34 comments

  1. Whew…a win is a win. Nice recap and let’s see what it looks like going forward these first five games here with players available. Mike, one thing as a constructive criticism piece and I have been working on this as well in my profession which is sales/business development. Eliminate the “kindas” as a filler! It detracts from the message. Keep up the good work!

    Best,
    PB

  2. what is the story with the defensive coaching staff? It may be just me, but I never seem to hear Knorr’s name mentioned. Are he and CKW on the same page or do we have some issues there? Obviously, defensive performance has not improved.

  3. As bad as defense was yesterday it is hard to know how much of an impact missing 3 of the top defensive players had on the team. Any defense that has three of its top defensive players out will struggle. Add to that nine players were suspended for the game that had to have some impact on the play of the team.

    A look at the big plays that accounted for over 200 passing yards are plays that can be cleaned up this week – two plays to an uncovered TE and the screen play of the 4th qtr. One other thing that can be improved right away [it usually takes game experience] is how to fill the lanes so a runner has nowhere to run. IU had the plays cut off many times but the runner cut back as LBs over ran the football giving the runner a lane to run through.

    We won’t know much at all about this year’s defense until this time next week. If all the players are back and the defensive coaches have film from this year to prepare the team then we will see how prepared the team is. We knew going into the season that the young secondary would give up some yards and struggle at times unless the front could pressure the QB.

  4. Vesuvius13, if IU’s defense does not improve quickly, IU will have a new coaching staff next year at this time.

  5. Podunker, I think you are right but I expect big improvements if the defensive players return after a one game suspension along with Dutra getting back healthy. The 3rd qtr shows how the defense can play, add in the missing players and it will be much better. I hope the front plays straight up instead of the slanting as they get caved down instead of holding their ground. Scales and Latham will make the front much better. There are some simple changes to make a big improvement and game experience should help the LBs fit up better instead of overrunning the ball carrier. I think the young guys were just to hyped up and getting a game under their belt should help with that.

    I don’t expect the defense to be excellent but to be a good defense this year. Mangerie didn’t seem to be a field leader but maybe the young players were just lost for much of the game. Just look at the screen play where three players could have shut it down especially Shaw and Heffern [who missed the tackle despite making the hit] and where were the LBs who should have stuffed a RB screen. Oh well it is hard for an old football coach to see what needs to happen but Knorr had Wake Forest in the top 35 as a defense so he knows what needs to be done if the players can translate that to the field. One thing that really missing is a couple of good athletes at OLB to rush the passer.

    Hoping for better this week

  6. Even allowing for the disparity in talent, it just seems ike our offense is well coached with our guys knowing what to do and when to do it. Our defense, by contrast, appears frequently to be disorganized and unsure. Why do I have this feeling that our defnesive coaching staff is not on the same page? Does anyone else feel this way?

  7. In reference to to our Defensive unit i do not know if Zack Shaw was at full strength or what, but after seeing a replay of the game on the Big Ten Network he looked out of position or over his head the whole game…Like every other IU fan i am really worried about the teams Defense, but like vesuvius13 i expect major improvements in week 2.

  8. iufan23- I’m wondering how much of it comes down to the Wilson hire itself; the decision to choose an OC knowing in full well that our problems over the last decade have been on the other side of the ball.

  9. Being an IU Football fan brings with it a level of PTSD that rivals the average hun sitting in the trenches on the Somme in 1916.

    It isn’t that we’ve just been bad. It’s that we’ve had these periods where there are things, on paper, that give us legitimate hope to fielding a competitive team. Antwaan Randle El scurrying past 9 defenders into the end zone, Terry Hoepner complete reinventing the culture of the football program while building it from the absolute bottom, Kevin Wilson bringing in Indiana’s best recruiting classes ever, watching guys get drafted in the 1st and 2nd round, etc.

    But, just like Charlie Brown, we walk back fifteen paces and start our monologue: is this the day we get to kick the ball? I mean, it is Thanksgiving and who would pull the football away from us THIS time? We turn and sprint towards the ball, we’re going to kick this ball to the moon. Next thing we see is stars as we lie flat on our back. Our team still sucks and we go through another year of loss, humiliation and empty stands (with our fans).

