Mallory “Disappointed” in defensive performance against Navy

Doug Mallory didn’t need to hear anything about the first question he was asked at Kevin Wilson’s press conference Monday other than the word “Navy” before he began falling on his sword.

“I’m disappointed,” Mallory said. “Real disappointed. You’re not going to win many football games if you let a team line up and run for over 400 yards. You never force a team to punt, you create zero turnovers. If you do that, you’re not going to have very many opportunities, regardless of how good your offense is and how well you play on special teams. You’re not going to have a chance to win very many games if you perform like that.”

The Hoosiers of course, lost 41-35 doing that on Saturday against the Midshipmen, surrendering 444 yards of rushing offense and 512 yards of total offense in the loss. It was obviously more disappointing for Mallory, because he and the rest of the defensive staff and his players started working against the triple option all the way back in the spring of 2012 to prepare for their two games with the Midshipmen. Their second performance against it was considerably worse than the first, as the Midshipmen had 257 yards on the ground last season and almost matched that by halftime.

So on tape, there was a lot that Mallory saw that bothered him.

“A lot of those plays we’ve worked and we’ve worked for the last two years,” he said. “We went in there trying to play it kind of based out of a quarters concept, a 4-3 scheme, and how we played it a year ago, added a few wrinkles in. Just a lot of those plays we’ve worked against for the last two years. … We didn’t execute the way we needed to execute. Other times we had guys on the ground and I think from a coaching standpoint did a bad job making the adjustments when they needed to be made. We got a little bit stubborn. We tried to continue to play it the way that we’d worked and we’d practiced throughout camp. We weren’t getting it done, so we had to go to Plan B on how we were going to try to adjust it. There was one particular play Plan B didn’t work so we had to go to Plan C. That started to help us a little bit more.”

The Hoosiers worked on dealing with cut blocks. They had an actual station in practice that was simply about the fundamentals of keeping a man attempting a cut block from getting into their legs, and it bothered Mallory significantly that it didn’t seem to make a difference.

“When you’re going to play that kind of offense, you’re going to spend a lot of time (on cut blocks),” Mallory said. “Just how realistic it is (to be able to stop it) I don’t know. I think the thing when you play an offense like that, it takes about a quarter just to get caught up to the speed of the game, just how fast that option is, how fast those guys can get into your legs and get you chopped, the tempo of the offensive line coming off. One of the things I was really disappointed in, I felt we were on the ground a lot more than we were a year ago when we played them. Credit to Navy, I thought they did a pretty good job particularly for their first game, they did a pretty good job of coming in and executing. We didn’t do anything to slow them down. You can’t play defense if you’re on the ground. We’ve gotta do a better job of getting to the ball. We’ve gotta do a better job staying on our feet, and we’ve certainly gotta do a better job of tackling.”

Mallory was asked specifically what adjustments he would’ve made if he had the game to coach over again.

“I think there’s a couple of schemes,” Mallory said. “The first drive, they came out in an unbalanced formation. They bring a tackle over and they put a wide receiver at the offensive tackle position of the field. They ran that formation twice a year ago. We repped that formation, but everything they’d done is they’d shown the run game was going over to the unbalanced side. We overloaded the coverage a little bit to that side, overadjusted to that side. And they came back and ran the triple option back to where that receiver’s playing a tackle. They got us, and the first play of the game, we were misaligned, and then we missed a tackle from the safety position, but they kind of worked us a little in that formation until we were able to make the adjustments on that first drive. They got us there, and I would’ve had a different plan against that formation. Some of the ways that we were playing the triple, whether it was bringing pressure or just pre-determining who had who and not necessarily trying to read the scheme are some of the adjustments I probably would’ve made.”

IU coach Kevin Wilson was somewhat defensive of the defense, and especially the defensive staff. He said he didn’t think the team came out with as much fire early, but said he thought the defense got better as the game wore on, pointing out a few occasions when the Hoosiers got Navy in third-and-long and the 3rd-and-7 when Keenan Reynolds threw incomplete, but IU defensive back Michael Hunter was called for pass interference.

He was asked specifically what he thought he was getting out of the defensive staff.

“I think a lot,” Wilson said. “We’re better. We’ve got five guys over there and those guys know what they’re doing. Sometimes you make a play or you don’t. You can always change. The reason I think we can positively coach our guys pretty hard is we’re hard on ourselves. … I heard our coaches last night, all of us, right after the game. We have to coach better. Our kids are working hard, our kids are playing hard. We gotta continue to learn and put them in better spots. That option deal, at the same time, they made enough plays and they had a chance. They’re reviewing plays, and we’re saying we didn’t play that well. It’s a tough opponent. A couple of years ago (at Oklahoma) we’re a BCS team and we’re hanging on to beat Air Force 24-21. And we’re hanging on for dear life and the head coach (Bob Stoops) says, ‘Never play a team like this again. ‘ It’s difficult, it’s a difficult challenge. and it’s difficult for your team, and I think as a team, I’m disappointed in the way we started, but the way we responded on all sides of the ball gave us a chance.”



