In-game adjustments help settle defense

In each of the past two games, the first defensive possession hasn’t come easy for Indiana.

Ball State and Virginia each progressed downfield in an efficient manner, marching into IU territory and claiming points. But from there, the Hoosiers have shown the ability to adjust and clamp down.

For IU coach Tom Allen, that’s both encouraging and by design.

“You have that opening drive and you go through and you get a chance to see, formationally, what they’re doing and, schematically, where they’re trying to attack,” Allen said. “You get a pretty good feel for what they think they can do. You want to script for success on offense, so they’re gonna give you the formations and the plays out of those formations that they think they can have positive plays on.”

Virginia quarterback Bryce Perkins did much of the work on the Cavaliers’ 11-play, 71-yard touchdown drive to open the rainy Sept. 8 contest at Memorial Stadium. Perkins rushed for 51 of those yards and completed the drive with a one-yard touchdown pass to give UVA the early lead.

From there, Virginia’s next four possessions of the first half managed merely 40 yards on 17 plays.

The following week, Ball State settled for a field goal after opening the game with a 12-play 61-yard drive. The Cardinals’ next five possessions of the half produced 102 yards on 25 plays, and they only crossed midfield once in that span.

“You draw up all the (plays) that we thought gave us trouble,” Allen said of IU’s in-game adjustments. “You make a list on the white board that we have there with our guys. You go through each one of them and correct the (plays) we felt we didn’t make when it happened live. You do that again for the next drive and, from there on out, if something comes up that gives you trouble, you write it down and have an answer for it. You may adjust a certain technique, how you play a certain thing. You may adjust a call and how you do it, but we just work together as a staff and get it corrected.”

IU enters conference season ranked No. 5 in the Big Ten in total defense (322.7 yards per game). The Hoosiers’ pass defense ranks first (135.3 ypg), though that’s at least party attributable to the rainy conditions against Virginia. IU’s rush defense ranks No. 13 in the league at 187.3 yards per game.

“After that first series, it’s like sometimes teams can hit you with something we probably didn’t go over throughout the week,” cornerback A’Shon Riggins said. “So there’s always that sense of surprise. After we get our feet in the ground, we play 100 percent and do what we gotta do to get the job done.”

5 comments

  1. As a coach I know this is exactly how many winning games go. No matter how much you plan, until your players see the offense and you find anything new they are doing; you have to make adjustments to stop the opponent. Some times your plan falls on its face and as a coach you better come up with an answer quickly to change your defense before you lose the game. I really like that our coaches can adjust and put players in better positions to stop an offense. If IU can do a better job than the opposing coaching staffs we will win close games that we lost previously.

  2. I’ve always loved the term “in-game” adjustments…Where else are you going to adjust once the game begins? Isn’t it just “game” adjustments….or, more simply ‘adjustments?’
    And who’s “adjusting” when it’s not a game….? That’s called game planning. …though we could also make it redundant by calling it ‘out-of-game’ game planning.

  3. H4H right on point about terms that don’t make sense IE hot water heater. You would think professional writers and editors would know not to used certain terms but that makes reading fun.

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