Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Sports

December 3, 2013

Fixing defense is Indiana's top offseason priority

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Kevin Wilson spent most of the season trying to defend the indefensible.

It's time to find solutions.

Moments after Wilson's Hoosiers completed their season by winning the Old Oaken Bucket and setting a dubious Big Ten record for yards allowed, the Indiana coach made it clear he expects changes.

"When you're not doing things the way you need to do them, you need to make improvement," Wilson said after Saturday's 56-36 victory over Purdue. "So the first change we'll do is me reflecting in the next couple of weeks in recruiting where we're at and what's correctable, what we can fix."

For Wilson and the Hoosiers (5-7, 3-5 Big Ten), there's no hiding the obvious.

Indiana has finished last in the league in scoring defense and yards allowed per game during each of Wilson's three seasons in Bloomington. Indiana has gotten progressively worse in the yardage department, too, going from 458.7 in 2011 to 463.5 in 2012 to 527.9 this season. This year, they gave up so many yards in league play they shattered Northwestern's record-setting mark (524.7) from 1981 by allowing 560.2 yards in eight league games.

Some fans want Wilson to fire defensive coordinator Doug Mallory, the son of Indiana winningest coach Bill Mallory.

"The first thing I will address is me and what I can do first," Wilson said before hitting the road for two weeks of recruiting. "I'm going to point more thumbs at me than fingers at people, and then from there we'll start looking at what we need to do."

Poor defense has become part of Indiana's identity.

The Hoosiers have allowed more than 400 yards and 31 points per game six straight seasons, finishing in the conference's bottom three in both categories all six times. Even in 2007, the last time Indiana was bowl eligible, it still gave up 417.7 yards per game, eighth in the then 11-team league, and 32.8 points, ninth in the conference.

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