  1. Mallory said, “Real Disappointed.” That’s the understatement of the year.

    “We’re better” “We’ve got five guys over there and those guys know what they’re doing.” Talk is cheep, coach. Let’s not forget you played Navy a year ago and got beat by one point. If I recall, they did not set any records for rushing yards, etc. during that game. Make them prove that they’re better and that they know what they’re doing. Cause it certainly did not look like it Saturday night and the defensive stats say otherwise. And beating ISU does not count for anything. I don’t care how awkward Navy’s triple option is to play, your defense played terrible.

    You’d be better off coming out and saying that and assuring Hoosier fans that the problem is going to get fixed, one way or the other. You can’t solve a problem until you admit you have one.

    If your defensive players get the message, Bowling Green should be carting players off the field about every other play come this Saturday.

  2. It’s Navy offense last week….It’s Bowling Green’s offense and or defense next week….how great these well coached teams are….

    Have you ever noticed that in the past IU has really good offensive output. However, if you analyze, it is inflated by inferior teams on schedule because all of a sudden they run into a team and flop or score some after the game is already lost….Having said that I think the offense is better….and defense has potential to get better….IU tradition continues.

  3. Sorry t, IU had really good offensive output against a lot of Big Ten teams last year (i.e., Ohio State). Every team’s stats are embellished by playing weaker non-conference opponents. But in IU’s case, they do have a really good offense. Problem is, they have to have a “perfect” offense in order to win games.

  4. I’ve been refraining from commenting on this, as I was all sorts of fed up after Saturday’s performance. The last thing I wanted to feel was “more of the same” after that game happened. If they lost 20 – 14, I would have felt so much better. Alas, with all the focus on defense in the offseason, we still have the same turd wrapped in a different package. “Questions” around the defense should be answered in the negative until IU can manage to string a couple of games together where the other team attempts to punt at least once.

    My disappointment was not just with the players, but with the fact that they didn’t make ANY adjustments to deal with what was a ferocious Navy attack. Just watching them line-up in that 4-3 and seeing the holes open like cracks in the Johnstown Dam was about as frustrating as it gets for even this IU fan. Anything would have been better than watching the same thing over and over again, with the same results.

    I don’t have any predictions on the rest of the year and just hope to God that this was an aberration, but I’ve seen this script before. I keep reminding myself that this was only the 2nd game and there is a lot of football left. Personally, I’ve never been a fan of Mal Jr. If it wasn’t for his old man, he likely would be in the unemployment line. But I’m redemption kind of guy, so hopefully he can learn from this and get these guys ready for next week.

  5. Ohio State was always in control of game, however got a little careless…I have seen IU offense bog down many times year after year when competition stiffens…but I do agree offense looks pretty good.

  6. Keenan Reynolds did make that major jump in improvement always talked about between a players Freshman and Sophomore seasons. He was damned impressive.

    I’ll say this in defense of the staff. Being it was Navy’s 1st game there was no 2013 game tape to view. Making it uncertain what was going to unfold. The threat of Reynolds arm does look like it did get emphasis in preparation for the Navy attack.

  7. Nate Sudfeld seems to have made that jump in improvement from frosh to soph as well. I think that an overlooked factor here is Fred Glass. IU(Glass) has invested alot into coaches, players and facilities. I get the impression that he is looking for a return on the investment now, not later.

  8. So the answer in not to play teams like Navy or the Air Forces of the world because they are tough opponents? Mallory needs to go. He really should have been let go after last year. We’re not talking about one bad game here or one bad game there. It’s been this way since Mallory’s entire tenure. The defense has gotten worse. We need to get rid of this co-defensive coordinator scheme and get one proven guy in there to call the shots and take responsibility when the defense is miserable. We’ve spent all this money getting better assistants and strength coaches to come here so go get a proven d-coordinator. When Wilson first started I appreciated his bluntness and candor. He cut right to the chase. He was not afraid to be critical of poor play. Where is that guy now? I’m all about being positive but there was nothing positive to take from that defensive performance. It was beyond embarassing. No adjustments were made. The Longhorns fired their defensive coordinator when they got embarassed by BYU. IU should do the same.

  9. it’s called tackling, learn it!!! i think i counted 172.5 missed tackles in the Navy game!

