Fee Fi Foe Film: Indiana Defense

Fee Fi Foe Film: Indiana Defense

Submitted by Ace on October 11th, 2017 at 1:52 PM

protip: avoid this guy

There were two full Indiana games from this season against FBS competition available online: Virginia and Penn State. Guess which game I went with to get the best representation of how IU would fare against an offense of Michigan's quality?

(Sigh.) Hello, Hoos.

To add to the depressing nature of this post, Indiana completely shut down Virginia, ceding only 3.5 yards per play by eliminating the run and forcing UVA to dink and dunk their way to any success. Virginia drives in this game before garbage time:

  • seven three-and-outs
  • two turnovers on downs on drives under 50 yards
  • 7 plays, 20 yards, field goal
  • 8 plays, 55 yards, touchdown, drive extended via iffy DPI call
  • 10 plays, 75 yards, touchdown, drive featured two turnovers (one a strip/sack/touchdown) that were negated by extremely dubious penalties

This was a thrashing of the #62 S&P offense in the country. Michigan ranks 69th, which in this case is not nice. Not nice at all.

Personnel: Seth's diagram [click to embiggen]:

On Michigan's side, we're no longer pretending to know the starting running back, and we've replaced Nolan Ulizio with Juwann Bushell-Beatty at right tackle after that change was made during the MSU game.

Indiana is dealing with some injuries, mainly in their secondary. Cornerback A'Shon Riggins and hybrid safety Marcelino Ball are "questionable at best" according to coach Tom Allen. Nose tackle Nate Hoff, who missed last week with an undisclosed injury, is expected to play this weekend; IU was being cautious last week given their matchup with Charleston Southern.

Base Set? 4-2-5, and they'll stay in that personnel against most opposition looks—the main variation was lifting a safety for another lineman when UVA was in a goal-to-go situation. As Seth noted in last year's FFFF, it essentially functions as a 3-4:

Base Set? A 4-2-5 that’s spiritually more like a 3-4. I pulled this from the MSU tape to show you what it tends to look like against how Michigan lines up:

The “husky” is a hybrid space player who for Indiana leans toward the blitzy linebacker end of the scale. As Michigan fans we’re used to 4-2-5 defenses we face being those MSU/OSU/Virginia Tech quarters things that make the WLB a coverage LB. This is more akin in spirit to “true” 4-2-5s like Michigan’s 4-3, where the SAM is an attack piece and the WLB/MLB are mostly interchangeable light linebackers.

Much like in a 3-4, the defensive linemen are mostly charged with taking on blocks so the linebackers and safeties can flow to the ball unencumbered.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the breakdown.]