Brewer's Absence, Slew of Big Plays Hurt IU

As Indiana readies for Saturday's Homecoming contest against Arkansas State, Bill Lynch is hoping to get healthy along the offensive line and to figure out some things on the defensive side of the ball...

Indiana's biggest man up front might be sidelined for another game.

Senior right tackle James Brewer, who missed Saturday's 38-10 loss at Ohio State with an ankle injury, was not listed on Indiana's depth chart which was released on Monday. Junior Justin Pagan remains as the No. 1 and is backed up by Josh Hager.

A second straight game without Brewer is cause for concern for an Indiana offense that was bottled up by the top-ranked Buckeyes, but Indiana's other dinged up linemen appear poised to play this weekend. Left tackle Andrew McDonald and center Will Matte – both of whom left the Ohio State with injuries – are listed as starters on the depth chart. Indiana will also have Marc Damisch back at right guard after he missed Saturday's game due to the passing of his father.

While the health of the offensive line is probably the biggest concern on the offensive side for the Hoosiers (3-2/0-2), they pale in comparison to the issues on defense. Ohio State's Terrelle Pryor threw for a career-high 334 yards against an IU defense that has sunk to 10th in the conference in scoring defense and rushing defense and ninth in total defense.

IU Coach Bill Lynch said the staff sat down Monday morning to talk about the problems that have been exposed by two of the Big Ten's best offenses during the last two weeks.

"I think that if there is one thing, we've given up some big plays," Lynch said.

That's been abundantly clear the last two weeks. Against Michigan, the Wolverines scored on three plays of 50-plus yards, another of 32, and had the game-winning score set up by a 42-yard pass play in the game's closing seconds. The plethora of big plays allowed Michigan to pile up 574 yards of total offense in only 45 plays and 18:13 of possession time.

That was followed by the Ohio State game, where each of the Buckeyes' first three scores came courtesy of big plays.

"Our goal is to give up four big plays or less a game," Lynch said. "Offensively, we would like to have six or more. When you break it down that way, we've given up 28 big plays on defense. We're at five-plus a game so we must cut back a couple a game. You're not going to go into Ohio Stadium and all of a sudden not give up any big plays. They're going to get some big plays. You're not going to play Michigan and not give up some plays. But we have to limit them.

"Is there a common theme? We've looked at everything from what defense we're in, what coverage we're in, what was the down and distance, was it a mistake or was it a missed tackle - and it was all of those things. It's not like `We'll get that corrected because it was this causing the big plays.' By studying it, it kind of brings it into focus and we just have to keep going." Top Stories