  10. actually IU’S football non conference schedule is the second ranked set of teams in the Big Ten behind only Purdue. So Enough about our week schedule because for at least in the Big Ten it is one of the hardest but we still should be beating them like a drum. Those rankings come straight from a current ESPN article believe it or not so let’s get over that crap. All our big ten brothers are beating up on cup cakes but us which says our schudule is not the problem it is our sorry defense.
    We should only be recruiting defensive players until we get better. Mallory needs to buck up to Wilson who is an offensive Coach and recruit defensive players until it we get it better because all Wilson wants to do is out score his opponents not beat them with defense. If he can not get through to Wilson lthem we need some one who can.

  11. There are a lot of people who need to removed from IU football, but I can’t find a single one on the roster or coaches list, or who are employed within the program……

  12. Go away, troll. If you think IU fans are bad, just listen to any sports radio show in SEC country after one of their SEC teams loses a game. IU fans are like church mice compared to those folks.

  13. This is the 2nd game of year 3 of a 7 year contract, the bitching and calling for people being fired now, well, I’ll just bite my tongue.

    If you look at the defensive statistics right now, 5 of the top 10 performers are under classmen, 2 of the top 3 are true freshman. That should tell you the task that is in front of this staff.

    What this program needs on defense are better players, and guess what, they won’t come if you fire the defensive coaches after 2 seasons and 2 games. SMH

  14. southport65,

    I keep up very well with IU FB recruiting. You need to reexamine the recruiting classes of 2012 and 2013. 2012 had 26 commits, 14-D, 12-O. 2013 had 23 commits, 15-D, 8-O. As for 2014(not yet completed)there presently is 10 commits, 5-D, 5-O. Also Coach Wilson has more assistant coaches on the D side than the offensive side. So he in reality has put a double emphasis on the defensive side of the ball because he knew of our perennial problem at IU when he got here. Enough good talent has been the problem. Certainly the 12 and 13 classes will be good in the long term and to a lesser extent in the short term. Mallory is getting a good share but more and better talent is the goal.

  15. Fans are Laughable; Did you ever consider that IU’s defensive coaches may be the reason why more good defensive players do not commit to play for IU? Did you ever consider why several talented defensive position coaches have left the program in the last year or two? IU’s defensive coaches have not been real stable under Mallory’s leadership. He’s had significant turnover, and that’s certainly not good for recruiting or developing talent. You can see the glass as half empty or as half full? While I appreciate your optimism and patience, your comment implies that their is no opportunity for IU to upgrade the defensive coordinator. Furthermore, your comment ignores the evidence presented on the field. IU’s defense was rally, really bad on Saturday. They weren’t very good the previous week, either. Two games into the season, it appears IU’s defense is very weak again this year.

    One of the primary responsibilities, or call it an obligation, of any leader, in any competitive organization, is to evaluate his subordinates and constantly try to upgrade or improve the quality of talent within the organization. If there is an opportunity to improve the performance of the organization, the leader is obligated to make a change. The people paying the leader have a right to expect that from the person they put in charge. If I were Wilson, if I did not see significant improvement in IU’s defense before the end of the season, I’d feel obligated to make a change and try to upgrade the defensive coordinator.

    So, if you disagree with that, then tell us, at what point do you decide Mallory needs to be replaced? Come on, go on the record and tell us when that change does become necessary. How long do you give a man before you conclude he’s not getting the job done? Or maybe you think Mallory is entitled to his job until he decides to quit or retire?

  16. Fans Are Laughable is a troll. Its either “Taffy”, Husky Tom, Aruss, or 4Guards. Pick your poison.

  17. Po,

    The coaches who left went to larger programs, generally a step up in position and pay.

    As far as the recruits, the level of recruit in 2012 and 2013 under this staff has increased compared to the Lynch era per the recruiting services. Maybe that is why this team is playing more of and getting more production from underclassmen as compared to those from the Lynch era?

    And yes, I did consider the coaching might be an issue, but 2 years and 2 games working with what Lynch left, losing their 2 best defensive lineman and replacing them with underclassmen tells me that the defense is still in a building phase that will take recruiting and time. Next year the first class will be upperclassmen, that is where evaluation of the staff should begin, 2015, year 5, will be the tell all season of what this staff can do.

    That said, I am sure you don’t want to wait that long, you want to do what we have done for the last 20 years and change coaches because your unrealistic or uneducated football expectations are not being met.

    Big Johnny,

    Take your pick, but you forgot none of the above. As for being a troll, call me what you want because you obviously can’t combat what I am saying with anything other than 3rd grade name calling. Thanks for playing.

  18. HC, thanks for the numbers maybe we have some hope coming and I am glad to see that Wilson is getting help but he is still the head Coach and Defense right now has to be job 1.

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