    It is really hard for even the most optimistic of us to see being only a 2 pt play away from losing (AGAIN to the same school!), to an FCS team at home.

    But, the first game of the season sans some significant players, seems hardly the barometer with which to measure this team. Our secondary is very young even with everyone playing. I get it though! This was an FCS team!

    On the other coast, Oregon gave up 549 yds and 42 points to an EWU FCS school. TCU and Michigan State had much closer than expected games as well.

    Last year, national champion Ohio State looked utter pedestrian at home against Virginia Tech (who barely squeezed into a bowl game after going 6-6). JT Barrett played ever bit the part of the freshman. But we know how that turned out (Barrett was a Heisman candidate before getting injured…and, um, national championship).

    Unlike in years past, normally a game like this reveals some glaring problems that don’t look fixable. This didn’t look the same to me. The defense buckled down in the 2nd half and played much better. They made some big plays after giving up some horrific plays. The offense looks outstanding. We have a great backfield and at wideout, which was a HUGE question mark, Cobbs and Davis look great. We even seem to have found a nice TE who blocks really well as well as a steady hand catching the ball. We actually finished a game winning drive. Sudfeld looked every bit the part of a calm, experienced leader who was absolutely going to score to put the game away.

    I’m not giving up on the season yet. There are reasons to be concerned, but I still see better things for this team…

    …I say to myself as I walking back with the girl in the blue dress holding the football yet again….

  10. Our college sports irrelevancy is not from the foot side of the ball. Wilson is a marvelous upgrade for a sports program that was never the headliner…Foot on the side of the ball has always been the opening act.
    Our current lost state of focus is allowing an entrenched Establishment to derail our hearts after a frivolous 3-way calling investigation and all exaggerations of finger-pointing that followed.
    That total lack of focus grew into the preacher and defunct teacher we hired on the only place ever “storied” at Indiana: the ‘basket side’ of the ball…
    Our in-state talent is lush in hoops. Our basketball coach is mush in hoops. There is no headliner band at IU. The leadership is so displaced that kids courted to McCracken with huge recruiting budgets value a cheap bottle of vodka and junior colleges more than playing for Tom Crean.

    The basket side of the ball is comatose(and in a perfect state of lifelessness desired by the Establishment)…Our foot side of the ball has never been in a healthier state to place the foolish obsessions of a misguided fan base searching to the amusements of those knowing are only way back to being a headliner act in the world of college sports. The Assembly Hall is the only sustainable pathway to that side of the ball. Indiana University’s national relevance will remain comatose until we begin, at minimum, to bring in a teacher approaching the level we obsess over in the opening act.

  11. I admire anyone who can remain optimistic in the face of IU’s defensive performance on Saturday. But I think Seahawk Tom’s question in #9 is legitimate. Yes, I agree, IU’s defense will improve because they can’t get any worse! But the competition will improve also. Southern Illinois may be a great D-1AA team, but they’re not even close to Big Ten teams. As evidenced by the latest story posted on The Scoop, Wilson is very worried. He’s laying the blame for Saturday’s debacle squarely at the feet of Knorr and his defensive coaching staff. And rightfully so. But didn’t he see this coming over the last month? Was Wilson paying any attention? His comments suggest that he was surprised by IU’s defensive performance. If so, that’s very troubling. A head coach should have a feel for the relative progress of every part of his team. By Wilson’s comments in that story, and considering the defenses his teams have fielded over the last four years, it appears Wilson has a huge blind spot. I’m not confident he knows what needs to be done to fix the defense. There’s no question that Wilson has done a spectacular job with IU’s offense over the years, but it’s as if he’s completely removed from anything related to defense. As bad as the defense was on Saturday, Wilson better help Knorr figure it out soon, or his career as a head coach may be coming to an abrupt end.

