What You Need To Know About The Indiana Defense
– The offense might return loaded with veterans. The defense? … Nope.
Only four starters are back from a defense that was one of IU’s best in a long, long time, finishing 27th in the nation overall and allowed just 25 points per game.
Four of the top five tacklers are gone, losing big tacklers Tegray Scales and Chris Covington from the linebacking corps, and leading tackler Chase Dutra from the secondary.
Dameon Willis was seventh on the team with 27 tackles, and now he has to be one of the leaders of the linebacking corps. There’s decent size and a lot of young talent, but Scales and Covington were great.
– The secondary should be the strength of the defense if it can start picking off passes. The Hoosiers came up with just five interceptions, and two of them came from LB Tegray Scales.
The biggest plus is the return of Marcelino Ball, a big-hitting safety who was lost early last year, but gets another year of eligibility. He’ll work at the hybrid Husky position – part linebacker, part safety – and Jonathan Crawford is back at one of the other safety spots after finishing fourth on the team in tackles. Andre Brown is a good-sized corner, but losing Rashard Fant on the other side hurts.
– Jacob Robinson is the lone returning starter on a line that did a great job of getting into the backfield, coming up with 36 sacks on the season and 88 tackles for loss. 22.5 of the sack production is done, but Allen Stallings is a decent-looking end option who came up with three sacks – he’s ready to take on a bigger role. This group can move, but there isn’t a whole lot of mass on the inside.
Biggest Key To The Indiana Defense
Figure out how to start taking the ball away. The Hoosier defense was terrific, the sacks were there, and the talent was in place. However, even with everything else in place, the turnovers weren’t. The defense came up with just five interceptions – just one in the first seven games – and without a fumble recovery in five of the first six games.
With a young defense in place, it’ll be hard enough just to try repeating the overall success of last season, but if the athletic group can start making more big plays, it’ll make up for a slew of other issues.