Larry McDaniel looking for flexibility from linemen

Larry McDaniel’s ideal group of defensive linemen would be one with versatility, one that can disrupt an opposing offense with its lateral movement and general quickness. A week and half before the season begins, that’s exactly what McDaniel’s unit is working toward.

In IU defensive coordinator Brian Knorr’s new 3-4 front, McDaniel wants his guys to be interchangeable between the defensive end and nose guard positions. He wants guys who can fit one place, but also have the ability to shift and bring havoc from another side.

Indiana and McDaniel hope to have such a luxury with guys like Darius Latham, Bobby Richardson, Ralph Green, Adarius Rayner and others all returning.

“I want to be able to say, ‘OK, you go play the end, you go play the nose,'” McDaniel said Tuesday. “Just because of the amount of activity that the position entails now, it’s not that true hunker down in the middle, take up two blocks and let guys maul you (position). We’re moving them around. You’re gonna see guys of various shapes and sizes out there at all three of those positions.”

In doing so, McDaniel wants his group to be active and attack opposing offenses, rather than the other way around.

“You’re going left, you’re going right, you’re going two gaps, you can go one gap,” McDaniel said. “What it does is it takes an aggressive offense and really limits their ability to tee off on you. The steps have to be slower, more methodical and I think we have an opportunity from a defensive standpoint to attack them not just on third down. I’m talking first, second, third. That’s the one thing our kids love is that they’re not getting teed off on.”

For more on McDaniel’s guys up front, check out Wednesday’s paper. We’re taking a look at Latham, who looks to be poised for a big sophomore season.