Joseph returns to Big Ten country

Noah Joseph admittedly grew up an Ohio State fan in Zanesville, Ohio, but said one of the games he most vividly remembers watching in his childhood involved Indiana basketball.

The game he remembered was a clash between Ohio State and Indiana on Feb. 17, 1991, a showdown between Jim Jackson of OSU and Damon Bailey of IU. Bailey scored 30 points but Jackson had 32 in that game and the Buckeyes hung on to win a 97-95 thriller.

“That was one of my greatest sports memories,” Joseph said. “I was all about the Big Ten and I knew all about Indiana.”

And it is Indiana that has made Joseph a part of the Big Ten for the first time in his career after 14 years in the football coaching business, including the last two seasons as the safeties coach at North Texas. The IU football program announced Thursday that he has been hired as their safeties coach, completing their staff after several coaching moves this offseason. 

It is still uncertain exactly how the rest of the defensive staff will fit together, especially what the position role of newly-hired defensive coordinator Brian Knorr will be if there will be any. Former defensive coordinator Doug Mallory handled the safeties until he was fired in January, and Joseph has obviously taken over those duties. Linebackers coach William Inge and cornerbacks coach Brandon Shelby both return from last season and the Hoosiers hired a new defensive line coach in Larry McDaniel to replace the fired Jon Fabris.

“I don’t know what they’re going to do there,” Joseph said. “I don’t know if coach Knorr is going to be a walk-around guy or what. All I know is that I’m going to handle safeties and Coach Shelby will still handle the cornerbacks.”

Joseph didn’t have much of a prior connection to the staff. He did have a close personal friend who passed his name on to IU football coach Kevin Wilson. Joseph was a former player at Drake, graduating in 2009, and he’d also worked as a graduate assistant at Iowa State, so he had connections with Inge, a former star defensive end at Iowa. He said he believes that was what got him on the respective radars of Wilson and Knorr, who collaborated to make the hire.

“After meeting with Coach Wilson and Coach Knorr, I have a great comfort level that they know what they’re doing,” Joseph said. “They have a great plan in place, and I feel like I could come in and catch on and be part of the staff that helps IU football turn the corner.”

Joseph has been in the business since 2000, working as a graduate assistant first at his alma mater Drake, then at Eastern Kentucky and Iowa State for a year each before spending four years at Eastern Illinois. After that, he as at Montana State for five years as secondary coach, producing a first-or second-team All-Big Sky pick at either cornerback or safety each year. He was co-defensive coordinator there in 2011 when Montana State led the conference and finished 22nd nationally in pass defense.

Joseph took the North Texas job before the 2012 season. This season, the Mean Green finished eighth in the FBS in scoring defense 17th in the FBS in total defense. Safety Marcus Trice was named a first-team All-Conference USA pick and fellow safety Lairame Lee was named an honorable mention pick.

“The biggest thing I try to do with players is to build trust and get to know them as more than just a football player,” Joseph said. “In turn, I want them to feel comfortable being around me. I’ve always felt like I was a student of the game, and I want them to feel like they can always be in the office picking my brain or picking someone else’s brain. I want them to have that hunger to make themselves the very best. I’ve always considered myself an over-achiever and I tell them, hey, ‘you’ve got more of the physical ability than I did, and if you listen to us, we’re going to help you get the most out of it.”

Joseph will inherit some talent in the position. The Hoosiers lose starter Greg Heban, but return oft-injured starter Mark Murphy as well as rising sophomore Antonio Allen, a four-star recruit who had a promising freshman season cut short by an ACL tear. The Hoosiers also added several players at the position in the 2014 recruiting class, including Tony Fields, Will Dawkins, Zeke Walker, and Chris Covington.

Joseph doesn’t have any experience coaching secondary behind a 3-4 formation, which Knorr plans to employ along with an even 4-3 front. But he says he and Knorr do have similar philosophies on coverage.

“I’ve always been a 4-3 guy,” Joseph said. “But coach Knorr does a lot of things I’ve done coverage wise from quarters concepts to cover three to man concepts. We also believe in the same things that it’s important to be great with fundamentals, great with technique, great mentally on the football field. That will carry over no matter what you do.”



