IU looking to make ‘short-term’ corrections during bye
By Andy Proffet Post-Tribune correspondent October 22, 2013 6:50PM
The Big Number
5 — Consecutive Big Ten losses for Indiana in which an opposing player has earned Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors. The Hoosiers closed out 2012 with losses to Wisconsin (Montee Ball), Penn State (Matt McGloin) and Purdue (Robert Marve), and Michigan State’s Jeremy Langford and Michigan’s Jeremy Gallon have earned honors this season.
The Extra Point
At least there was one positive accolade for the Hoosiers, who saw kicker Mitch Ewald win his second Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week award.
It’s the first weekly conference honor for a Hoosier since Cody Latimer shared offensive accolades Nov. 5, 2012.
Updated: October 22, 2013 11:18PM
BLOOMINGTON — There won’t be any wholesale changes coming any time soon for Indiana’s defense.
In Kevin Wilson’s estimation, it’s too deep into the season to make drastic changes to the Big Ten’s worst defense.
“You’ve got to make sure you don’t start changing to make changes,” Wilson said during Tuesday’s Big Ten coaches’ conference call.
With the Hoosiers (3-4, 1-2 Big Ten) entering their second and final bye week of the season, Wilson said the focus will be taking advantage of the open date to try to clean some things up to make a strong run down the stretch.
IU’s bye week comes after the defense allowed historic numbers — a Big Ten record 369 receiving yards by Jeremy Gallon, a school record 503 yards passing by Devin Gardner — in Saturday’s 63-47 loss at Michigan. But it’s the IU offense that Wilson has issues with.
“Our offense needs to play a lot better,” he said, pointing out the two fourth-quarter turnovers that spoiled any chances of an IU comeback against the Wolverines.
“(We’re looking at) short-term things that are correctable,” he said.
While Wilson has a point about the offense’s mistakes — IU trailed 49-47 before Michigan turned the two interceptions into touchdowns — the defense has some mistakes to fix as well.
Indiana is last in the Big Ten in points allowed (37.1 ppg), rushing defense (221 ypg), pass defense (277.1 ypg), and first downs allowed (26.4 per game).
But Wilson said it’s going to take short-term fixes, rather than massive adjustments, at this point in the year.
“To me, you’ve got to continue to play faster, more physical, more sound, and to me that’s where you can make too many changes and adjust too much,” he said. “We’re playing with so many young players.”
Four of IU’s defensive starters against Michigan were freshmen or sophomores, including safety Antonio Allen. News broke Tuesday that Allen will miss the rest of the season after tearing his ACL.
It’s another blow to a team that has allowed at least 35 points in all but two games this season; notably, both games Wilson mentioned when talking about instances where IU’s defense has performed better than the offense.
The Hoosiers didn’t allow an offensive touchdown in a 42-10 win over Bowling Green, and held Penn State to 70 yards rushing on 38 attempts after the first bye week.
“Our first bye week, we focused more on ourselves than our next opponent, and we’ll do the same right now,” Wilson said.
“Figure out what you’re doing well, accentuate that, and figure out what you’re not doing well and why.”