Previously: The Offense
Resources: My charting, IU game notes, IU roster, Bill C profile, CFBstats Also a huge thank you to MGoArchive for providing the footage.
Tom Allen's single-year turnaround of #CHAOSTEAM can't be understated. It earned him the head coaching job when Kevin Wilson was let go. Last year proved it was no fluke; Allen's defense finished just outside the Top 25 in most fancystats, and littered my diagram with stars.
This year was expected to be the rebuild, Discount 2017 Michigan, if you will, when the Indiana Hills and Longs and Bushes and Winovichia replace the inherited Lewises, Striblings, Gedeons and Tacos, take a step back because they're all sophomores, but portend great things once Allen's guys in Allen's system are all shaving. So far, those guys are all no-shows. Other than some part-time starters in a shaky secondary everyone on the field either was in Bloomington or committed to be before Allen was.
The film: What if Michigan was an up-tempo spread team with a stand-and-deliver quarterback who got the ball out quickly to his slot receivers all the time? And then imagine if it went against Indiana's defense? What would that even be like? I was wondering the same thing so I found…okay you got me. Also I've been using Tom Allen's defense as a stand-in for Michigan's all year so I didn't bother wasting precious The Game scouting time for another game.
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Whereas last year Indiana had a star on every level this year each position group has a problem. The official depth chart has NT Mike Barwick starting over NT Ja'Merez Bowen but both rotate equally, with Syracuse transfer NT Kayton Samuels occasionally spelling them. DT Jerome Johnson split time last year with DT Jacob Robinson who is expected back for this game. None of these guys is liable to do more than push back and maybe knock a lineman upfield. Ditto SDE Gavin Everett, but his pass-rushing freshman backups are a huge liability on standard downs. WDE Allen Stallings and backup WDE Nile Sykes have just 4 sacks and 8.5 TFLs between them.
Linebacker issues were expected, and are extant. MLB Dameon Willis is that undersized guy we played last year and gets positive press for being second on the team in tackles, but PFF (54 grade on the year) hates him, and my charting (+6/-10) was hit-and-miss, with lots of missed tackles and coverage issues. Both of his ILB mates might be out. WLB Reakwon Jones (+10/-13 in this game) is volatile: a knife when he knows where to go and hesitant when he's got to read something. He is listed as questionable and the less likely to be available. Backup WLB T.D. Roof, a Georgia Tech transfer, returned from his own ding against Maryland but is back to questionable this week. He's also hesitant and tends to wander out of his lanes. The next guy on the depth chart, LB Thomas Allen, is a redshirt freshman and played some in this game but I couldn't get much of a read on him. LB Micah McFadden is a true freshman and "Husky" #HybridSpacePlayerTerms Marcelino Ball is a serious athlete but much less of a threat now as a cover 2 slot defender, which exposes his tendency to bust assignments. Backup HSP Cam Jones is another in Ball's mold.
The corners are all guys who've started opposite Rashard Fant, and none are Rashard Fant. CB Andre Brown is better at Fant's boundary role than he was playing in all that space. The two guys who used to start ahead of him, CB A'Shon Riggins and CB Raheem Layne have to be driving Allen mad: Riggins gives up a ton of cushion while Layne tries to pick off everything. Both strategies are justifiable in this defense because they're often covering for SS Khalil Bryant, a lost puppy who was finally replaced last week with redshirt freshman SS Bryant Fitzgerald, who is a younger lost puppy. Classmate Juwan Burgess was supposed to win that job, but has been grooming instead to replace FS Jonathan Crawford, who has been starting so long he features on Jehu Chesson's highlight reel, and is back to his photobombing pictures of other peoples' touchdowns ways. If CB Jaylin Williams (#23) steps on the field throw at him immediately.
[after THE JUMP: meh]