Will Meyers can see a difference at Memorial Stadium these days.
The Hoosiers' senior strong safety is less than a week away from starting his fourth and final season in an IU uniform, and he can see there's something different about the 2006 version of the Hoosiers than what he's been used to in the past.
"There's a lot more athleticism from when I was first here to where we are now, all over the field," says Meyers, who ranked second on last year's team with 84 tackles and was fourth with seven tackles for loss. "From cornerback to defensive line to linebacker, there's a lot more athleticism. Everyone can move. That's a big change I've seen."
Not only are the Hoosiers brining in talented athletes such as Jammie Kirlew, Neal Jones and Matt Mayberry, among others, but they are also utilizing a defensive scheme that will get more fleet-footed players on the field. It appears IU will utilize a 4-2-5 defensive alignment that will include three safeties, one of whom will drop down into a traditional outside linebacker spot on the field.
It's a move that's been prompted by IU Coach Terry Hoeppner's desire to not only get faster on defense, but combat Big Ten offenses that are going with three and four wide receivers more often than they ever have in the past.
The safety that will drop down to an outside linebacker spot could very well be Meyers, whose always been very good in run support during his three seasons in an IU uniform. But whether it's playing in the box or as the team's last line of defense, Meyers says his role isn't much different than it's been in years past.
"I could wind up at two different positions, but it really just comes down to tackling, covering people and making plays," Meyers said. "So I don't think it will be much different. You just have to make the game simple. There are a lot of complicated things about it, but when it comes down to it, the team that tackles better and blocks better is going to be the team that wins."
Winning is something Meyers would welcome in his senior season. While he's played a great deal during his first three seasons, he's played on three teams that have gone a combined 3-21 in the Big Ten and he's yet to play in a bowl game.
Earning a postseason invitation and playing a 13th game is the goal of this year's squad, and being better on the defensive side is imperative for that to happen. A year ago the Hoosiers surrendered 417.1 yards and 32.8 points/game.
Meyers believes that can happen.
"I don't think our run defense was that bad last year, and I think it's going to be better this year," Meyers said. "Then, in our secondary, we have everyone back. I think we had some communication errors (in the secondary) that hurt us last year and we've worked on that this spring. So if we can be on the same page, we've got some good players who can make plays."
Indiana also has a schedule that can work in its favor. All four of the team's non-conference games are winnable, followed by a home game against Wisconsin and a road trip to Illinois. In all, the Hoosiers have seven home games, the first time that's happened since 1999.
But most preseason publications continue to pick Indiana at or near the bottom of league, something Meyers has grown accustomed to since his arrival in Bloomington three years ago.
"You can't really worry about that - they're always going to write that Michigan and Ohio State are going to win the Big Ten, and they are going to put us down at the bottom – that's the easy thing to do," Meyers said. "Same for the recruiting magazines. If you're a player and someone recruits you from Michigan, you're automatically a better player.
"You can't worry about that stuff too much. You just have to understand that's how it works, and it's our job to prove them wrong."
Meyers Sees Something Different
Peegs.com Top Stories
Hoosier Newsstand, Oct. 23Get the latest articles on Indiana basketball, football and other sports in today's edition of the Hoosier Newsstand.
Peegs Podcast: The Morning After NorthwesternIndiana couldn't get anything going offensively and never dug itself out of a hole in a 24-14 loss to Northwestern, but IU basketball saved the day with an exciting celebration at…
Peegs.comYesterday at 10:30 PM
Video: HH scrimmage highlightsPeegs.com brings you a great compilation of video highlights from Saturday's night's Hoosier Hysteria men's team scrimmage.
Peegs.comYesterday at 9:11 PM
Hoosier Hysteria notebook, videoIndiana's Hysteria notebook: Extensive video clips, IU coach Tom Crean chokes up when handing out Big Ten championship rings, ESPN's Seth Greenberg discusses Indiana basketball,…
Peegs.comYesterday at 8:48 PM
6 takeaways: Hoosier Hysteria scrimmageWithout going overboard on a short intra-squad public event, here are six takeaways from Indiana’s Hoosier Hysteria scrimmage.
Peegs.comYesterday at 8:04 PM