WKU football blog: Indiana troubles


Suspension situation

Even though it appears Indiana quarterback Kellen Lewis has done enough to get out of coach Bill Lynch’s dog house (Lynch named him the starter on Tuesday), there are another set of players who have found their way into it.

Most notable is defensive end Greg Middleton.

Middleton – the nation’s sack leader with 16 a year ago – has been suspended along with three other reserves and won’t in be uniform Saturday when Western Kentucky comes to town.

What exactly does this mean for the Hilltoppers?

Well it’s a bonus. Middleton is undoubtedly among the best pass-rush ends in the country, and while WKU is not exactly a drop-back pass team, Middleton seems athletic enough to make plays regardless of the situation. And even though he’s WKU’s best offensive lineman, Saturday will mark the first start of the year at a new position – not to mention the first start in nearly two years – for WKU left tackle Greg Ryan.

Knowing the kind of player Ryan is, I’m sure he was looking forward to the challenge. But I’m also sure he won’t mind seeing one of the nation’s best on the bench Saturday instead of directly across from him for four quarters.

The circumstances of Middleton’s suspension aren’t known at this time, but you have to tip your hat to Lynch for standing pat on player discipline. Not only did it seem like he had no problem suspending his best offensive player (Lewis) until he righted the ship, it also appears he doesn’t have issue with sitting down his top defensive guy.

And though the length of his suspension is unknown – and this isn’t exactly the Rose Bowl for Indiana – you still are left with no doubt that discipline comes first with a coach like Lynch.

Quick turnaround

Another semi-interesting Indiana issue comes after the announcement Tuesday afternoon of Lewis being named the team’s starter

On a Big Ten conference coaches’ teleconference Tuesday morning (a mere two hours or so before Lynch’s Bloomington news conference), a reporter asked Lynch about whether or not he had made a decision between Lewis or sophomore Ben Chappell.

“We’re getting close, and we’re not in a position to say right now that they’ll both play,” he said. “I’ve done that before, and in all honesty it didn’t work the way I’d hoped. Not that both aren’t very capable and we feel good that we can win with them, but sometimes when you guarantee a guy at that spot that he’ll play in the third series or second quarter or something it disrupts the flow – that’s just personal philosophy. That doesn’t mean we won’t play both, but I don’t know when we’d predetermine when that would be.”

Funny how a few hours changes one’s mind.

Realistically, you have to think that Lynch and company already had their minds mostly made up several days ago. Lewis has been more than upfront with his apologies and remorse for the off-the-field trouble. And on top of that, he accounted for nearly 4,000 yards last season – players like that don’t fall out of the sky.


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