  1. Jim Jackson was a sophomore for the game in 1991 that Joseph mentions, not a freshman. He was in the same class as Calbert Cheaney. Bailey was a year younger and the OSU game was his big breakout game.

  2. Good solid pick. Encouraging to see that CKW is carefully and thoughtfully building his staff with solid assistants.

  3. Isn’t it sorta “rebuilding” his staff after firing a Coordinator that really proved to suck?

    Podunker appeared to have the early lowdown on Mallory. How on earth could Wilson not know the history of a guy with such a miserable track record?

    Thankfully, we have fans like Podunker that continue to demand more than the old status quo for Indiana Football. After wasting three precious years a miserable defense, we finally move forward from the mistake of hiring a less qualified candidate due to some “birthright” to coach because they are offspring to an old legend.

    And it’s the same reason I always believed the letting go of Bobby Knight was to save us from 10 or more years of Pat.

    A lot of young men sat next to Bobby..That doesn’t mean they can coach any better than an assistant that sat next to a Final Four coach like Tom Izzo. We should know better at Indiana.

  4. Fro-

    That was their Establishment memory always attempting to spin something that makes Indiana looks less favorable in comparison. Bailey scoring 30 on the road as a freshman against a sophomore (Jackson), does put a whole different light on the memorable game. I’m glad we still have Hoosier fans around that can discredit such flub ups and mis-truths.

    Still trying to get the “rewind” of the Purdue game out of my head.

  5. H4H, post#4, for the 1st time in months you’ve said something thought provoking instead wasting o2. I’ve held to the practice if you fire someone you do so because you strive with desire to build up a particular area. Now on the other hand when you lose someone of quality(like coach Littrell)you must in most cases rebuild what you had.

  6. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but wouldn’t you think Indiana Football could benefit enormously by having a head coach(albeit a basketball coach) that is married to two of the biggest coaching names in the present day NFL?

    Or does it hurt the attention for their b-ball brother-in-law if football begins to steal the luster of all that nonsense about banners and “Because it’s Indiana” stuff?

    Just some food for thought on a slow Scoop day.

  7. oops…Freudian slip. Made myself laugh, anyway.

    I know I’ve mentioned this before, but wouldn’t you think Indiana Football could benefit enormously by having a head coach(albeit a basketball coach) that is married [to the sister] of two of the biggest coaching names in the present day NFL?

  8. Mallory gets a pass for his first year as IU’s DC. But the last two years were just bad, with no signs of making significant improvement. The numbers don’t tell the entire story, but they tell enough of it. I would not use the word “miserable” to describe Mallory’s track record, but he was inclined upward when Wilson hired him.

  9. The last sentence in #10 should have read “not inclined upward when Wilson hired him.”

    But back to the subject at hand. I like this hire for one simple reason. Noah Joseph sees coming to IU as a significant promotion in his career. He’ll be able to recruit better athletes and coach in a much more prominent conference (not to mention living in Bloomington and working at IU). If he does well, then his career will continue to provide opportunity for growth. That should provide plenty of motivation to produce better performance.

  10. Po, agree on Mallory’s track record. He had been a very successful secondary coach before becoming co-DC at LSU. It was a mediocre year, though bad by LSU standards, and he was fired. Some of that could be attributed to a rough transition due to a steep learning curve in a tough conference. He then had a rough couple of years at New Mexico and that’s what gets people really up in arms.

    There was a huge drop off from the previous year, but New Mexico lost 10 defensive starters including 2 NFL draft picks. An MVC school is not going to replace that type of talent/experience. And this was on top of a rough head coaching transition that saw quite of player attrition on top of that. Even if a guy like Mark Dantonio was their DC, that defense was going to struggle.

    When Wilson put his staff together his first year, you could tell that he placed a high priority on getting guys with BCS conference experience. McCullough and Shelby were the only coaches that hadn’t been full assistants at a BCS school, but Shelby played at Oklahoma and had a few years as a GA at BCS schools. And McCullough had played in the NFL. Ultimately, at the time Mallory may have been one of the better candidates IU could have pulled in. And all IU really needed in the end was a mediocre defense

  11. ^That sounds like the first truly unbiased commentary on Mallory I’ve seen here. It doesn’t have that “agenda” feel to it. I haven’t fact-checked it, but it certainly has the details that give it the appearance of balance and completeness. It certainly offers a less critical eye on putting so much of the troubles with IU Football onto one set of shoulders.

