Wilson happier with defensive results in win over FIU #iufb

A week ago, Kevin Wilson lamented the direction of his Indiana defense, voicing displeasure with the schemes and play calling that led to another porous showing.

As an offensive-minded coach, Wilson admitted that while he didn’t have all the answers, he knew what a respectable defense looked like. Among his biggest peeves was the movement from his front seven, which seemed to spend more time running sideways than creating a vertical push.

The defensive appearance in a 36-22 win over Florida International was a bit more pleasing. Indiana’s pass rush, especially, still has room to grow, but Saturday’s effort stood more in line with Wilson’s expectations.

“When we watched the tape last week with the defense I said, ‘I don’t like the number of times our D-linemen, linebackers are going sideways,” Wilson said. “‘We play more up the field, and I’m not telling you what to do, but I want to go more that way than this way. I don’t want to be sitting here not showing two gap and looking. I just want to get guys to be more aggressive.’ We’ve got a lot to clean up on, but that was the mindset.”

And it showed from the beginning. On FIU’s first offensive play of the night, Ralph Green III — who started at nose tackle — batted down a pass at the line. By the end of the night, Nick Mangieri and Darius Latham each recorded sacks, giving the Hoosiers more positive vibes about a pass rush that must continue to progress to ease the burden on a youthful secondary.

“We practiced just that, coming up into the offense and playing on their side of the ball,” Mangieri said.

Mangieri was Indiana’s star of the game after setting up a pair of touchdowns in the second half, including the game-winning score after forcing a fourth-quarter fumble and recording his second sack in as many games. Mangieri also recovered the first fumble of his career a quarter earlier.

Indiana scored touchdowns off all three Panther turnovers, sealing the win with freshman safety Jameel Cook’s 96-yard interception return with four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. It came on a fourth-and-goal play at the Indiana 2, two plays after an athletic move by linebacker Dawson Fletcher prevented a game-tying score. FIU quarterback Alex McGough went looking for tight end Jonnu Smith in the back of the end zone, but Fletcher dropped back, leapt and tipped the pass off target.

“I thought Dawson Fletcher’s play was one of the huge plays in the game,” Wilson said. “He had great anticipation and recovery to get his hand on the ball, and that was awesome for a fourth-year player.”

Indiana allowed 406 yards of offense, 92 of which came after Cook’s game-clinching pick-six, but made the necessary week-to-week progression needed to build confidence ahead of next week’s matchup with high-flying Western Kentucky.

“I just wanted to be aggressive and call up the things that could give our kids a chance to be more assertive,” Wilson said. “We have a long way to go, but we took a look at a few things to clean up and we’ll keep working on that.”

One comment

  1. Coach Wilson is right about the sideways movement of the defensive front. If they were involved in a slant they clearly have no concept of gap control because they would slant right and keep going right even when blockers were driving them to the right. It really created a pile up if we guessed right about the play but created a huge hole for the runner if we had the wrong slant on. 50 teams that run slants and angles have gap responsibilities and a good DL knows how to play their gap responsibilities.

    The FIU game look more like the play I saw on film from Spring practices, Coaches have made real strides in attack and shed techniques with the players. I hope future games show the results even more and IU becomes even better about attacking offensive groups creating havoc in their blocking schemes and passing games.

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