Considering your defense just gave up 750 yards last week in a 63-47 loss to Michigan, this may be as good a week as any for a bye in the schedule.
The biggest question facing Indiana football as it heads to its second bye week of the season is simple: What will it take to win three more games and get bowl eligible?
Some think this is only a pipe dream. And I understand that sentiment. When the defense plays like it has the last two weeks in particular, it's difficult to imagine this Indiana football team winning three more games.
But it's those performance against Bowling Green and Penn State that still has many diehard Indiana football fans believing that IU could find a way to win home games against Minnesota, Illinois and Purdue. It's a tall order without a doubt but it's not completely out of the question.
Here are three keys for Indiana over the final five games to find a way to go at least 3-2:
1. PLAY AVERAGE DEFENSE: That's all anyone is really asking for, right? No one is expecting a group that is going to come out and stop an opposing offense and keep teams completely in check. That's not a realistic expectation. But even baby steps would be a significant step in the right direction. Let's begin with a number of say 450 yards of offense by an opponent. That shouldn't be asking too much, should it? Another one might be forcing an opponent to punt 4-5 times in a game. It's all a matter of getting off the field once in a while and getting some much needed rest. One more may be trying to get off the field on third down 50 percent of the time. These don't seem like lofty goals but given the way this defense has played the last two weeks it may actually be too much to ask. But if Indiana could just play average defense with the firepower it has on offense, three wins would be more than possible.
2. USE SHORT PASSES IN PLACE OF A RUNNING ATTACK: If you're playing a team you can run on that's another story but if you're facing one that is sure to shut down the run, why not go with short passes out of the backfield in place of a traditional running game. This offense is built on its ability to pass the ball and it needs to take advantage of that more. Or perhaps if you run it you go to more of an option attack with Tre Roberson running the read option. Indiana should know the option offense well enough having had to prepare for it the last two seasons. Maybe you throw out a new wrinkle and go to an option in your next game against Minnesota. Not saying for the whole game but maybe just as a chance to mix things up.
3. SLOW DOWN YOU MOVE TOO FAST: I know I'm dating myself with those song lyrics but there is truth there. Indiana had the ball for 21 minutes against Michigan. Sometimes the speed up offense works really well but other times it forces the defense to be on the field way, way too much. Even if you just called the plays at the line like you do a lot of the time anyway but let the clock run down to end the of the play clock on a more consistent basis you might just give the defense a little extra time to recover. Perhaps that's all it would take.
Those are a few thoughts. I'm going to post this on the premium message board as a thread for a topic. I'd like to hear what your thoughts are for how Indiana could find a way to get three more wins this season.
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch