Can the Hoosiers find a pass rush in fall camp?

Losing the players that recorded most of the quarterback sacks last season makes finding pass rushers a big fall camp priority.

One of the best team stats for Indiana in 2015 was the fact that the Hoosier defense racked up 30 sacks and the Hoosier offense only gave up 13 during the season.

The problem is 21 of those sacks came from the defensive line and about 88 percent of that number came from departed players like Nick Mangieri, Zack Shaw and Darius Latham.

End is the main question mark, especially given the move from a 3-4-4 alignment to the new 4-2-5 set up under new defensive coordinator Tom Allen.

Indiana's preseason depth chart shows 6-foot-4, 285-pound sophomore Jacob Robinson at one end and former linebacker Greg Gooch opposite him in the first unit.

All-American offensive lineman Dan Feeney will be once again battling these guys every day in fall camp and talked about Robinson this week at Big Ten media day.

"Jacob Robinson is doing a good job and he played a lot last year," Feeney said.  "I think he's going to be strong side, kind of like a (Nick) Mangieri type deal. "

Gooch is a junior who has beefed up his 6-foot-4 frame to 255-pounds. Last season he did record a sack and see a fair amount of playing time.

"Greg, when he was a linebacker, was the best pass rusher we had," starting linebacker Marcus Oliver said in Chicago. "He uses his hands really well. I think the best thing is his urgency is better and he's starting to work harder."

Redshirt sophomore Nile Sykes (6'2, 250) has made a similar move to defensive end and is listed as second unit. He originally signed with Notre Dame.  Opposite him as a second teamer is 6-foot-3, 261 pound redshirt freshman Brandon Wilson.

"Brandon Wilson, he's a really athletic kid. He could be really great," Oliver said.

There's a lot more experience at defensive tackle led by former starter Nate Hoff, a 6-foot-2, 305-pound junior.

"Nate has done a great job of being on top of them and being the vocal leader and demanding leader that the D-Line needs right now," Oliver said.

He's not the only player north of 300-pounds.

"Ralph Green (6'5, 305) is another fifth year and I think he's doing a fantastic job," Feeney said. "A big body, a tough guy to move. He'll be a rock in there. Ja'merez Bowen (6'4, 308) is also a big body and Rob McCray (6'2, 275). He'll be a fast guy, really strong, really shifty. "

Both Green and McCray recorded sacks last season.

True freshman Jerome Johnson might also play himself into the mix. The Mississippi native is currently listed by IU at a healthy 6-foot-3 and 307 pounds.

Video

Watch what Marcus Oliver had to say about the getting to the quarterback this past week in Chicago.

 

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