Middleton needs to “get in the groove”

After four games last year, Indiana had 18 sacks.

After four games this year, Indiana has eight sacks.

Some would look at those numbers and say the difference is evidence of why Indiana has given up 42 points in each of its last two games, both losses.

Some would look at those numbers and say the difference in is circumstantial.

Count Hoosiers head coach Bill Lynch among them.

“I really think it’s the games we played,” he said during a Tuesday press conference.

Indiana’s high sack numbers came last year, he continued, because opponents were forced to pass after falling behind.

“If you can get a lead and force somebody to throw the ball, and throw it a lot, that lends itself to getting pressure,” Lynch said.

As for why the Hoosiers have had just one sack the last two games, both losses, the reasons are: Ball State quarterback Nate Davis is particularly skilled at not getting tackled in the backfield and Michigan State runs a scheme that Lynch called “max protection to the utmost.”

While Lynch is right that sacks are the product of factors beyond the play of the people supposed to responsible for the sacks, there must be some concern from IU over its inability to get to the quarterback.

Greg Middleton, who led the country in sacks with 16.5 a year ago, has one this season.

“Double-teaming and then bringing the back,” Middleton said Wednesday when asked about what he’s seeing this year. “All stuff I expected after the success last year. I just have to keep working hard, and hopefully I can get some sacks.”

Indiana has rotated its defensive ends frequently this year; Middleton didn’t even start against Michigan State.

Middleton said he thought the subbing was meant to keep the line fresher but that he wasn’t “really sure about that.” He’s not worried about his own performance.

“I feel like I’m a better player,” he said. “I feel like I’m a better player and I just need to get in the groove a little bit.”

One comment

  1. Let’s see now, we have a potential first round draft pick and we don’t start him, we have a transfer that started as a freshman at Florida and he doesn’t play fulltime, it must be nice to have that much talent. One thing about that philosophy,we sure are keeping the other team off balance. Like Mike Davis not being prepared for Northwestern’s bench player who lit it up against us.

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