Ekeler: “That was an embarrassment”

Linebackers coach/co-defensive coordinator Mike Ekeler called Saturday’s game disgusting, an embarrassment, and loads of other disparaging terms Monday after two days to digest the video.

“We had 28 loafs and I think it was 18 missed tackles,” Ekeler said. “… That was an embarrassment for us. Tip my hat to North Texas, but the way we look at it, we play us every week. Us kicked our (butt). We didn’t come to play. That’s on me, and I take it very personal. I’m embarrassed that that tape’s out there how we looked on defense. We had guys out there playing like they were scared. Scared to go up there and put their face on somebody.”

Ekeler said the effort could very well lead to personnel changes. Lots of them.

“Like coach (Doug) Mallory told them this morning and we talked about it,” Ekeler said, “there is no depth chart at this point. We’re not gonna watch that. That’s not gonna be representative of who we are. We’re gonna fix it, that’s why we were brought here. That’s not the standard we’re gonna set. We won’t watch it.”

Defensive tackles coach Mark Hagen was equally frustrated, and said he was concerned with a lack of communication and effort.

“I think to a man, we’re not communicating well enough and we’re not lining up and playing fast,” Hagen said. “When you don’t communicate, you’ve got guys on different pages. It might just be one guy. You can have 10 guys doing one thing and one guy doing another. That’s enough to cost you. The communication part of it is big, and we’re not lining up and being aggressive. We’re thinking too much. I bet if you asked every guy on defense, he would echo that. That’s what I see. You’re thinking. You can not sit back and think especially when the ball’s snap. If you do that on defense, you’re dead.”

AUDIO: Mike Ekeler (This one’s PG-13)

AUDIO: Mark Hagen

AUDIO: Darius Johnson and Mick Mentzer

AUDIO: Jarrell Drane



  1. Good of Ekeler to admit how embarrassing his player’s performance was. And the comments made by Hagen confirm my suspicion that many players, especially on defense, are suffering from cognitive overload. You can’t be “thinking” during a play. You have to react and just do it with total commitment.

    It may get worse before it gets better, but it will eventually get better when they can stop thinking about what they’re supposed to do.

  2. Podunker,
    Interesting because it’s just kind of a rhetorical argument, but it was funny that Hagen talked about these guys thinking too much about two weeks after Ekeler went on a rant that anyone who thinks you can think too much are idiots. What they’re both really saying is that they don’t have it all down cold enough that the basics are second-nature and muscle memory, so they’re processing too much during the play itself. But the stark contradiction was somewhat comical.

  3. I like that stat, ‘loafs’.
    We all wanted big changes. We wanted everything about IU football shaken up. Don’t complain unless all you wanted was lipstick on the pig the coaches were handed. As for me, if they benched everyone that was not playing up to their standards and only fielded 10 guys for a series just to get their attention, I’m good with it.

  4. DD; Semantics aside, I agree with your point. They don’t have it down, they don’t have confidence right now, and they are a bit confused. Pretty typical given all the changes being implemented. Hopefully, the IU players are “failing forward.”

    Chet; good point. I was one of those that wanted a big change and I have no problems with what KW and staff are doing. It is necessary, and frankly, in my opinion, unavoidable. It will be another difficult and frustrating season (or two) for us die-hard fans, but no complaints from me about what KW must do to create a competitive football team.

  5. i’m with chet. turning loafing into a stat is brilliant. wish i’d thought of it. as a coach, with high school kids these days, if you use video to point out a kid being lazy, next thing you know their parents are bitching to the ad about how cruel and unfair you are. making it a stat like assists or rebounding makes it undeniable, embarassing, and a clearcut goal to work on. love it.

  6. Ekeler seems to really have a finger on it. And, yes…the sea change must be very threatening to some but life will bring much greater changes. Whatever they learn from Cs. Wilson, Ekeler, Mallory, etc may end up the most productive part of the scholarship they receive.

    Chalk this lesson up to The Hardening Hoosiers.

  7. 6 posts all focused toward the future even though I so agree with Po’s “it may get worse before it gets better. I like the coaching staff is not offering a choice between staus quo or change. It is not either/or. The door swings one way and the highway is beyond.

  8. I really appreciate the accountability here. The coaches have every right in my book to lay it on the line like Coach Ekeler. If you want apologetic players, you get apologetic coaches. From what I’ve seen, our coaches are neither apologetic nor stupid. The courage it takes to yank a senior because he’s messing around is a new concept to some of these guys. Hopefully this becomes the norm. Who cares if we don’t go a bowl this year. What’s the difference between this year and any other year? What matters is the improvement we see in the program over the next few years. Have to agree with Clarion, the highway is the only other option.

  9. From a Nebraska fan, Ekeler is going to get the job done. He has a fiery infectious personality. He’ll get this defense playing solid football. There may be some older players that aren’t going to adapt, but better to weed them out and let young guys learn and grow.

  10. Coach Eck was a good motivator and he will get those guys on the same page. We all wish him luck still here in Nebraska. Until we play you guys. 🙂

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