Larry McDaniel done as IU defensive line coach #iufb

The defensive coaching shuffle continues at Indiana.

The program announced Monday that defensive line coach Larry McDaniel will not return next season, making him the second Kevin Wilson assistant to be let go within the last month.

McDaniel, who played nose tackle at IU from 1989-92 and served as a senior captain, is gone after two seasons on Wilson’s staff. He replaced another IU alumnus, Mark Hagen, in 2014 after spending the previous three seasons in the same position at Bowling Green.

“We want to thank Larry for his contributions to our program,” Wilson said in a statement. “He has represented IU well as a coach and former player. We appreciate Larry’s efforts and wish him and his family the very best.”

McDaniel’s departure comes less than a month after Wilson took another significant step toward trying to revamp and fix a sub-standard defense. Last month, Wilson fired defensive coordinator Brian Knorr after two seasons and hired Tom Allen, an Indiana native most recently employed in the same position at South Florida, as his replacement.

Allen is shifting IU’s defensive alignment from Knorr’s 3-4 base to his preferred 4-2-5, which is more tailored to stop the spread offense.

Asked at his introductory press conference whether he expects to have input on potential staff changes, Allen deferred to his boss.

“I think that’s up to coach Wilson and what he decides to do,” Allen said. “Right now, the bottom line is we’ll take the guys we have, get them coached up and get everything the way we want it to be. That’s the plan.”

McDaniel’s departure also comes after Indiana struggled to retain and recruit players to its defensive line during the recent recruiting cycle. IU saw a trio of decommitments from three-star defensive linemen before signing three-star Illinois defensive end Allen Stallings and three-star Mississippi defensive tackle Jerome Johnson last week.

Indiana finished seventh in the Big Ten last season with 2.3 sacks per game, while recording 30 total sacks — seven more than it did in 2014. McDaniel also helped former defensive end Bobby Richardson earn honorable mention All-Big Ten status in 2014. Richardson now plays for the New Orleans Saints. Defensive tackle Darius Latham and top pass rusher Nick Mangieri also earned conference honorable mention honors in 2015.

“I want (to) thank the IU football family for a memorable 2 seasons,” McDaniel tweeted Monday. “I want to especially thank the D Line for embracing me and my coaching philosophy. Go forth and do great things.”

After losing Mangieri to graduation and Latham to the NFL Draft, it’s uncertain which Hoosiers will line up on the defensive front next season.

Now it’s also uncertain who will coach them.

28 comments

  1. Is Wilson planning to replace all the defensive coaches (not that I’d blame him), or is this one of those, “hey guys, you now have a new boss and its up to him whether you stay on or go arrangements? Is Wilson pulling the trigger, or did he delegate the decision to Allen? The article suggests that the three players that de-committed late may have hurt McDaniel. Or did the players de-commit because Allen was hired and they were uncertain about him bringing in the 4-2-5 defense?

    I expect to hear Wilson announce the hiring of a new Defensive Line coach within the next two days.

  2. I just don’t get the whole coaching thing.
    I would think any coach should know about his sport to work with the players he’s dealt, rather than expecting them to fit into his own favorite defensive scheme.
    Perhaps I just don’t know enough about football, but this coaching merry-go-round doesn’t make sense to me.

  3. McDaniel followed Jon Fabris at the end of the 2013 season. Mark Hagen left after the 2012 season.

    I can’t begin to speculate who will be hired but I bet it is someone Coach Allen wants badly. Will we dip into UCF coaching again?

  4. Nat, I’m sure you can appreciate the fact that some defenses are based on big hulking linemen to clog up the middle with big linebackers to fill the gaps and others require multiple ‘hybrid’ guys with a linebacker/strong safety body for an attacking type defense.

    An offensive lineman that might be ideal for a Power I or a Veer offense might be completely out of place in the Spread.

    It’s interesting how people embrace new offensive paradigms but believe that some version of a 43 or 44 is the only way to play defense.

  5. Seems like if KW was making the change, he would have done so when he cut Brian Knorr loose. This looks like it was Coach Allen’s call and hopefully it was because he has an upgrade already in mind. Probably best to make those changes now so they can go into Spring practices with a unified staff.

  6. Chet;
    Your last sentence seems to capture the gist of what I’m asking.

    From the article: “Allen is shifting IU’s defensive alignment from Knorr’s 3-4 base to his preferred 4-2-5, which is more tailored to stop the spread offense.”
    Shouldn’t Allen wait until he gets here and see what scheme works best for his IU defenders?

    That’s my question.

  7. I get your point but I’m guessing he was hired because of his expertise with the 4-2-5.

    I think the decision has already been made. The 4-2-5 is the direction the IU is going in.

  8. When coaches are hired in they use the system they believe in. Other than a few players there are enough athletes to play the 4-2-5 and Coach Allen understand how to use it to have a good defense. Asking why not see what you have is like asking coach Wilson to run the wishbone after all we have enough very good RB and a great OL. It boils down to what the coach knows best; in many ways high school coaches are the most innovative coaches. We had to adjust to the players at our schools which is why I changed offenses and defenses throughout my career. In large schools and colleges you have the luxury of having athletes that work in your best scheme. I had schemes I preferred and with the athletes to run the offense and defense I would have gone with my schemes.

