One of the first comments I heard regarding new Indiana defensive coordinator Brian Knorr was that he was a really nice guy.
My first reaction? Doug Mallory was a really nice guy, too. A good family guy, someone you always felt very comfortable being around.
But in his case, the nice guy had a defense that ranked 123rd out of 126 teams in the nation.
Mallory's IU defense surrendered nearly 39 points per game and a staggering 527.9 yards of total offense per game.
Indiana is need of a nice guy that finishes first rather than last. Heck, IU fans would take a guy with a defense that finished somewhere in the middle. With the weapons IU annually has on the offensive side of the football, an average defense would likely still get the Hoosiers to a bowl game.
So what do we know about Knorr?
We know he had a pretty good defense at his last stop when he was the defensive coordinator at Wake Forest.
How much better?
Well like I said, Indiana ranked 123rd out of 126 teams in the nation last year in total defense. Wake Forest? It ranked 32nd in the nation allowing 366 yards per game. That's nearly 162 yards per game difference compared to the Hoosiers.
Indiana gave up nearly 39 points per game. Wake Forest allowed 24.1 points which ranked 38th in the nation.
Just for giggles, consider this:
Indiana lost seven games a year ago and finished 5-7 overall which was one win shy of being bowl eligible. In five of IU's losses, the Hoosiers scored 28 points or more. IU scored 28 or more in losses to Navy, Missouri, Michigan State, Michigan and Minnesota.
Now I'm not suggesting that Indiana would have won five more games with a defense that only allowed 24 points per game but I'm guessing at the very least IU would have won a couple of more games. And a couple of more wins would have meant a bowl game for just second time since 1994.
Now I don't want to come off as being too naïve here in thinking that a coach could walk into this program and all of a sudden only give up 24 points per game. It has something to do with the personnel I get that.
But perhaps if Knorr deploys the 3-4 defense he used at Wake Forest it could be enough to shake things up for Indiana.
I think like a lot of people I'll be interested to speak with Knorr when we have our first media availability with him and hear what his plans are for the IU defense.
It seems like a big job and at the same time I really like some of the people Indiana is bringing in with this current recruiting class especially on the defensive side of the ball.
So we know he had a good defense last year at Wake Forest. We also know his wife is an IU grad from Fort Wayne so that should count for something, too.
And we know he's a nice guy.
Very soon we'll find out if he can be the guy to turn around the Indiana defense.
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch