Mallory speaks on New Mexico

I just finished my story for tomorrow’s paper on Doug Mallory and Mike Ekeler. Much is discussed, including talk of scheme (likely a 4-3 defense similar to Bo Pelini’s scheme at Nebraska), Mallory’s return home and the coaches’ thoughts on co-coordinating.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the space to mention Mallory’s explanation for what went wrong in New Mexico, which is clearly something that needs to be discussed.

The Lobos went 1-11 this season, and it was thanks in large part to a porous defense. They allowed a Mountain West Conference worst 44.3 points per game and 469.0 yards per outing. The scoring number is the worst in the Football Bowl Subdivision and the yardage number is 119th out of 120 teams.

When asked, Mallory stressed that he didn’t want to make excuses and that the defense should’ve been better than it was, but pointed out that there were extenuating circumstances. The Lobos were on NCAA probation for academic fraud that occurred under former coach Rocky Long’s administration. New Mexico can only use 20 new scholarships per year as opposed to the typical NCAA limit of 25. According to Mallory, the Lobos only had 68 players on scholarship this year due to attrition.

That didn’t help them make the switch from the 3-3-5 scheme they used under Long to Mallory’s traditional 4-3.

We came into a tough situation out there.,” he said. “We changed systems. Coach Long had had some success in his 13 years, but what they ran defensively was a little different. They did a 3-3-5, and we were short on defensive lineman. We didn’t have a whole lot of size up front. We had to recruit to the system and we also lost two real good corners, so we were a little bit limited in the back end. But I think the direction is going in the right way. We were able to recruit well in our two years here. I just think any time you go through a transition some times it’s a little bit slower process. But I feel good about where they’re headed.”

Still, Mallory admitted this year’s numbers weren’t acceptable.

“We didn’t have success on defense like I wanted to,” he said. “But I feel good about the future here.”


  1. “The Lobos went 1-11 this season, and it was thanks in large part to a porous defense.” PaLease. The large part was the inept offense run by new(in 09) HC/OC turned thug/playboy, what a PR mess he is.

    Offensive output for 2010

    16 points a game
    10 rush TD, 11 pass TD w/15 int
    Rush yards 1740 w/444 rush yards lost
    31 Fumbles
    3rd down conv. 33%
    Red Zone opportunities 21
    Reminds me of Junior High.

    With that kind of offensive waste of time I am surprised DM could get enough D bodies to show up and take the field. The defense must of wore out several pairs of shoes in working overtime compared to their counterparts while the HC was harassing or assaulting every critic and female in Albuquerque. What a goon. There lies the 1-11 problem. I doubt DM is any less gentleman than his Father and would not lay blame to anyone other than to himself.

  2. when your team is ranked dead last gives up 44 a game and 469 a game, its a large part of the problem it doesn’t matter how good/bad the offense is.

    Regardless, no one will care what happened at NM, if he gets results at IU.

    Nice article, though I do wonder why he went there from LSU.

  3. What I like is he lays out all the issues he faced, but STRESSED he doesn’t want to make excuses. If you have followed IU football at all then it should make you feel good about a coach who takes responsibility for poor performance.

  4. Dustin. Do they call you Dusty?
    Of course I haven’t read your piece yet and I don’t want to “ditto” anything. I’m glad you touched on this due to the nay sayers that will come out. This is reason for concern but I think when you take a glimpse at the overall picture it’s not that damaging. Actually when you take into consideration that you typically have over 100 players to pull from then injuries, scholy’s, etc he COULD be given a pass, time will tell.

    Having said that, I don’t think Wilson is just banking on Mallory. He does have a huge co-partner in Ekeler. His resume is pretty solid. I assUme you touched on it but to name a few.
    +Nebraska’s D ranks 10th in the nation.
    +Neb pass eff 5th.
    +Neb passing 7th.
    +Neb Scoring 8th.

    +Asst D at LSU:
    Def 3rd Nationally.
    This is just to name a few.
    Add that with Coach Wilson, pretty Solid. Now all we need is some talent.

    I was actually concern at first when the annoucements came out of Coach and the Asst but after I did the research it actually looks pretty impressive. I do know one thing, D is something we didn’t have this year.

  5. Coaches don’t win games…..if you don’t have the players, you are in trouble

    Don’t know if he is a good coach or not, but it does help if you have good players

  6. Cooper,

    It has everything to do with the offense when they do nothing to keep the D off the field. Hell even John Henry got tired driven steel without getting a rest.

  7. Agreed that a coach needs talent to succeed…with a guy coaching in a less successful program, however, you want to see him coach up those lesser talents to respectability (which UNM didn’t show). I think THAT is why some of us (including yours truly) are approaching the Mallory hire with some trepidation.

  8. You can’t make chicken salad out of chicken sh*t. Mallory is a solid hire. It is crazy to question him based on a couple of years at Mew Mexico which has even less of a tradition of success than IU. All he needs to do is recruit betteer players.

  9. I have to wonder if all the people who want to prop up Ekeler so high over Mallory realize they were both at LSU during the same time frame.

    Who was the coordinator they were both coaching under? Bo Pelini.

    Ekeler followed Pelini to Nebraska in 2008 to coach linebackers, Mallroy went on the become the co-coordinator at LSU then on to a coordinators position at New Mexico. Ekeler had good recruits in a winning program to work with, Mallory, not so much. However, Mallory’s resume and pedigree is far better than that of Mike Ekeler at this time.

  10. Mallory has the experience factor for sure.
    Ekeler is the staying with the times/up and comer.
    Seems like a good mix.
    And people, it’s not gonna be that hard to see a difference in how we play defense and offense next year.
    These two gentlemen, and lets not forget Hagen, are a definate upgrade. They are gonna push kids to achieve.

  11. I guess we will find out what type of coaches we have next fall. But in my opinion the mark of a great coach is one who can take a team of average players, get them to play as a team and get 100% from each of those players. A great coach can teach players in a way to use what abilities they have to their advandtage and come away with an exciting team capable of pulling off upsets. Bobby Knight did it in basketball a lot. But it is true to a certain extent that you have to have the players as I have seen some mention in their posts here. For example, one of IU’s problems last season, especially on defense was the lack of speed, speed is something you can’t teach but a great coach will know how to get the players to use what they have as a team in such a way that they will be productive most of the time.

  12. Mallory’s defense sucked here at UNM. His players were undisciplined and were constantly out of position. They also were poor tacklers. Fundamentally, they were bad. Yes, the bad offense forced the defense to play a lot. But his defense was very poor. You don’t become the worst defense in Division 1 because you lose a couple of cornerbacks.

    Just wanted you guys to know what you’re getting. I hope he has better success out there. There is no one out here shedding any tears that he’s leaving.

  13. Not just good 2 corners, 2 NFL drafted corners (4th and 6th round). That type of talent at a school like NM is going to make a huge impact. I also thought that NM lost 5 or 6 other starters. Its possible that the talent at NM was so bad, that it didn’t have the potential to be coached up

    My guess is that NM defensive problems go way beyond Mallory, but he’s a convenient scapegoat for NM.

  14. Just looked at NM recruiting classes the last couple of years. About 2/3rds of the recruits are on the offensive side the of the ball. For a team with a depleted roster, that likely means that Mallory had absolutely nothing to work and potentially had to play walkons or there were a lot of position switches. Playing players that don’t have experience on that side of the ball may be the reason they were out of position and didn’t tackle well. Position switches can succeed, but if your going to make a habit of it, it’ll take more than 2 years to get those guys ready

  15. Rick, you come on here and bag on Mallory but do you have any idea what we just got rid of here at IU? Mallory is an upgrade, trust me! If he was only at NM for 2 years, he barely had the time to make it his own and you blame him, come on. It goes much deeper… You can barely put 15,000 fans in the stands and I thought IU was bad at 30-35,000.

  16. In adding to the comments of Mike P., Coach Wilson clearly is displaying to us what IU will look like. With DM and ME both graduates of the Pelini Bros. school of defense, the IU D is going to start the progression toward being Husker aggressive. That is obviously the D his offensive mind has the most respect for. I am sure nobody doubts his offense will look like anything other than OU. Something else I almost forgot, during his PC he said he had been recruited to OU to establish an offense for a running QB for which an injury rendered dormant. There are headlines ahead for DK and EWB.

    Does anyone one know if any members of the team have left the program since the change?

  17. Oh and Rick we as IU fans are much happier with our gain than Lobo fans are not using handkerchiefs. But keep those hankies handy as you still have Locksley the Thug as a HC.

  18. Yeah…NM ranked 106th and 107th in passing and rushing offense last year. Damn hard to do anything on the defensive side of the ball if your offense can’t hold onto the ball long enough to get to the sidelines. Seems like there is a causation / correlation confusion here for the UNM fans.

  19. Clarion,

    You actually are on the same page as I am on the 2 hires.

    Nebraska has had the best D in the Big 12 the last couple years, both of these guys have had major success under Pelini and run the same basic defensive package.

    Even though I still don’t like the co- designation. Personal preference, I’ll never like it, no matter what team runs it.

