Watching the Indiana Hoosiers play defense this year has been like watching a bad American Idol audition, evidenced again yesterday in a bowl-hopes ending 42-14 loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes. The saddest part about the performance is that they are taking themselves seriously. It’s gone beyond the point of needing upgrades; it’s now sank to the level of being beyond repair and needs to be replaced.
Doug Mallory, Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson‘s defensive coordinator, needs to be replaced. Indiana is allowing their opponents to score 83 percent of the time they get into the Hoosier red zone. If you translate that level of deficiency into other areas of the game for a player, that player would lose his job. If quarterback Nate Sudfield only completed 17 percent of his passes, for instance, he would soon find himself on the bench.
Replacing Mallory is just the beginning, however. In fairness, Mallory hasn’t been the one on the field all season blowing assignments and missing tackles. Personnel upgrades all over the field for Indiana on defense are necessary. The Hoosier coaching staff is up against it when it comes to recruiting based on Indiana’s football reputation, but if Wilson wants to keep his job, they must do a better job of recruiting and developing talent on the defensive side.
There are few defenses in college football today that are so bad that they take their own offenses out of their game plans, and Indiana’s is one of them. Because the Hoosiers allow so many yards (529 on average) and points (39.1), Indiana is forced to try to score a touchdown on every drive as quickly as it can to try to keep up. Perpetually playing catch-up sets a team behind before it even gets started.
Indiana can’t maintain their status quo on the defensive side of the ball and expect to improve. The defense has gotten so bad, that it’s now taking away from what would otherwise be a very capable offense’s chances to score points. If the Hoosiers want to compete in the Big Ten on a serious level, then serious action needs to be taken in the interest of improving their defense.