  12. Seems like this Hoosier football team really loves their coach…Sudfeld appears to be a positive young man and great example for leadership as well. And despite some sparse sections in the stands and a less than full house for an opening game, I noticed a lot of excitement on the sideline and guys very engaged.

    It would be a disaster to undercut Wilson and start again from scratch at this juncture of building IU Football already something far stronger than seen in the last 20 years. This isn’t the same animal as finding a few high caliber players on a hoops team in a basketball rich state like Indiana… Basketball can be rebooted on the flash….Football can never hinge on a recruiting decision from one local Hoosier high school standout that will soon grace the cover of every sporting magazine and overnight propel a team into preseason #! rankings….

    I find nothing shocking in defensive play taking longer to instill and build in a football team….And let’;s keep in mind, that our Hoosier basketball team was last in conference in team defense. I don’t remember the outrage…This only takes the coaching and schooling of five individuals putting forth a well-coached and collected effort.

    Wow….Did the Cubs ever hand it to the Cardinals today in St. Louis? Go Cubbies!

  13. ive made some comments on this blog to the effect that there is an apparent “misalignment” between CKW and the defensive coaching staff. CKW pretty much confirmed this in his statements this evening. Knorr and company are not on the sAme page and it shows. I think we will be seeing changes soon.

  14. Didn’t we hear the same stuff in 2013 when Doug Mallory (now coaching with the Atlanta Falcons) was the defensive coordinator?
    Deja vu all over again………

  15. To me what Wilson is saying is get some of the technical details out of the D game plan. He wants more fundamentals and more reactionary emphasis in practice and game day. He believes that some of the halftime adjustments should be made during the 1st half. Listening to his Monday presser/Q&A he stated the passing D problems Saturday were more on the LB’s than the DB’s so that puts the DC and the co-DC clearly in the cross hairs for fixing the D to look like Wilson visions it.

    Tom’s Q brings up another thought. Would hiring a x-DC for HC cause a program to lose offensive momentum? There is something to be said to that but hell I don’t know if it is absolute but most likely holds some merit. I do know it may have something to do with how he organizes his staff. HC’s do have to come from 1 side or the other unlike 3 decades ago where they were cross trained before becoming specialized. I do know from the very 1st week Wilson knew D had to have extra emphasis. That is why he placed 5 assistants on the D side and only 4 on the offense.

    I still think youth and limited talent are in play for many players being put into the fire. It particularly showed Saturday by circumstances happening during the week. Over 10% of the total squad was unavailable for the game. Over a 1/3 and crowding 1/2 of the rotational starters were unavailable for the D. That is a tall mountain to climb on game day.

  16. If IU dosen’t have the defensive depth to handle the Southern Illinois offense what are they going to do when they play the likes of Ohio State or Michigan State.People need to stop crying about who played and who didn’t play. What there was no ” youth ” playing for Southern Illinois ? It’s nice to hear the coach finally acknowledge that defense is an important part of college football. I’ve seen teams in the Indoor football league play better defense than IU has played the last two years.

  17. Ram, It is time for fans to quit being so arrogant thinking FCS teams shouldn’t play D1 tough; do you still remember Michigan being upset by Appalachian State and there are many other examples every year.

    Getting a D coordinator as head coach at Florida led to a terrible offense with a good D and the coach getting fired. There are no guarantees that a D coach would be an upgrade. This may be Wilson’s fith year but only Knorr’s second and he is still coaching players recruited to play a 4-3 not a 5-2. We are seeing the improvement in defensive players being recruited now and some patience will allow Wilson to change IU’s fortunes. IU’s tradition is so bad it will take 6 or 7 years to turn around no matter how impatient people are and what they think about what it takes in football.

  18. vesuvius13, Indiana played a team on Saturday that went 3-5 in the Missouri Valley Conference last year. Take a look at the Southern Illinois roster. They have just as much ” youth ” IF NOT MORE than Indiana does,Yet Indiana’s blazing offense only managed to outscore them by one point and were lucky to come away with a win.Maybe we should find out who is recruiting their “youth” and bring them on board. Five years into a coaching regime and it’s “arrogant” to expect more?That’s rich! First it was 4 or 5 years to turn the program around now it’s 5 or 6.That’s a long time no matter how patient people are and what they think about what it takes in football.

  19. Certainly after canning the DC and hiring a new 1 adds more time. Or if you don’t like that idea fire Wilson and start the 5-7 year process all over again with a new HC. Crapshoot, roll the dice. I’ll stick with Wilson.

  20. I want Wilson to win. I want Wilson to be successful. I like him, and I like many of the things he’s done for IU football. Recruiting has been improved significantly. Conditioning is vastly superior. But if IU only wins four games this season, all that becomes irrelevant. If, after five seasons, he can’t field a team with a competitive defense, that’s 100% on Wilson.

  21. Ram Mmy arrogant comment wasn’t directed at you personally but at fans that act as if other schools don’t have talent to play IU. We can have our own ideas but remember the defensive players, except for this year’s freshman, were recruited by Mallory. The defense has young DBs; why,++ Mallory didn’t get DBs in this years Senior and Junior classes so Knorr is designing defenses with a hole in it due to the missing DBs from those two classes. Illinios State was 3-5 last year but has upgraded their talent this year with experience and transfers from D1 [10 D1 players and 7 JC players] and JC players so we don’t know how they will do this year. That comes to a total of 17 D1 recruits on this team.

    As a former Coach I know the issues Knorr and defensives coaches are facing and their best product wasn’t on the field last week. I will wait until this week to see what the defense looks like instead of jumping ship and ripping them on a week they were missing major contributors. I will also judge them based on how much the young DBs improve not what level the reach because it isn’t Knorr’s responsibility that only young DBs are available.

  22. IUfan I thin the only misalignment is Coach Wilson wants to minimize the exposure of the DBs by not blitzing so much as they need LBs to help defend the pass. I would be surprised if it was more than that but we will see. I think Coach Wilson was embarassed and takes the position that by not blitzing we will recduce big plays like the uncovered TE and the 7 yard screen play.

    I see one big whole in the defensive front and that is a lack of athletic pass rushers at Bandit and DE. We just don’t have the stud rusher that offenses are afraid of facing. I haven’t even seen one in the freshman class.

  23. vesuvius,

    I’m not sure that limiting the blitz is appropriate, as much as just being better at executing our blitzes. Granted, leaving the TE open for that 9,000 yd TD was total blown coverage.

    Looking back the Mizzou game last year, we had all kinds of different looks up front, DB blitzes, full house blitzes and just overall good pass rush from our front line. I thought that majority of our issues on SIU game came from the fact that there was absolutely no pressure on the QB, or disruption of the short passes. Our defensive calls were almost too conservative. Very reminiscent of the Bowling Green game last year.

  24. H4H: I almost always enjoy your posts, but PLEASE LEAVE BASKETBALL OUT OF IT. Please?

    Seahawk and Po: Indeed about KW as an HC. All HCs will have evolved professionally on one side of the line of scrimmage or the other, and the risk of hiring a coordinator to be a first time HC is real. KW has had five years to figure it out and he is struggling. “Blind spot” is an apt description. I, for one, think the blind spot it also extends to the kicking game. The place kicking is solid enough but the rest of it seems very fragile, and certainly nothing shines out (a la Marcus Thigpen). I cannot recall a KW IUFB team ever bringing heat on a punter, and I’ve been noticing that (or rather its absence) for a long time. I guess KW figures why risk roughing the punter when our high octane offense is going to get the ball back? I guess . . . . or maybe he’s oblivious to it.

    We, of course, are armchair admirals. Wilson canned a DC who was clearly lacking and hired one with good credentials. That should work, right? I’m just wondering whether the mass suspension of players just before the game had negative effect greater than the sum of its missing parts. A major distraction, to be sure.