  20. Mike P.,

    Agreed. On the business side it may also have been what it took to get them both to Bloomington. ME might not take a lateral and DM would not want to back-up.

  21. Clarion,

    I actually contemplated that to get both guys that Wilson had to go with the co-coordinator designation. Still doesn’t mean I like it, but at least I understand it. 🙂

  22. The fact that DD felt the need to address Mallory’s record at NM tells us that Mallory’s recent past is an issue. It’s good that he’s getting out in front of it with these stories.

    No matter how much you support Doug Mallory, Wilson is taking a risk bringing in the defensive coordinator who coached the worst defense in the country. If IU’s defensive performance does not improve quickly, Mallory will be an easy target and the means by which critics will attack Wilson. I’m sure Wilson understood that before making the hire, so his decision to hire Mallory, regardless of the NM record, sais that he has confidence in the man’s abilities.

    Few if any of us are qualified to judge Mallory’s qualifications as a coach. But as a perception issue, and knowing how bad IU’s defense has been the last few years, Wilson took a risk hiring Mallory. Mallory’s got to know that and should now be extremely grateful that Wilson rescued him from coaching hell(NM). Hopefully that will prove to be a source of renewed energy and passion for Mallory.

    But the real issue to me is recruiting. Can these two guys recruit superior athletes to play defense? I don’t care how good a field coach you are, if you can’t get a lot of big, fast, strong athletes to join your team, you’re not going to win Big Ten games. Significantly improved recruiting of defensive talent will be the key to IU’s football future (we seem to do O.K. for offensive talent). Mallory and Ekeler are going to find out very soon that recruiting for IU is a lot more difficult than recruiting for Nebraska and LSU. They can begin showing their recruiting prowess by convincing the two or three defectors to renew their committment to IU or replace them with better recruits.

  23. podunk, when you say DD are you speaking of Dan Dak? I would not put any weight into his comments on football at all. I agree with what you say as far as being an easy target. I will trust Wilson for now.

    I was talking to my dad about recruiting and I agree they will find out it is much harder to recruit to IU but I have a funny feeling that this is the first coaching staff IU has had..ever..that will go after many more 4 and 5 star athletes. I truly believe that Wilson and his staff will go all out and try to prove that IU can win big on the field. Not saying other coaches have not done this, but I get a different feeling now and the pay will justify it all, finally! In a nutshell I think there will be a totally different mentality when recruiting. Hope I am right!

  24. He is referring to Dustin, not Dak, and I’m sure the paragraphs wrote about his record at UNM by podunker helped prompt those questions, especially since podunker basically called them to task on it in an earlier post.

  25. Mike, what cracks me up about all of this is the fact that he was there for 2 seasons. good LORD!! He put in a new D in a place with a terrible offense that was getting 11,000 fans for some games in 2008 and 9. Give the Mallory record a rest, 2 years guys!

  26. J Pat,

    Here is something else that is telling as well, the new Defensive Coordinator for UNM was the Assistant Head Coach and Corners coach last year. Among being named the coordinator he immediately announced that they are changing the defensive scheme. Makes you wonder if he was on the same page with Mallory?

  27. I am a Hoosier fan living near baton Rouge, LA. LSU fired Mallory and Dale Peveto as their co-DCs in 2008 because they were not getting the job done. They had a decent defense, but for LSU standards it was not good enough. I hope Mallory and Ekeler fair better. Ekeler seems to be a young, talented and aggressive coach and a very good recruiter. I think he may prove to be the better DC of the two.

  28. J Pat, et al:

    I merely raised a question about the final LSU season and the two UNM seasons as part IU attempt to learn more about Coach Mallory. Because I didn’t know much about what he’s done after IU, I asked questions. Just as it is proper to give kudos for the positive parts of his resume, it is equally a-prop–pos to at least inquire as to the not so flattering portions. I cannot speak for the motives of any other poster, but that was MY motivation. I certainly did not intend to solely ruffle feathers. As a little additional motivation, I also asked my questions because of some posts I’ve seen here and on in which the authors went the Kool-Aid route and hyped it as “as long as it is a Mallory, that’s good enough for me.” I guess my analytical and somewhat cynical (after years of being an IU football fan LOL) immediately wants to question ANY sort of statement or belief like that.

    Anyway, you all see my posts on here and know that I’ve got respect for my fellow readers, and I definitely care about IU football (season ticket holder)–that’s why I ask questions and throw out my two cents! 🙂

  29. Speedway, I was not directing what I said to you and if it seemed that way, I apologize. I am drinking the Mallory Kool aid I am afraid to say, I am one of those guys. Quite simply because I knew his dad and I know what his dad did for IU football and I love how dad has always stayed humble and helped IU behind the scenes. I still say Doug he was a scapegoat at LSU and landed at NM and had 2 years, only 2 years. You know what bugs me…even if Doug had done well at NM…people would still question the IU bloodline hire but oh well. At least this was handled well unlike the messy Yeagley situation.

    Heck, I wanted a head coach that turned around a dead program at a smaller known school and I settled for Wilson so I hear ya. I am ok with the Ek and Mallory hires and I am one that thinks the co-def coordinator COULD work. I think if it does not work that Wilson is smart enough to make a change and put one in charge.

  30. Fair enough, J Pat–its all good. As an aside, I attended IU during the Mallory years, so I’ve got fond memories as well!

  31. Speedway,

    Here is something for you. LSU Defensive stats.

    2007 Total Defense

    Yds Avg TDs Ydspgm
    4043 4.42 35 288.79
    19.9 ppg; Turnovers – 36

    2008 Total Defense

    Yds Avg TDs Ydspgm
    4232 5.00 39 325.54
    24.15 ppg; Turnovers – 19

    The differences that matter? In 2008 they gave up .58 yards per play more, 36.75 more yards per game. 4.25 ppg. Other than turnovers, not a huge difference.

    2008 Offense

    Yds Avg TDs Ydspgm Wins Losses
    4785 5.40 50 368.08 8 5
    Fumbles Lost – 2; Interceptions Thrown – 18
    3rd Down percentage – 38.25%
    Time Of Possession – 30:13

    2007 Offense

    Yds Avg TDs Ydspgm Wins Losses
    6152 5.84 66 439.43 12 2
    Fumbles Lost – 3; Interceptions Thrown – 23
    3rd Down percentage – 46.6%
    Time Of Possession – 32:15

    In 2007, LSU scored 541 points compared to 314 in 2008.

    Looks like the offense had it’s own issues as well, and the missing 227 points most likely lead to the 8-5 record in 2008 compared to the 12-2 record in 2007.

  32. J Pat, I was referring to Dustin D.

    Speedway; I liked your post, it represents my approach as well. Just asking questions, challenging the Kool-aid drinkers, simply because I am passionate to see IU football improve soon. But you need not explain your posts to anyone. I don’t think you’ve ever crossed the line on this board.

    GeauxHoosier; thanks for the local insight. I had deduced that Miles fired both of his co-coordinators because LSU finished 7-5 that year. Whether that was justified due to sub-par performance, they were victems of the co-coordinator structure, or whether Miles scapegoated those guys to cover his butt, we’ll never know. My original point was that getting fired by LSU (after having been with Miles for years) and going from college-football-heaven (LSU) to hell(NM), and coaching the worst defense in the country for two years, did not inspire confidence that Doug Mallory was the best candidate for that important job.

    I think to an objective observer, the Mallory hire raises questions, especially because of his transition from LSU to NM and his record at NM. Two years of bad defense got Lynch and his staff fired!

    I respected Mallory senior a great deal. I really liked his coaching at IU. I thought it was a huge mistake, in so many ways, to fire Mallory, especially the way they fired him (glad those moron administrators are gone). I have never heard anything bad about the man. But to say, as some on this board have, that they like his son for the job because he’s a Mallory is simply nostalgic nonsense, especially when so much is at stake! I have nothing against Doug Mallory. I hope he is very successful and coaches at IU for a long time. But his hire raised questions and I don’t think it’s wrong to explore those questions.

    If Wilson hickups on the defense, his record will be no better than Lynch’s record, but IU will be spending a lot more money to lose Big Ten football games. As Wilson said about the defensive coaches during (or just after) his first press conference, “I’ve got to get this right.” I really hope he did.

  33. By the way, if LSU had those points per game in 2008 that was missed from 2007, they would have been 9-3 or 10-2 in 2008.

    However, if the defense in 2008 only gave up the same points per game as they did in 2007, they would have been 8-4.

    This is based only on final score, I know there are 10,000 other variables that points per game could change and alter the outcome of the game.

  34. Mike,

    I too thought the 227 point shortage is something no defense can manufacture. There had to be something else going on.

  35. Podunker, Lynch had awful defense for longer than 2 years, heck IU has had bad D since I can remember. Bad D kept Antwaan from going to a bowl his senior year. I truly don’t think the Mallory hire raises questions and if you have read me for the last 2 years…Ii want to win as bad as anyone. Most of the time you are spot on but I disagree with this one. He had 2 bad years at NM…so be it. Give him the benefit of the doubt until he screws it up, give him a chance. Yes, I am still drinking this particular cup as I type and I am proud of it! I am trusting in Wilson right now, have NO reason not to.

