IU now to hire Kevin Peoples as DL coach

Indiana has again decided on a new defensive line coach, and this time it’s Tulane’s Kevin Peoples, according to a source.

Peoples has been with the Green Wave since 2016. He had previous stops at Arkansas State (2002-10), Arkansas (2010-12), UAB (2013), and Georgia Southern (2014-15).

This is the Hoosiers’ second attempt at replacing former line coach Mark Hagen, who is now at Texas. IU originally pegged Michigan State’s Ron Burton for the D-line job, but there was a change of heart and he remained in East Lansing.

While Peoples doesn’t come to IU from a Power 5 school, he has demonstrated an ability to increase productivity from the defensive line. At Tulane, the defense line produced just 11 sacks in 2017. The next year, the Green Wave’s line came away with 25.5 sacks. As a team, Tulane racked up 41 sacks, which ranked third all-time in program history.

Tulane’s 3.15 sacks per game led the American Athletic Conference and ranked eighth nationally.

There is no direct overlap for IU coach Tom Allen and Peoples in their respective resumes, but they have run in the same circles. Allen was at Arkansas State in 2011, just after Peoples (2002-10) left the Red Wolves for Arkansas.

Allen then moved on to Ole Miss in 2012, so they would have remained in the same conference. That year, the Razorbacks ranked in the top 25 nationally in sacks. Arkansas’ rush defense was in the top 20.

Peoples mentored an NFL draft pick at Arkansas State, too. Alex Carrington was a third-round pick of the Buffalo Bills in 2010. Carrington was one of three two-time All-Sun Belt selections during Peoples’ time there, including  Corey Williams (2002, 2003) and Jon Bradley (2002, 2003). Williams and Bradley both spent time in the NFL, as well, and another understudy, Bryan Hall, was on the Baltimore Ravens’ Super Bowl-winning squad in 2012.

Peoples also had two NFL draft picks at Tulane, Ade Aruna (Vikings, 2018) and Tanzel Smart (Rams, 2017). During his time at Arkansas, the line featured future pros Trey Flowers and Jake Bequette.

Peoples is a graduate of Carroll College (Montana), where he later began his college coaching career under Bob Petrino Sr. 

12 comments

  1. Welcome aboard Coach Peoples.

    Don’t know of any other Montana natives that played in the NFL other than Doug Betters, and he was a tough son of a gun. Hopefully Coach Peoples instills that same toughness in his troops.

    He appears to have been successful in the SEC at Arkansas as a DL coach in 2011 and 2012, so going against Big 10 conference teams shouldn’t be overwhelming.

    Good hire, and now IU can prepare for spring practice with a full complement of coaches.

  2. At least not a ‘knee jerk’ decision. Apparently one of a handful on campus for interviews. Noteworthy that he bailed on Bobby Petrino at WKU 7 years ago at WKU, after a month. In retrospect, that might be a positive thing. At this point, I’m comfortable with CTA’s decision making.
    My concern is no real history in the region. Let’s hope it works out.

    1. Brad,
      If you are talking about no history to recruit in the region, it may be a concern. If we are talking about the ability to coach at a high level, I don’t have that much concern. The 2 years he coached the DL at Arkansas were the best 2 years the school had under Petrino winning 10 and 11 games which is tough in the SEC west. On the recruiting front, if Arkansas remains the train wreck it has been for several years now, there is some talent there and Peoples has a lot of in state experience. I would say TA is somewhat aware of his capabilities having both coached against each one year in the SEC west.

    1. It’s been a very trying off season. Hope they can wash off all of the setbacks with a good Spring and Summer. Many challenges ahead for the program.

      1. It has certainly been an interesting off season BD,

        I am wondering if the changes just may have been for the better. IUFB certainly has more staff familiar with the Wommack defensive system with Jones, and can’t help but believe Peoples would have a certain amount of understanding, if for no other reason, than a purely professional basis. His AR DL’s wouldn’t have been preparing for the Ole Miss’ defense but there had to be a certain amount of understanding. I actually am hoping to see a jump in the IUFB defensive capabilities this fall.

        The real question for me is can we keep the QB healthy and a quality backup ready. If so, and the ball bounces IUFB’s way, it really does have the potential for a “breakout” season this fall. Can’t remember which commentator/writer said it last fall, but he said with MP under center the IU offense was a “different animal.” I took that in the most positive of contexts.

        Not saying there won’t be challenges, but if they can be overcome, could be a lot fun this fall.

        1. Good luck keeping Penix healthy. We have people calling IU Basketball “fragile.”

          Here’s fragile: A place as historically dominant as Indiana Football still having on their hopes hinging on the health of a third year quarterback who is so “fragile” that he’s yet so take a snap in the second half a season.

          And given that statement, how important are coaching hires? Everything they do (along with every new recruit) rests on the wing and a prayer that Penix can hold up better than a No. 2 pencil facing the best BigTen defensive fronts and linebackers?

          And we call our hoops program fragile? And then we’ve barely had a glimpse of Tuttle? Sounds like Hoosier Football. Unrealistic high hopes and and zero Plan B if we drop one dinner plate.

          Getting to bowls with steady and ready Ramsey may have saved a head coach from a hot seat…but what was the opportunity cost? Next year now rests on a #2 pencil with no back-up who has an ounce of experience. No, that’s not a fragile situation. More like standing on the edge of a crumbly cliff.

        2. We had 5 really big losses, and none of them will be easy to replace. Each one was a key part of the team, and it will be very hard to not feel the loss of at least two or three of them in the Fall. Right now, I can’t say the replacement for any of the 5 are better than the person they replaced, with maybe one exception. Tough off season.

  3. This looks like a good hire based on coach’s success at improving DL at previous stops. I also like he was one of the two interviews when IU chose coach Burton so that this coach was part of the original options. It is good to hear IU has their staff together in time to be ready for Spring practices. Coach Peoples has a good track record and experience recruiting in the South which should help IU’s recruiting very good players from the area.

  4. Generally, I believe an assistant coaching job with IU FB is better for candidates that are on the rise (up and comers) as compared to those who have held the same position at top Power-five conference programs. I generally believe a person is more motivated if he/she believes the new job is a major step up in their career as compared to those who see the new job as a step sideways or even a step down. And from a psychological and financial perspective, it’s better for IU if the coach being hired is getting a significant increase in pay as compared to one that is taking a pay cut, which may have been the case with Burton. I don’t yet know what IU is paying Peoples, but I’ll bet it is a lot more money than Tulane was paying him! If IU pays Peoples what it was paying Hagen ($410,000 per), he’s got to be thrilled to be IU’s new D-line coach.

  5. Since Tulane is a private school, the salaries of their assistant FB coaches are not included in USA Today’s 2019 Coaching Compensation database.

  6. I saw a short video on Peoples coaching the DL in his previous spot at Tulane. He is a detail guy that relates well to the players. The more I see about him the better I feel about IU’s DL this year. It would be nice to see the DL apply pressure to the QB without needing stunting LBs and DBs. If the DL can develop to get pressure on the QBs then any stunting will be even more effective. I think IU has players to get pressure on the QB with the players coming back and Lewis may push for playing time as freshman.

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