Defense ready for a trial run against Indiana State

The figure stands at 53.4 percent. Or, at least, that’s what we think.

That’s how much of the playbook new defensive coordinator Brian Knorr has installed through fall practice. It’s a bit of an arbitrary percentage, one cooked up by IU coach Kevin Wilson to explain that Knorr is only halfway through the introduction of a new defense.

But for the early portion of the season schedule, for a group looking to find its footing, that’s just about where IU wants to be.

“We’re just over 50 percent,” Knorr said Monday. “Especially early in the season, you’re not sure what you’re gonna get. You gotta prepare for everything. Obviously, we want to have a lot of our defense in, but there will be enough that our guys executed all spring and all fall that we’ll be able to play. So, right now, that’s a pretty accurate assessment. Just over half.”

Of course, against Indiana State, the Hoosiers shouldn’t need a full playbook in order to take the field. Saturday’s season opener stands as a trial run for a defense that simply wants to get out on the field and get some confidence. IU already has its core package ready to go, the rest is about freedom to move.

To do so, Knorr wants his group to minimize what its doing so that it can play fast and fly around the field.

“I would like to see us play with an unbelievable amount of energy and effort, which means you know what you’re doing, Wilson said. “‘Cuz if you’re sitting out there and you don’t know the call, now all of the sudden it’s a game, and you’ve done it in practice a hundred times, and now I’m on the game field and hey I’m not supporting the run or cancelling the gap or having my proper alignment, so I would like us to be aggressive, which means we’re gonna know what we’re doing. Because if you’re thinking ‑‑ like I tell the guys all the time, if you’re thinking, you don’t know. If you know, you know. You know the call, you know the job, do the job.

Opening with the Sycamores, Knorr wants that confidence to come early. The team wants to atone for allowing 35 points last season to an Indiana State team that finished with a 1-11 overall record, including an 0-8 mark in the Missouri Valley Conference.

Knorr wants his group to attack, to surprise and, ultimately, confuse the opposition. Expect to see plenty of rotation at different positions on Saturday, with the defensive coaches still watching as position battles evolve.

“I think our kids need confidence,” Knorr said. “Coming in last spring, that’s one of the things I noticed, even in winter workouts. When they had success, they gained confidence. It’ll be important for us to have success early. I think with that success they will have more confidence, they’ll play faster and I think that will allow us to continue as the season goes on to implement more of our defense.”