    Mike P, way to lay it out!

  36. I am trying to look at it this way fellas. Ekeler is gonna be the modern, innovative, recriuter. He might have final call on play calls, we don’t know. Mallory is going to come in and be the fundamentals keep the guy in front of you and make the G!@#$%n tackel coach. If IU had that these last few years they would have won a couple more games. That’s what I really liked about Bill Mallory, plus his teams didn’t beat themselves and they didn’t back down. Wow, I can remember when we were considered a good defensive team.
    Anyway, we all drink the Kool-Aid, bitch, agree or disagree sometimes. There are always good opinions on here, and good points. Keep it up everyone. Can’t wait for the Offensive coaches to be announced. That should be interesting.

  37. There are many cases of good coaches not performing well in one situation, but they do an excellent job in another. Coach Everett Withers, UNC Defensive Coordinator, coached a Minnesota Gophers team that was dead last in the country. He came home to Carolinia and in two years he improved the Tarheel defense from No. 66 in 2008 to No. 6 in 2009.
    Under the Lynch regime, Indiana defenses ran at least two defensive plays in which players
    missed assignments, or were out of position. The new defensive coaches could drastically
    improve Indiana’s defense if they could prevent those bad defensive plays from happening.
    I’m looking for great things from the football team. Let’s be positive — we have some very good coaches now!

  38. Still a huge fan of the Wilson hire and I will give him the benefit of the doubt for several years to come. IU’s defense has no place to go but up, and I do agree that Mallory and Ekeler will improve defensive fundementals. I like everything I’ve heard/read about Ekeler.

    I think it will boil down to recruiting for the defense. Personally, while I know you can’t live on JC transfers forever, I hope Wilson and staff bring in four or five solid JC transfers for the defense. IU has immediate needs to adress on defense.

    If Wilson can produce a 6 – 6 record or better in the 2011 season (not that I expect that in his first year, but we can dream), he’ll gather momentum fast, get the fan base excited and enhance recruiting immediately.

    I read today that USC just signed six JC transfers who will participate in their spring practices. And those JC guys don’t count against their scholarships for 2011. They go into the 2010 total. Shrewd move by USC given their recruiting restrictions. Hopefully Ekeler and Mallory are doing the same thing right now.

  39. podunker, if he takes this team to 6 wins and makes a bowl his first year…I will travel for sure. If he wins 7 or 8…wow icing on the cake and I will know IU made the right decision on hiring him!

    It has not been talked about on here but after listening to Wilson talk about running out of 2 back sets….what do you bet Willis, if he can stay healthy, goes for 1,000 yards this season?

  40. IU has some talent. Wilson will have three years with Kiel and EWB but, we could lose two recievers or more. Hopefully Wilson can keep them. I think Duwyce Wilson is gonna step up and be a playmaker. Will Banks and Turner improve ? they were descent at times. Will D. Roberts be able to contribute? O-line will be an important area again.(depth, injuries) Thats why I am just as curious about the offensive coaches. The D can’t really do much but improve. The offense could use some polishing. They dropped the ball(pun) when the defense showed up. That also cost us a win or two.

  41. J Pat; with emphasis on “if Willis can stay healthy.” He seems incredibly prone to injury. No question about his talent, though!

    I would think another year of college, especially under the coaching of Wilson, would enhance IU’s top receivers’ draft status in the 2012 draft. They may need to jump now for financial reasons, but hopefully they will remember the case of IU’s last good receiver that left early for the NFL. I think Hardy was one and done and now, he can’t get back in the league. What a waste of a 6’7″ receiver. I don’t think either of these Juniors will be first round picks in the 2011 draft, so it’s a risk to go early and not be drafted in the first two rounds.

    But if IU plays even average defense next year, they could win two Big Ten games and go to a minor bowl. If they do, I’ll be there. Anything more than that would be miraculous.

  42. Podunker,

    Hardy had one more year left when he jumped.

    Also, it is impossible for any player to be one and done (going to the NFL) in NCAA football. The NFL doesn’t accept players until they are 3 years removed from high school.

  43. MikeP, I was referring to Hardy being in the NFL for one year and now he seems to be done. Not sure how long he got paid, but I don’t think he played after his rookie year. I just think Hardy could have benefited from another year of college. And my point is, I hope any of IU’s receivers that are eligible for the NFL draft consider Hardy’s experience before leaving early. They will not go in the first round and therefore wiull not get enough money to be secure. I could understand them jumping early if Lynch was still coach, but I think a year of coaching from Wilson will enhance their value in the draft!

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