Behind Enemy Lines: Indiana

Maryland (3-1) takes on Indiana (2-1) Sept. 27 at 1:30 p.m. in Bloomington, Ind. In order to gain a different perspective on the Hoosiers, we spoke to AllHoosiers.com publisher Terry Hutchens.

Maryland (3-1) takes on Indiana (2-1) Sept. 27 at 1:30 p.m. in Bloomington, Ind. In order to gain a different perspective on the Hoosiers, we spoke to AllHoosiers.com publisher Terry Hutchens.

Here is our Q&A session with him:

Terrapin Times:After a couple less than inspiring efforts to begin the season it looks like IU bounced back in a big way against Missouri. What adjustments were made, and can the Hoosiers keep it up? Does the team seem more confident now?

Terry Hutchens: The reality is that Indiana actually played pretty well in six of the first eight quarters of the season. The second half of the Bowling Green game was a disaster and ultimately, with the defense on the field for an incredible 113 plays, IU just wore down and got beat 45-42. If there is renewed confidence it would be on the defensive side of the ball. With Nate Sudfeld throwing the ball and Tevin Coleman running it this offense does not lack confidence. IU scored 38 points per game last year and when this year is over my guess is the Hoosiers will be close to that again.

But with IU it has always been about the defense and the lack thereof. Against Missouri though, the defense was flying around and making plays. It was blitzing from everywhere on the field and had great pursuit to the ball. Missouri had a couple of big plays but beyond that IU really controlled the line of scrimmage. Indiana had 11 tackles for loss and two sacks. So the adjustment that was made was that Indiana simply went into attack mode and set the tone early by putting all kinds of pressure on the quarterback.

Can they keep it up? It's simply too small of a sample size to know for sure but I think not only having that kind of performance but having it against a top 20 team on the road has really given this group a little added confidence.

TT:This is obviously Maryland's first game in the Big Ten. Has there been any chatter or curiosity among IU fans about the Terps since they are a new opponent? How do they view Maryland in general?

TH: I'm sure it's something that Indiana fans will grow into it, but at this point I haven't heard a lot. In many ways it's a lot like playing another non-conference game in terms of not really knowing very much about the opponent. And the way the schedule plays out with IU playing another non-conference game next week against North Texas it's almost appropriate to have this game in there. If you ask Indiana fans about Maryland, they are more likely to talk about Gary Williams and the 2002 national championship game in basketball than they are about what to expect this week when the two teams meet in football.

TT:What's something about Indiana football Terps fans should know that they wouldn't be able to learn just by watching film or reading game reports? (i.e. if I had to answer this for Maryland, I would say something like The Terps have seen four linebackers suffer significant injuries and are really hurting in terms of defensive depth. They tend to get worn down late in games).

TH: The first thing would be the defense and how IU switched this season from a 4-3 which it had played forever to a 3-4. The thing Maryland fans might take from this is that IU's new defensive coordinator Brian Knorr spent the last three seasons at Wake Forest so he's more than a little familiar with the Terps. The big challenge for Indiana this season is whether it can successfully run a 3-4 with personnel that was recruited to a 4-3 scheme.

The other thing is that with very few exceptions Indiana has played its first three games without any significant injuries. The Hoosiers lost two defensive players for the season last week that were in the two-deep but both were reserves. Kenny Mullen, a reserve corner, who played mostly special teams and Marcus Oliver, a backup linebacker, who had played quite a bit on defense in the first three games, both had ACL injuries and are done. But that's it. IU has no other injuries of significance at this point and they see that as a major plus heading into Big Ten play.

TT:What's the vibe around Indiana football right now? I know IU is considered a basketball school, but do the Hoosiers fans typically fill Memorial Stadium, or have they grown apathetic after not having a winning season since 2007?

TH: Attendance is actually up considerably the last few years thanks to some stadium renovation and a better marketing plan. But IU rarely sells out. And if it does, it's usually because they are playing Ohio State and the Buckeyes fill 40 percent of the seats in Memorial Stadium. Generally the stadium operates at about 80 percent capacity and it holds just a little over 50,000 people. There are three stadiums in the Big Ten that have twice that capacity. In the early part of this decade IU would routinely play to crowds of right around 30,000 though, so this is an upgrade.

As for as this being a basketball school, there's no question about it. Football has always been a social event that people do to get ready for basketball season. That's a culture that the IU administration is trying to change but it's a tough sell. In the last 20 years Indiana football has only played beyond Dec. 1 in football in two different seasons. One was 2007 when IU, behind the rally cry of 'Play 13' for late coach Terry Hoeppner who died that summer of brain cancer while still the Indiana coach, went on to finish 7-5 in the regular season before losing to Oklahoma State in the Insight Bowl. The other was 2001 when IU played Kentucky in a make up game of the regularly scheduled game on 9/11 weekend. That's it. Beyond that, no football after December in any other year. I think that tells a lot about where the IU football program has been.

TT:One thing you had mentioned before is that IU has more depth on the O-Line this year, which should help them in the Big Ten. Just knowing Maryland and how they've had to struggle to build depth up front, how difficult is it to recruit quality trenchmen while competing against the Michigans, Wisconsins and Ohio States of the world for quality O-line and D-line prospects, and what does it take to get the job done?

TH:It is difficult to recruiting because of what you go up against in the border states like Michigan and Ohio State in particular but also squaring off against Notre Dame and Purdue in the state. Indiana has often settled for more of the 2- and 3-star guys. The last two seasons, under the direction of Kevin Wilson, IU has had two of its better recruiting classes in a long time. And what Wilson has done successfully is he continues to play a ton of true freshman. I think 16 played last year and 11 have already played this season. What that does is add depth and experience for future years. It has worked well the last couple of years.

The bottom line with Indiana though is in order to get over the bubble in the recruiting game IU needs to have a consistent level of sustained winning on the field. And that just hasn't happened. When it does, I expect IU to win a few more of the recruiting battles it has lost in recent seasons.


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