DeBord defends overtime play calls

With the benefit of reflection, would Mike DeBord change his approach to Indiana’s final goal line series Saturday?

“Not at all,” the veteran offensive coordinator said.

Although his Hoosier offense failed to punch the ball into the end zone from the 1-yard line in overtime, DeBord said Monday that he sticks with his final four calls of Saturday’s 27-20 loss to Michigan.

After getting as close as the Michigan 1, IU lost a total of three yards on separate zone-read decisions and quarterback Peyton Ramsey twice failed to complete a pass, including a desperation heave on the final play.

DeBord’s solution? Coach those plays more effectively.

“There’s nobody harder on play calling than I am on myself,” DeBord said. “(IU coach Tom Allen) looked at it as well and said the play calls were there. We gotta do a better job of executing those. They were base calls, basically. When I talk about execution, I’m talking about really, we gotta coach those plays better.”

So during IU’s Sunday night practice session, that’s what the Hoosiers tried to do, focusing on fundamental reads and execution.

Although he didn’t say so outright, DeBord also indicated his frustration with the officiating on the fourth-down roll out. On that play, Ramsey rolled to his left from the right hash marks and looked for receiver Simmie Cobbs in the back of the end zone. Cobbs, however, was on the turf by the time the ball was delivered — and intercepted by Tyree Kinnel.

It wasn’t clear whether Cobbs was pulled down or simply fell, though the IU receiver motioned for a flag immediately after the ball was picked.

That play was also the second time in a span of three plays that DeBord asked his right-handed freshman quarterback to roll out, move the pocket and throw across his body on the run.

“Everybody after the play’s over (says), ‘Why did you do this? Why didn’t you do that?'” DeBord said. “What if we would have dropped back and taken a sack? Everybody would have said, ‘Why didn’t you sprint out?’ Peyton’s a guy who can throw on the run. He’s demonstrated that in practice, he’s done it in games, so we were trying to get Simmie open with motion there. I’m not going to get into officiating. That’s not my role. But the play didn’t develop like we wanted it to.”


  1. Overtime: offense looked like first day of practice. Coaching to qb lacked on first, second and third play.

  2. The officiating is corrupt, has been corrupt and will continue to be corrupt. There is no penalty for an official that turns his head instead of making the call. All calls by the officials are reviewed. All the non-calls are not. So if the league wants the Michigans, Ohio States and Penn States to look better for bowl games, all they have to do is tell the refs to keep the flags in their pockets. Bill Mallory wouldn’t stand for it and got suspended a game, Bill Lynch complained of it to no avail and now Coach Allen is getting to see how the games are really played. Failing to call penalties against IU and all the lower tier teams of the Big Ten is a form of corruption. It’s gone on too long and is too one-sided to think it’s either unintentional or by chance.

    Make officials accountable for every play instead of just the plays where they throw their flags. The only way to make the officials accountable for both their calls and non-calls is to review and grade them for every play. Otherwise, expect more one-sided calls favoring the haves at the expense of the have-nots. I see no reason to keep going to the games when the playing field is not level.

  3. Non-calls are reviewed as well. Simmie Cobbs recovered the onside kick and the play was reviewed. He caught it in mid-air so it wasn’t a fumble recovery. Corrupt in every way.

  4. hoosieriniowa- after the game the league reviews every play where a penalty is called with the official that called the penalty. But if the official doesn’t call the penalty, the play for that official is not reviewed. So plays like Simmie Cobbs getting sent to the turf on the last play in overtime are not reviewed because no penalty was called. If all plays were reviewed, the league would have to officially rule whether or not a penalty was committed and the official would be graded accurately for how they officiated. The current system gives both officials and the league a way for calling penalties against some teams but not others and to get away with it.

  5. DeBord shouldn’t come out and say “Not at all,” when asked about the last four plays. I saw three scores Peyton missed with bad reads and I know DeBord doesn’t want to throw him under the bus as he shouldn’t. We can only hope that Peyton learns to pull the ball on the zone option when the DE disappears, recognizes the defense and gives the ball to Ellison on sweep instead of keeping it and running up the gut, and finally learn to throw the ball early on roll outs.

    IU is a good team but due to injuries are getting very depleted on offense and getting hurt on defense. Losing Sykes and Ball for the season was taking two of the better players off the field. Injuries to Westbrook, Hale, and Thomas has reduced the receiving corps greatly. Life goes on for the Hoosiers and I hope a few of the players get back in another week or two.

  6. You know a call is really, really bad when, while watching the game on TV, especially on ESPN, CBS, or etc., and the commentators, after watching the replay, say something to the affect of, “Oh wow! I don’t think I would have made that call.” Or when they say, “I don’t see any violation there.” That’s broadcaster code for, “that was a horrendous, absolutely terrible call.”

  7. My middle school principal used to like to give me DeBord….It had some holes drilled into it for added impact(less air getting trapped under the hardwood during the swatting faze)…Bend over, Harvard. It is time to turn your pale butt cheeks into a polka dot canvas.

  8. 1. Does anyone expect a coach to EVER say, “Yeah, you’re right, those were boneheaded calls. Wish I had a do-over.”

    2. If you can’t get two yards in two carries up the gut, you’re not really trying.

    3. How are Big Ten refs evaluated? “After games an NFL official spends five to six hours grading every play, using the TV replays and sometimes the “All-30″ tape — a wide-angle view with all 22 players and eight on-field officials.” “Carollo says his crews average 5.6 mistakes per game — and that includes incorrect mechanics or faulty positioning.
    “People say: ‘Where’s the accountability?'” Carollo said. “We do a lot of things quietly; we sit down crews (for a game). That does not come out publicly, but I do tell the coaches (involved).”
    Chgo. Tribune

  9. There you have it DeBord and staff will not adjust but do the same moving forward. Rest your DVR’s. No need to record future games while they’re in charge.

  10. Personally, I cannot see a reason to have your right handed quarterback roll out to his left and throw a pass against his body. In the couple of tries with Zander Diamont and Patrick Ramsey and no success in either attempt, this might be a good time to put that play on the shelf, esp when the game is on the line. As a IU fan and because it is so fresh in my mind, I cannot forget the blog that stated or advise IU fans to wait and see how DeBord does with 3* talent versus the 4* and 5* talent he was working with at Tennessee. Kevin Wilson offensive at Ohio State is averaging 47.3 points a game, I think Ohio State offensive is leading the BIG 10 in all offensive categories (wow)!!! An if I remember correctly a team (IU) that finished 4/5th in the BIG 10 East in 2015 finished first in all offensive categories but last in all defensive categories. IU gave all that up for a defensive minded coach. I sure all of you will compare that Kevin Wilson had an All-American lineman, a 2000 yard running back and not one but two 1000 yard receivers, oh yeah lets hear or tell me about the poor recruiting classes (not really – just slightly below previous recruiting classes) Kevin Wilson had that this coaching staff is stuck with. Point blank Kevin Wilson had a way of developing an offensive team. We will see how long this IU team stays on top (mid-pack) in defense, when they loose 6 to 8 starters next year and the offense only loses two starters (Lagow and Thomas). So will the offense next year be the key to IU “BREAKTHROUGH” season. Really should not be talking about next year when this seasons is only half over (my mistake).

  11. IU79, Iliked the offense under Wilson but didn’t like thee bone headed decisions he made most games. 2015 isn’t a comparable year and the reason you used it was because with comparable talent in 2016 IU’s offense didn’t score in thee top of the conference and was pedestrian compared to past offenses. Add to that a different philosphy that is about moving the sticks you would have an offense that won’t lead the B1G. We will have to wait and see if it brings more wins for IU.

    1. You mean boneheaded decisions like starting MM @ RB. Or the boneheaded decisions made in the last possessions play calling. Then more bonehead appeared by doubling down saying he’d make the same calls again and blamed each 1 on player execution. Please back the bus up, Ramsey is under it. Like I said rest your DVR’s. By the way IU79 the Hoosiers were 2nd in B1G passing offense last year. The Wilson offense is the thing that put IUFB on the competitive map. The drop off in that offensive production was a topic of discussion to the Meatchicken fans behind me Saturday. I silently agreed as it was vanishing before my very eyes.

  12. Is anyone really arguing that DeBord is as good or better than Wilson as an Offensive Coordinator? No, of course he’s not. If he was, he’d be OSU’s Offensive Coordinator, not a guy who got talked out of retirement to come home to IU. Do I agree with all of DeBord’s decisions? Absolutely not. But do either of these points make DeBord worthless or worthy of termination? No, they do not. So far this season, after platooning two quarterbacks for the first four games (never a good idea), one of which is a red-shirt freshman, IU has won all the games they were supposed to win, and have lost all the games they were supposed to lose. IU is still within reach of going to another bowl game. And honestly, I don’t really care if IU’s offense is ever as productive as it used to be under Wilson. What matters is that they produce winning seasons. Wilson had six years to produce a winning season and didn’t get it done. His prolific offenses were fun and exciting to watch, but they did not produce winning seasons. And Wilson could not spell “Defensive Coordinator” for the first five years he was IU’s head coach. IU has a new head coach, a new Offensive Coordinator, all new offensive position coaches, a new quarterback, new running backs, etc. Of course they’re not going to produce the same results as last year’s offense. Who cares, as long as they produce enough offense to allow IU to win three or four more games. If they don’t, Allen will have to decide if changes need to be made at the end of the season. Until then, all we can do is hope this new offense progresses through the learning curve rapidly and that their performance gets better each week.

  13. HC and others complaining about the offense 2016 IU was 9th in the conferece offensive stats. IU now ranks 6th in conference offensive stats. Everyone wanted to compare our offense back when he had higher rated players but looking at last year with Wilson shows this year is better in the conference. We are out scoring last year’s team despite the perceptions and the 2016 tem was better in total yardage per game. The panic and calls for firing are over the top based on two teams comparable in talent. Either you go by the stats or your emotion. I agree that Ellison and Gest should be the top two backs with Majette and Williams thrid down backs. However, since I haven’t been at practice I don’t know everything that is goinng on with RBs.

    1. Come on. If you want to cherry pick I can be 1 of the best. You don’t have and will not have a competent offense if you screw up evaluating who the best RB IS. That simple matter makes questioning everything impotent in line. Here’s where this years offensive stats get their shine; RL’s passing yardage against the Bucks and the stats and scoring against GSU. Wow!

  14. If Fred was riding Wilson’s butt during all of 2016, it certainly could have played into Wilson’s state of mind and ability to remain positive/confident/inventive. I wouldn’t rely too heavily on the stats of 2016(especially as the season progressed) when Wilson likely knew his head was on a chopping block(hard to keep those emotions and distancing from the program out of the locker room…and off the results on the field). He was fired before the bowl game…The events leading up to the firing had to happen over the course of more than a couple weeks.

  15. H4H your explanation is a stretch but the reason I brought up 2016 is because this team and 2017 are very similar in talent. Wilson dealing with this talent plus having Redding and Feeney is an unfair comparison in some ways but my point is some here are going overboard when stats don’t back them up. The offense last year struggled because Lagow wasn’t as good as I and Wilson thought he would be. This year showed once again he couldn’t improve from last year and our OL new starters didn’t pass block well enough to give him time to find open receivers.

    As to your point about Wilson being under pressure I have found as coaches, we are able to hit the field and focus only on our team. I doubt Wilson is any different than any of the coaches I have known.

  16. Have you coached at the pressures of the college level…with allegations from above that you have put some on your team into harmful conditions?

    1. I haven’t coached at college but have worked with a lot of college coaches in camps that is what most successful coaches do. Some of those staffs were under fire but still focused on the job at hand. Coaches at a certain level are different people because we are driven to succeed. To accomplish that you learn to put things in perspective. I coached a a mixed race school when police made a bad stop, the administration knuckled under to pressure, and a minister group tried to claim our decision was racist. It was on all three TV stations and both major newspapers. I was gettting calls for quotes, I didn’t do them other than to talk about the upcoming game, pulled out of class for meetings with different groups. So yes H4H I have gone through allegations that weren’t true and being pressured by groups that didn’t know what they were talking about. But practice and the game were my “return to normal” as it just was about the coaches and the players. I don’t say things just to spout off but to give info about things I know.