    Coach Allen is doing what every college coordinator does and is expected to do. Notice Coach Wilson has pushed any particular scheme but has pushed an attitude from the defense he wants. I hate to see coach McDaniel leave as I thought the D front was much better since he came. However, a big part of a college coaching is recruiting [the big reason I never considered trying to make the jump] and if coach McDaniel couldn’t pull in the recruits that hurts the defense. I hope all these shows the defense the need to play much better and how serious their role is to the team.

  9. Well, Allen better stabilize and improve IU’s defense, and he better stay at IU for a while, because if not, Wilson’s going to have trouble hiring defensive coaches in the future. Three DCs and a lot of defensive assistants in six years looks like a revolving door. Wilson’s becoming a good head coach, but clearly defense was a big blind spot for him. Let’s hope it does not become his achilles heal. Hard for me to lay the blame for less-than-ideal recruiting of defensive players at the feet of coaches like McDaniel when any blind man could see the turmoil in IU’s defensive coaching staff.

  10. Po, didn’t you essentially list the job requirements for not just Indiana, but any Defensive Coordinator? It’s literally their job to build a good defense. 🙂

  11. Po, I agree that we need to see good improvement in the defense this coming year as it is a revolving door right now. As long as Coach Allen creates the atmosphere on D Coach Wilson wants I believe he will stay for a long time. As a head coach Wilson doesn’t control the defense or their practices. It was good that this past year he spent more time watching defensive practices and willing to make a change to get the right DC in. People that question Coach Wilson’s coaching ability having been paying attention [every coach makes some boned head call now and then]. I certainly hope coach Allen is the right DC as IU has a great offense that needs a solid defense.

    I think if the defense improves IU will improve the quality of recruits they pull in. We have commented here before if the defense was just average IU would win 9 or 10 games a year with the offense they put on the field. I hope DC Allen creates that defense and provides stability on the defensive side for a change. I know the players are going to be more fired up under Coach Allen and I image he will start attracting better defensive talent in the future, I sure hope they name the new DL soon.

  12. I think we’re saying the same thing, guys. Wilson seems to really be blossoming into a very solid head coach, and I appreciate what he has done for IU Football. But with the new contract comes higher expectations of his program’s performance. And in order to meet those expectations, Wilson has got to upgrade and stabilize his defensive coaching staff. As he himself said recently, recruiting is about building relationships. If he’s going to get better defensive players, he needs to have defensive coaches that are around long enough to build those relationships with HS coaches and their most talented players. Wilson can’t afford for Allen or any of his assistants to be below average in either recruiting or developing players.

  13. Double Down, I’m with you. It seems like the HC hires a DC and “poof,” presto-changeo you have a defense. Or not. I don’t think anyone expects instant results (well, most people don’t). Knorr looked good on paper, but year two was certainly a regression so he’s gone. Allen looks good on paper. The IUD is so lousy that improving (i.e., moving up from the bottom decile) in year one should not be that difficult. Shouldn’t it? I guess we’ll see.

  14. Po, very good post and I agree with what you are saying. Coach Wilson is improving and understanding he has to make changes if things are improving in recruiting or performance on the field. The staff is doing great job identifying OL players that may not be the best in the country but developing them into some of the best college players in the country. Wilson is expecting the defensive staff to do the same thing and I hope the changes show that this is happening on the D.

    Davis, I agree it shouldn’t be too hard to move IU D up from the bottom this year. What a change it will be for the success of the program if it is improved to go along with a potent offense.

  15. davis, you are spot on with your latest post. When you’re at the very bottom, modest improvement is huge! If IU’s offensive prowess continues, and there’s no reason to believe it won’t under Wilson and Johns, then having something less than a terrible defense suggests that IU will win more games. If IU’s defense had just made one play toward the end of the Michigan game, IU would have won that game. But the defense faltered time after time after time. We’re not asking for Alabama’s defense next season, but how about something between that and the University of the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mothers? Just show signs of real improvement. That’s all we’re asking.

  16. This comment from some on-line college football publication; “Hagen is an Indiana native and a former Hoosiers assistant, but it seems obvious he was pushed out at A&M. You do not willingly leave Texas A&M for an assistant’s job at Indiana.”

    Wow, talk about arrogance and an inflated opinion of the program! The person who wrote that smarmy comment seems to have forgotten that Texas A&M is not the pinnacle of college football! How about those highly talented quarterbacks that couldn’t transfer fast enough, not to mention the other assistant coaches who have left since the end of the season. Can’t beat Alabama? Just scapegoat the position coaches so that the head coach and top assistants can keep their 7-digit compensation packages a couple years longer. Same tactic used by corporate CEOs when they need to divert attention away from their failures and mismanagement. Welcome back Coach Hagen!

