In the five seasons that Kevin Wilson has been the coach at Indiana the Hoosiers have been very productive offensively, but the defensive side of the ball has been another story all together. The IU defense has shown flashes of times of being a solid unit, but overall they have struggled mightily and so Wilson made a change at defensive coordinator for the second time in six years when he brought in Tom Allen from South Florida. The Indiana head coach talked today at the Big Ten Media Days about what he was looking for when he decided to bring in aa new voice to lead the Hoosiers’ defense.
Coach Wilson said the biggest issue he has had with the defense since he has been at IU is he didn’t feel the standard on that side of the ball was where it needed to be.
“We've created a standard on one side of the ball (offense) that we've never created on the other (defense),” Wilson said. “It's not cover two. It's not zone blitz. It's not man free. It's not zero pressure. It's not four man. It's not three man. It's a standard of playing hard. It's a standard of holding each other accountable and loving each other, and pulling for each other and playing together.”
When the Indiana head coach met with Tom Allen about being his defensive coordinator the biggest things he wanted to know was Allen’s plan for getting everyone on the defensive side of the ball to be all in with what they are doing.
“When I visited with Coach Allen I met with him for three hours,” Wilson said. “We talked about how do you get your staff to buy in? How do you get people to believe in you? How do you get kids to play hard? How do you get them to correct mistakes?”
Wilson said it is nice that Allen is from the state of Indiana and has connections here, but that is not what made him an attractive candidate to be the new defensive coordinator.
“Tom Allen is an Indiana native, but that didn't excite me as much as his passion and pedigree and his ability to connect with staff and players,” Wilson said about Coach Allen.
The IU head coach feels like they have a talented core of players already in place on the defensive side of the ball.
“We've got a lot of players back,” Wilson said. “We have everyone back at linebacker, everyone back in the secondary. We had no seniors there last year. We do have a few losses up front that we'll need to overcome, but I think we've got some talent and depth there. Ralph Green up front, Nate Hoff up front, Jacob Robinson I think will be solid players. Greg Gooch outside coming off the edge. I think our two linebackers, Marcus Oliver, great skills. T.J. Simmons, I think we'll have some depth and good players there. And our back end does need to step up. Jonathan Crawford I think is an awesome safety, one of the best freshmen in the conference last year.”
Even though Coach Allen has only been at IU for a short time Wilson said he has already noticed a difference in the way the defense is going about things.
“To me, it was all about creating a culture because although I think we've had great coaches, I don't think that's connected yet,” Wilson said. “And that's been his charge and I've been very, very pleased with what I've seen. I’ve been very encouraged with his leadership and the positive nature and the standard he's setting for our defensive players. I'm very excited to see what Tom can do and encourage there.”