also need to improve, or the swanky new coaches offices in the north end of Memorial Stadium could be vacant by December.

"The 105 [players] we had starting the 1st of June, those same 105 are the ones reporting," said Lynch, who enters his third season as Hoosiers head coach. "Most of the time a walk-on or a returning player or even an incoming freshman, for some reason, doesn't show up. But we should have the same 105. It's huge, and it starts with the amount of experienced upperclassmen we have.

"They understand the expectations, and they've held each other accountable."

Indiana enters camp with 40 players of junior standing or older: 13 fifth-year seniors, seven true seniors, 14 redshirt juniors and four true juniors. The preseason depth chart includes only three sophomores in starting roles -- left guard Justin Pagan, wide receiver Tandon Doss and cornerback Donnell Jones.

Lynch will coach by far his most experienced team, which he expects will pay off in a critical year for the program.

"There's always a sense of urgency when you have older guys because they don't have much left in college football," Lynch said. "When you're talking about a really young team with a bunch of freshmen and sophomores, they don't think it's ever going to end.

"The older you get, you realize, 'This is my last season of college football.' I certainly think that sense of urgency takes over."