The Indiana defense has plenty of challenges if it hopes to improve over last year’s dismal defensive effort.
The Hoosiers gave up an average of 527.9 yards per game of total offense a year ago. On the ground alone, IU surrendered 237.8 yards per game.
And even with that level of ineptitude on defense, IU still managed to win five games. That is because the Hoosiers piled up more than 500 yards of offense per game, too.
As Brian Knorr gears up for the start of his first season as Indiana’s defensive coordinator, he knows that stopping the run will be a big priority right from the start for his IU defense.
“We preached stopping the run,’’ Knorr said Tuesday following IU’s first practice of the day. “Any defense we play our focus is going to be on stopping the run. I would hope that our kids understand that and realize that’s going to be the key.
“Last year, most games where we held our opponents under 110 yards rushing we won every game. So they know the importance of stopping the other team from rushing the football.’’
That number at Wake Forest where Knorr was employed a year ago was actually 115. In the three games where Wake Forest held its opponents under 115 yards the Demon Deacons were 3-0. In all other games, though, they were 1-8.
Here is a video provided by AllHoosiers.com staff writer Sarah Beeson.
The Indiana number a year ago was 162. IU held its opponents under 162 rushing five times and the Hoosiers were 5-0 in those games. If the number was over 163, the record was 0-7.
And opponents had some crazy games rushing the football last year against IU.
Wisconsin rushed for 554 yards on 50 carries.
Navy went for 444 on the ground on 70 attempts.
So that’s where it will begin for IU.
Knorr said he continues to be pleased with how the Hoosiers have been practicing in the early going.
He continues to say that the Hoosiers will likely get some good contributions from freshmen on the defensive side of the ball.
“I think we have a handful l of freshmen that we certainly hope will play a role this year,’’ Knorr said. “Tegray Scales from Cincinnati, Donovan (Clark) may play a role, and Robert McCray down from Atlanta. Those guys may play a role and we anticipate them playing a role but right now they’re just trying to survive a little bit. So we’re just trying to push them and try to get them a little battle tested in practice before we put them in a game.’’
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch