CHICAGO -- Starting inside linebacker David Cooper couldn’t stop smiling as he raved about the new 3-4 defensive scheme.
According to Cooper, the system change is going to be beneficial for the defense, which finished 117th in the nation with 38.8 points allowed per game last season.
“I feel like the 3-4 scheme fits our personnel,” Cooper said Monday at Big Ten Media Day. “More of a movement type of defense, causing chaos and causing offenses to think a lot because they don’t know where you’re coming from.”
Blitzing is a major theme with a 3-4 defense. The scheme gives you multiple options as to who can be sent to get to the quarterback, as it allows for the linebackers to be moving around more freely.
The Hoosiers will likely still send four on most plays, but the advantage of having stand-up blitzing linebackers is that the quarterback doesn’t know who the guy is on any given play.
“Someone’s always coming,” Cooper said. “That’s the good thing about this defense. We’re not just standing there on our heels, we’re moving around and we’re just trying to cause chaos on the offense.”
While head coach Kevin Wilson is also hopeful about this year’s defense, he stressed the importance of going out and making plays early on in the season in order to build confidence within each individual player on the defense.
“They’ve got to back it up with play,” Wilson said. “You can get excited about it, but when you tee it up and the whistles start blowing and the clock starts running and everybody’s yelling, you’ve got to back it up with your play. When you go out there and make some plays and really start seeing it can really snowball.”
Wilson didn’t credit the new scheme, or even the addition of new defensive coordinator Brian Knorr, as the main reason why he thinks the defense will improve this season. Wilson believes in the talent of his defensive players and thinks they have become a tight-knit group this offseason, more so than in past seasons.
“I don’t think the scheme is the deal or the coach is the deal, I think they’re going to be better,” Wilson said. “I think they’re starting to bond as a family on defense. I think they’ve been a little disjointed, not by design, just by some of the dynamics.”
But still, Cooper couldn’t hide his excitement as he continued to talk about the new scheme.
“I could talk about it all day,” Cooper said with a big smile. “But, I just can’t wait to show it off.”