Offensive coordinator Kevin Johns and tight ends coach James Patton are no longer on Indiana’s football staff, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed to The Herald-Times on Monday.
Their departures are the first wave of coaching staff changes since former coach Kevin Wilson’s abrupt resignation on Dec. 1. Both Johns and Patton have deep ties to Wilson.
Johns spent the past six seasons on IU’s staff, including the last three as offensive coordinator. From 1999 to 2001, he was an offensive graduate assistant at Northwestern, while Wilson was offensive coordinator.
Patton spent the past four seasons on Indiana’s staff overseeing tight ends. He also coached alongside Wilson at Miami of Ohio from 1990 to 1994 and during the 1998 season. They were also together at Northwestern from 1999 to 2001 and at Oklahoma from 2006 to 2010.
Last month, the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reported that Ole Miss wide receivers coach Grant Heard, a longtime connection of new coach Tom Allen, will accept a similar role at IU. Johns also coached IU’s receivers.
In 2015, IU became the fourth team in Football Bowl Subdivision history to boast a 3,500-yard passer (Nate Sudfeld), two 1,000-yard rushers (Jordan Howard and Devine Redding) and one 1,000-yard receiver (Simmie Cobbs) in the same season.
This past season, the Hoosiers were not nearly as prolific.
Junior college transfer Richard Lagow struggled to become the consistent quarterback Indiana needed, while the Hoosiers’ offensive line offered mostly uneven results. Injuries and youth across the offense provided additional hurdles, and the unit seldom seemed close to matching the standard set during previous seasons.
Indiana finished the regular season ranked No. 125 out of 128 FBS teams in finishing drives, scoring merely 3.54 points per trip inside the 40-yard line. The Hoosiers were also ranked No. 114 nationally in rushing success rate.
Since taking over as the head coach, Allen has discussed his desire to implement a “tempo-spread” offense that aims to establish the running game.
“I think our offense has done a good job in the past of throwing the football extremely well, but when you watch Indiana play on offense, they always ran the ball,” Allen said on Dec. 10. “That’s where I feel like we have to do a better job of finishing those runs this year, protecting the football and being great in the red zone.”