  12. I give Mallory mad props for sticking around at UNM when the feces hit the rotating blade with their head coach. A guy who be more afraid of his reputation over all else, would have bolted. His loyalty to the kids left behind kept him there knowing they were going to get pummeled. Quite honorable.

  13. There’s got to be a better way of calling for a coaching change than ripping apart the career of a veteran coach by attempting to savage his entire career-worth of accomplishments. I recall I too questioned the Mallory change form LSU to New Mexico since UNM was not known as a football program. But, the information that was readily available (at that time) pointed at an internal and divisive confrontation involving split co-defensive coordinator responsibilities at LSU. The fact is that both Mallory and the other D-coach were let go.

    But, it could also have been the case that Mallory was a solid position coach who was above his head with the duties of D-coordinator or his personality did not fit the needs of a co-coordination. I don’t know.

    Nothing wrong with pointing out it wasn’t working out here at IU, his record here spoke for itself. But, some attacks here were beyond the pale. CKW handled it masterfully, refused to comment, analyzed the needs of the program and made a hard decision accordingly and, most important, without drama.

    Important that the head coach create an environment of calm and respect for players, coaches and fans. Too bad we can’t ‘fire’ overly hysterical fans bent on creating soap opera agendas sometimes… We were fortunate football leadership (CKW) acted calmly, with measure and was not reactive. He created the environment that allow hiring of talented coaches by treating them with respect.

  14. Just gonna waste a little more o2 before retiring for the evening.

    Saw something on where Pitino Sr. was having a bit of a disagreement with Calipari regarding Facebook, Twitter, etc.

    Pitino was of the opinion athletes could serve themselves better by putting their time to much better use(reading, studying, articulating, getting a gym to practice).

    It sorta got me thinking…Who in the hell invented the term “Social Media?” It all seems like such a false lure into wanting to believe those that spend hours engaged with a screen, electronic tablet, or cell phone are acting in a “social” fashion. There are so many more dynamics to the act of being social that what can be achieved from these empty vessels serving nothing more than a poor excuse for true human interaction.

    Honesty can never be conveyed across these means of exchanging our brilliance and our passions. These are false windows into a nothingness that is never achieved in the presence of a shared true moment of intimacy where all senses are engaged. There is nothing social about media. What media is, is safe. But in that safety, something is lost. The nuances and the touch…The genuineness of catching a truly flirtatious eye from across a sea of otherwise uninterested in a busy subway station or movie theater…The moments of bumping into a long lost friend at place you never expected to cross paths. The instantaneous warmth in the eyes to know how much you mean to each other.

    What a conniving and self-amusing misuse of the word ‘social’ by these lonely geniuses voted ‘most likely to never get laid’ in their high school class…How convenient they amassed their fortunes in the creation of a means to shield any humanness they were always inept or afraid to risk…They saw how tempting and satisfying it could be for all of us to feel safe in the world, to fit, to filter ourselves like water slowly dripping through the grounds our morning coffee, and finally belong.

    But it’s not “social.” It’s giving up. It’s giving up on the first steps outside your front door. It’s giving up on the belief that love and happiness is more precious than creating it from a keyboard. I believe it is the work of an evil enterprise that steals our souls to microchips and bonds our faces to screens like a mirror in front a manikin. It is the work of a plastic Devil and it is his technology that will suck the life out of your veins and replace your warm heart and unique presence in a room with darkness in every voice a facade.

  15. Miss my old buddy Husky Tom….Miss the sparring and the dangling of toes off the pier at the Island of Basketblog. Miss the way he inspired my thoughts. Miss how it was so free to drift from the love of a Hoosier team into a long dialogue of endless bends down a river of words in an untamed stream. Miss the laughter and the investment he put into attempting to understand whatever it is we create on the other side these pictures on the wall. What stupid fun it was. And how I miss it. And how I ramble and moan in a low cry like an abandon dog on a dark country road this cold night. The cars how they fly by but never stop in a heartless place where I once found sun and sand and warm waves.