  17. Po, too many think IU isn’t a very good team because they can’t see past the record or the past. IU is on an upswing and only need a better defense to get even better defensive players to become really solid. IU’s offense is one of the better ones in the country and with the right coaching [I hope we have it now] the defense can become better and each year. I really think the new 4-2-5 fits IU’s defensive players better. I really hope the returning DL players that move up show everyone they can do the job. We have quality players at LB and DB the DBs just need to play better now that they have experience plus we have very good players added to the DBs for 2016.

  18. v13, I define better coaching as being able to recruit better players and then develop them to their full potential. Wilson has done a great job of that for the offense, but he has not had a defensive coaching staff that could do that on a consistent basis since he arrived. There have been a few exceptions, a few four-star recruits, but not nearly enough size, speed or talent on defense. A couple years ago we had 215 pound middle linebackers, and they just got worn out before the season was half over. And the fundamentals of most of the defensive players, like tackling, shedding blocks, pursuit angles, etc. was mostly terrible. No place to go but up.

  19. Just for the record Po, there have been no 215 lb. mike LB play at IU in the last 4 years I am aware of. Maybe at strong side but not the middle. You repeatedly get hung up on size.

  20. No pun intended, right HC? But let’s not quibble. Can we agree that many of IU’s linebackers in the past five seasons were undersized relative to other Big Ten defenses, and that generally IU’s defensive players have been smaller, by position, than most other Big Ten defenders? Keep in mind that Wilson has, on numerous occasions, referenced IU’s previous lack of size as a problem that needed to be addressed. It’s not just my opinion, HC.

    As for size, coming out of High School, I was considered too short for D-1 schools. Although I had the speed and frame, my “size” limited my opportunities. I grew three + inches between the beginning of of my senior year in HS and the end of my freshman year at IU. While it was probably a blessing and prevented me from beat to death, if I’d had my current height entering my senior year in High School, I dare say I would have had different opportunities to continue playing football. For some reason at the time, playing football for schools like The Sisters of the Sorrowful Mothers University did not interest me. One of my High School teammates, who was by far the worst O-lineman on our team, but was 6’8″ and weighed 230 pounds as a senior, was the only O-lineman on our team that received a D-1 scholarship offer. In fact, he collect about 20 offers during his senior season. He started three years for Iowa State with a playing weight of 280 pounds (in the late 70’s). Surely you know that in football, size matters.

  21. PO- Your post re: “comment from some on-line college football publication” is what my heart says, too, but a lot of commenters (is that a word?) would probably have said that about any coach who left any school to work at IUFB. v13 is right about the FB world looking at IU’s record and past- what else is there to go by? IUFB’s 6-7 record last year is mediocre, and look how excited we are. LONG LIVE IUFB!

  22. If you cannot go .500 in your conference, you should not get a bowl invitation….you should not get an invitation to March Madness. Beating up on cupcakes should not be the measure of progress and baselines for contract extensions.

    I flipped on retaining Wilson after I more thoroughly thought about his conservative approach in the Pinstripe Bowl….I thought he left his gunslinger holster back in Bloomington. He played it to a safe contradiction in a moment so suited for anchoring his brand as a coach that abandons the conventional…I remember asking myself “You’ve made your bowl game….What in the hell do you have to lose going for it on 4th and long now..?” We were the better team in that game. We should have played fast and loose. The game should not have hinged on the shoulders of a kicker. But Wilson wanted that one extra vote of confidence to get his extension….He didn’t want to play to his own identity and strengths….He turned what should have been a true Hoosier ‘coming out party’ into a “respectable” loss.

    And that’s why, upon further review, I thought a change in direction was best for the head coaching position at Indiana. How many games has Wilson lost because he refused to take the conventional approach? But on our biggest national stage in years, he dialed back the oven. tempered all risk, and slow-roasted a high-powered offense back into blasé boring football. As I watched a potentially game-winning field goal go wide, I thought of how money makes some weak in the knees.

  23. HC, straight from The Hoosier Scoop, I present you IU’s starting linebackers from IU’s fall, 2012 Football depth chart. So you were right. There were no 215 pound “mike” linebackers listed as starters. But Flo Hardin played at 208 pounds! Regardless, when the average weight of a team’s three starting linebackers is 219 pounds, they’re too small for Big Ten football.
    Forisse “Flo” Hardin, 6-1, 208, So./So.
    David Cooper, 6-1, 225, Jr./So.
    Griffen Dahlstrom, 6-3, 226, Sr./Jr.

  24. What did Mike Singletary weigh in college?

    Grant Teaff might not have been able to predict that an undersized linebacker from the Houston ghettos would become one of the most dominant defensive players in the history of the game.

    But when Baylor assistant coach Ron Harms brought back film of a Worthing High School linebacker named Mike Singletary, “I honestly looked at about 10 plays and shut the projector off. What jumped out at me was his intensity,” Teaff said. ….[…….]

    But at Baylor, other than the mind-boggling tackle stats, Singletary’s claim to fame was singlehandedly breaking Baylor’s equipment budget by cracking 16 helmets in four years. Football team managers made a point of keeping four or five extra helmets on hand, just in case.

  25. Po, If you had not made up #’s to embellish your narrative my last 2 posts and your last post would not have been called for. Yes you are very hung up on size. It is just 1 thing, it is not everything.

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