      1. I think a lot of coaches face those sort of pressures. We all face various pressures. We all face economic pressures…We all face health issues, various job crises, pressures in family life and the pressures of matching dreams to desires. And I have no idea of the level of challenges that come with racial injustices or how it feels to get in a car and likely be targeted as a criminal for simply cruising down a street.

        But when you have a boss who has undermined your credibility as a safe-keeper of your team…? Come on, v. I think you’re being intentionally naive to just how big of an effect that could have on the psyche of a coach. To be harassed, bullied, or formally intimidated via written ultimatums by the figurehead of your athletic department? That’s not simply an everyday pressure. That is the abandonment of trust and confidence in your Hoosier family. And do you honestly believe the firing of Wilson was solely because of the allegations filtered into the media? Have you ever considered a power struggle….of the potential of personalities and styles just completely at odds?

        1. All you point out about Wilson was his own doing as you forget he was told about the need to change his approach before his contract extension. Wilson agreed to change but more came to light from the 2016 season. Was his personality a problem at IU, I agree it was seen that way as Bill Mallory is held up as the example of what IU wants. I am not saying all was Wilson’s fault but with recruiting classes down the previous two years and parents suing the university the writing was on the wall. I still think Wilson is what IU needed in 2011 and that he is a hell of an offensive coach. But your contention that it impacted his coaching on the field when declining talent was evident in why last year didn’t measure up to previous year’s offenses.

          1. Raw evaluation of talent is a very subjective thing. And what Wilson could do via his expertise in the evolution of talent can very well be much different than Allen. I do recall Wilson not playing a very talented player for many weeks….Do you think he was countering the accusations of him making light of injuries by going to the other extreme(holding out a player far longer than necessary)?
            It’s probably the most violent sport on the planet. I don’t know if you’ll always get the “model” personality that’s going to appease everyone. It’s pretty hard to play mistake-free personality in game of raw meat and gladiators. There is a lot of gray area in how a coach who wants to instill toughness ….There is a lot of room for spin based on motivations or hard feelings for not getting playing time.

            Let’s face some more facts…Wilson probably put Zander Diamonte in far more danger(via simply putting him on the field) than any potential harm caused to a disgruntled player claiming he was treated as if he were ‘soft’ while in an injured/returning from injury state. Wilson never went outside the bounds of all medical staff recommendations. Yet, he put a vastly undersized qb on the field who simply didn’t belong? It was obvious that Zander(who tried to save face by putting all risk in the sport onto Wilson) had no business in a football league with monstrous athletes featured in the Big Ten. Simply putting that kid in an IU uniform was far more of an affront to the well-being of an athlete than any questionable locker room tough talk. He was in horrific danger at every snap of the ball….I don’t remember the fan outrage.
            Placing Diamonte at that risk was akin to putting a frail 7th grade QB with his 7th grade lineman protection into a full hitting practice against the best senior lineman of a #1 varsity high school team. There are a lot of pressures to build excitement at the notorious dungeon of the Big Ten known as IU Football.
            Zander sort of received a rude awakening and has made a smart decision to stay away from much of the hypocrisy that comes with the territory of a violent sport hellbent on promoting bigger, stronger, jacked-up, freight trains of jaw-dropping size capable of jaw-dropping explosive forces as the pathway to a utopian gridiron.

          2. How long was Bob Knight told he needed to change? We have precedent. It’s funny how ugly a coach can get once he doesn’t set the world on fire.

            I know…we do things differently at IU…and all of that BS. Thank god we only made it to Foster Farms…and Pinstripe Bowls. Goodness me, if Wilson somehow gets us to Pasadena in five years, we would have needed Sports Illustrated and indisputable locker room video replay/footage to protect the three kids out of the hundreds Wilson had coached in his lifetime before there would have been enough headlines to bring us to our moral senses/high ground.

  17. While we’re throwing out conspiracy theories, anyone else notice the striking resemblance between Mike DeBord and former Russian Prime Minister, Mickial Gorbechoff? It all starts to make sense…. why else would someone take a lateral move to become IU’s Offensive Coordinator if they WERE’NT a Russian spy???

  18. I thought DeBord looked more like Jonathan Winters…..Might coach a bit like him too.

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