4 keys to Indiana’s game at Michigan

1. Force Devin Gardner into trouble: The Michigan quarterback has struggled to achieve consistency in his final year in Ann Arbor. Gardner has been especially turnover prone, throwing 10 interceptions against six touchdowns. The Wolverines have failed to move the ball effectively both through the air and on the ground, while Gardner and backup Shane Morris have combined for one of the least efficient passing attacks in the conference, teaming for a 55 percent completion rate. Michigan’s offensive line has struggled, allowing 48 tackles for a loss and 17 sacks. Indiana hasn’t always been consistent with its ability to bring pressure this year, but it has had its share of encouraging moments. Flustering Gardner not only builds confidence for Indiana’s defense, it keeps IU quarterback Zander Diamont from playing a significant game of catch-up.

2. Allow Zander Diamont to get comfortable: Indiana offensive coordinator Kevin Johns said this week that he’s scaling back his playbook for Diamont. The Hoosiers went back to their basic installation plays from the preseason and branched out from there with whatever Diamont felt comfortable running. After a two-week preparation window afforded from the bye, Indiana will have some new wrinkles tailored to Diamont. The Wolverines are likely to key heavily on Tevin Coleman and force Diamont to beat them through the air and, if that’s the case, the smart plan would be to get Diamont settled in with what he knows and does well. Whether that includes some designed roll-outs or some quick and short throws, that appears to be Indiana’s best plan with its passing game.

3. Get consistent defensive stops: This is always a key for Indiana, but it is perhaps more important now. Diamont and the offense will need the help and the Hoosier defense could match up against Michigan’s stodgy and inconsistent offense. Michigan is last among Big Ten teams in scoring (20.4 points per game) and total offense (320 yards per contest), so IU will need to keep the Wolverines around those yearly averages. As long as Indiana can hold Michigan to 20 points, give or take, that should be enough for Diamont and company to hang around. This IU defense was fine at times against Michigan State, but it can’t afford to wilt late against a beatable offense like Michigan.

4. Start over: Forget that homecoming loss against the Spartans ever happened. Consider this the start of a new season for Indiana, with a two-week preparation period that functioned as an accelerated preseason. Indiana took time to refresh and recharge after its 3-4 first half, while reworking its offense with the hope of second-half success. There remains plenty of unknowns about this IU team moving forward, but the Hoosiers should approach the series of misfortunes that they were dealt with a nothing-to-lose mentality. It starts in Ann Arbor with a game that remains winnable. There still seems to be some real optimism around the North End Zone complex and no one is quitting on the season just yet. It’s also not like they’re the only team in this game facing unanswered questions. Will Michigan play for its coach after watching its athletic director resign Friday? Has all the drama finally taken its toll on the Wolverines’ program?

5 comments

  1. correction: he “resigned.”

    Happy Halloween everyone!! …Currently watching Clippers vs. Lakers….Wow…brings back memories of when Husky Tom(Seahawk Tom) would go after each other on IDS Basketblog…Tom was a huge Kobe and Lakers fan…I was rather obsessed with Eric Gordon…Tom used to do regular digs aimed at Eric Gordon(it was when all hate was cast upon anyone that played under Kelvin)…He enjoyed mocking me via E.J…..calling him my “surrogate son” and predicting E.J. would be forever cast into irrelevancy as a result of ending up on the Clippers.. Things sure change.. The LA irrelevant Bryant team giving away their future to a runaway ego…The Clippers now the team defining the future and carrying the hopes for any chance at the NBA Finals.. …It’s all rather haunting…And E.J…The kid seems to definitely carry a Sampson curse…So much talent tucked away at franchises looking to somehow become relevant….Injuries haven’t helped either.

    And then there’s that new owner of the Clippers….If you’re out there, somewhere, SeahawkTom, I just wanted to say that my most fun and rewarding blogging days were those days on Basketblog. It wasn’t like this place….We threw a lot of sticks and stones, but we always came out of the mess as friends. Miss you, old friend.

    Maybe you’re now a Cavs fan? LeBron, Irving, Love, …and that dude from St. Mary’s(won’t bother trying to spell his name….Belavedebola?).. They’ll be fun to watch.

    Here’s a special clip for you…(less than 10 minutes remaining for Halloween..better hurry). I stumbled on this clip a few days ago and thought it was funny as hell. Do you remember that one of my favorite flicks talked about on Basketblog was “Young Frankenstein“…?

    Downing’s 5th

  2. Notice how Kobe is suddenly taking control of this game and stunningly looking like a 26-year-old Kobe….? The power of D-5 ….Down with the Clippers…They effed over E.J.

  3. Oh, I can only imagine how Rich Rod feels today! As he prepares to lead his 11th ranked Arizona team against UCLA in a nationally televised game. He must at least have some sense of gratification, or perhaps feelings of vindication, that the people that ran him out of Ann Arbor for not being “a Michigan man,” and for not winning enough games, are now abandoning ship. The Michigan A.D. resigning in the middle of the football season is like a Captain being the first one to jump off when he realizes his ship is sinking? Seems kind of cowardly. I wonder if he negotiated a severance package before he resigned or if he has forfeited any remaining compensation?

    I wonder if Michigan football is going to endure the same fate that Tennessee has suffered since a few morons in UT administration decided to fire Phillip Fulmer, the only coach to lead UT in winning a BCS National Championship? Let’s see, Fulmer was 152 and 52 as UT’s head coach. That’s a winning percentage of about 75%, making him, at the time of his termination, the winningest coach is SEC history with over ten years of head coaching experience. They fired him a season after leading UT to the SEC Championship game! And who did UT replace Fulmer with? Lane Kiffin That worked out well, didn’t it? After firing Fulmer, UT hired three head coaches in five years. Their combined record is 30 – 36, for a winning percentage of 45%.

    Some people believe hubris is a sin, but everyone knows karma is a bitch!

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