  25. …Wilson oblivious…???…Really…

    In your last paragraph I do think you hit the nail square. Losing 9 players = a negative/disruptive/distraction for the D. It did not hurt the offense because of the strong leader NS is becoming and Howard’s running was hard not to feel positive about. The D will be improved Saturday night as it will every game on out. I would not like having to game plan a D against Sudfeld, Howard and company.

  26. Constructive comments here. Injuries are a somewhat legitimate excuse for the performance last week, but I can’t help panning out to the macro picture once again: bad defense is a repeated pattern that extends back to way before Wilson and seems to be institutionalized.

    Let’s also remember how bad defense can have the effect of inflating offensive statistical performance. When a team like IU is always playing from behind, they will have to throw a lot to try to hang in the game. I’m not saying that our offense is necessarily overrated; only a dynamite offensive line could produce a 2,000 yard rusher. But historically speaking, we should take our offensive success with a minute grain of salt considering how many times we’ve been blown out or faced 2nd string defenses in garbage time (usually the 2nd quarter onward when we play Wisconsin, for example).

    Program turnarounds happen at a breakneck pace these days in college football. Duke – yes, DUKE, one of the ultimate “basketball only” schools – has been to three straight bowl games, after being worse than IU for all of last decade. How frustrating is it for us to settle for the same exact team year after year while all the traditional basketball schools and other historically mediocre football programs emerge from the depths and are suddenly playing in bowl games? In terms of continued football futility, it’s increasingly appearing like IU is in a class of its own.

  27. David Cutcliffe was 9-31 in his first five seasons at Duke. Hardly “breakneck.” He would have already been put on a bus and long gone with the sinister expectations placed upon Wilson.

    And Duke’s first bowl(Cutcliffe’s fifth season) was the result of a stupendous sub-500, 6-7 season record, while going 3-5 in the powerhouse coastal conference of the ACC.. And what da hell is a Belk Bowl….? Is that the generally excepted name for a barfing elk?

    And Duke has gone winless in their cupcake bowls…But hat’s off to them for breaking into a top-25 for a couple weeks.. If they played in IU’s Big 10 East Division, they’d sniff nothing but dirt and have their delicate Duke necks broken. They also allow Mellencamp thugs on their team…Wonder if that came with some big bucks thrown at the program? Anything for a few bucks in the world of college football…

    You guys lay off of Wilson for a couple more years…You pleaded he ax Doug Mallory and he’s basically starting fresh again with new defensive schemes and personnel. Give him, at minimum, the five years given the Duke coach to go to a barfing elk bowl for sub-500 work in a crap division of the ACC. Give Duke an OSU, MSU, Penn State, and Michigan, for starters, on their conference schedule…..

    And since Husky Tom brought up Duke being a “basketball school”…..somebody please tell him to keep such admiration for a former student of Knight on a basketball thread….or I will gladly remind, once again, with which hired charlatan clown IU’s lost relevance in the world of college sports begins.

  28. The 2008 Huskies were the first 0–12 team in Pac-10 conference history and the only team in the country to finish the 2008 season without a victory.[1] The Huskies were outscored 159–463 during the losing streak(Category:College football winless seasons/courtesy: Wikipedia)

    And as bad as it is,after a first game close call ……some people need perspective.

  29. Rachael Ray Accessories Garbage Bowl….? Hmmm? It’s something IU Football can shoot for in 2016…
    It is very useful and “easy to stash and dump those unwanted scraps that pile up during prep time” ..and may also be used for those basketball scraps trimmed off the more meatier portions our team …conveniently kept nearby keep in any Hanner Perea cars turned into thug kitchens for purposes of hurling up our millions wasted on Crean with too much vodka

  30. I could and would normally agree about the notion of airing it out when behind creating unrealistic stats. But 5 TD’s were scored rushing by 2 RB’s. That says something different, like some intent to wear down an opponents D. No doubt some big passing plays set some things up but the IU run game is as potent as NS’s arm..

  31. Duke is a school of a few thousand that recruits smart people. And they Still go to bowls in consecutive years. We have almost 50000 and are in a bona fide conference. Yet we can’t go to a bowl more than once a decade.

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