  16. I posted twice over the last season and a half of Caoch Mallory’s prior track record at LSU and NM exactly as PB has. But it did not fit the biased posters agenda. It was easier to build an agenda against Mallory because it took a more work to research what took place at LSU and NM to find out the truth. AS PB stated LSU had an off year(immediately after there NC season)which is not acceptable at Baton Rogue and he and his co-D counterpart both were let go. NM HC Locksley who he coached beside as assistants at Maryland hired him for the DC job in Albuquerque. PB above precisely described the circumstances of the NM situation. The environment Mike Locksley personally created at NM was a debacle for all involved which Bob Davie is attempting to correct to this day. PB #13 was a needed post and without bias.

  17. HC- re post #13 by PB, I agree with your statement completely HC, “PB #13 was a needed post and without bias.” Both yours and PB#13 were very much needed to set some standards for thoughtful and careful research rather than ‘impressions’ are based on ‘biased agendas’.

  18. As one of the “fire Mallory crowd” I do have to concur with Tsao that KW handled the transition to Knorr well and admit that I got panicky when DMallory wasn’t terminated immediately post-season.

    HC, I acknowledge your research skills (or at least envy that you have time to look stuff up) but really, DMallory’s three years at IU was enough info for most of us; past glories can only carry one so far.

    H4H, interesting speculation that BKnight was fired to save IUBB from ten years of PKnight. Doubt that was the plan but sure works as silver-lining argument to those who still think it wasn’t high time for the General to be cashiered.

    Also, H4H, like a lot of people my age (55), you don’t get social media. Neither did I until I unexpectedly found myself working on the subject as part of my (group) M.S. thesis at the U. of Chgo. Peer-to peer social media is revolutionary for its ability circumvent the unidirectional info-feed from paid shills and establishment sources. Simply put, people trust what their friends and family tell them more than experts and paid flacks send out. (See Manny Teo.) I don’t use social media much at all in my personal life and it certainly has its pitfalls, but it (and its sister crowdsourcing) can be an astoundingly effective tool in many serious endeavors.

  19. davis-

    I’m sure you’re right about the “social” media thing. There’s a lot of things I don’t get. I still don’t understand how Twitter functions. And I’m still frustrated by the fact that I have 2000 channels on my cable package and I still rarely find anything I can stick with that interests me. I’m beginning to run out of time. I’m afraid I’ll be too old to ever visit all the channels before I die.

    I also don’t get class basketball brought in to ruin our storied high school tournament. Probably due to social media and all the unnecessary whining back and forth of things that need changed simply because bored people having nothing to do but exchange crappy ideas via far too easy of methods to spread stupidity in their thousands of tweets and texts and emails just ruin everything because they can’t cyber-tongue shut the hell up. But I digress….because I, thankfully, just don’t get it.

  20. davis, Any rightful info you fell into in your panic would be wasted.

    Oh, try researching, it subdues panic, substitutes confidence and it takes very little time.

  21. H4H- Oh, yeah, 2000 channels and nothing on! I hear you. At our house we sign up for cable/dish (or whatever the heck it is) every Sept. to get the Big Ten Network, and cancel it after the Pee-yew game. We save a lot of $$$ that way. Here’ hoping that I’ll have to extend my subscription in 2014!!!!

    Social media is just a tool; a hammer in the hands of a klutz is the same one used by a carpenter. How it’s used tells a lot about the user, but little about the tool itself.

    HC- not sure what you mean that research “substitutes confidence,” but after 20+ years of practicing my profession and two recent years of grad school, I’ve done my share of it. Thanks for doing the heavy lifting for us here!

  22. Didn’t do enough “research” to research Frank ‘n’ Dawgs.

    “At Frank ‘n’ Dawgs, how sausage is consumed tells a lot about the consumer, but little about the sausage itself,” said social media aficionado, Anthony Weiner.

  23. HC- Sorry to be obtuse but don’t understand how research “substitutes” confidence. Confidence can be a(poor) substitute for actually knowing what one is talking about. Research can bolster confidence, or in other cases undermine it.

    H4H- Poor Anthony. He’s probably thought about changing the pronunciation of his last name, but “Whiner” isn’t really an option. Of course, one is free to pronounce one’s name as one sees fit, so he could just pronounce it “Jones.”

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