The Hoosier Huddle Countdown to Kick-off has begun! There are now 49 days until the Indiana Hoosiers kick-off the 2017 season against the Ohio State Buckeyes. That seems like a long way away and I suppose it is, but this countdown is now halfway over and it will be football season before we know it! Today’s countdown takes a look at #49 Greg Gooch.
Greg Gooch (Redshirt Senior)
-Weight: 255 Pounds
-Hometown: Longwood, Florida
-Position: Defensive End
So Greg Gooch’s move from linebacker to defensive end went pretty well. After playing as a depth guy at linebacker in 2015, he burst onto the scene and became one of IU’s best players in 2016. He started 12 games and played in all 13 last year, and was a very important physical force up front for Tom Allen. He “collected 26 tackles, 15 solo, one sack, 5.5 tackles for loss and one forced fumble ... registered a career-high 1.5 TFLs and three stops against No. 10 Penn State ... recorded his sack in the Purdue win and the forced fumble in the Foster Farms Bowl vs. No. 19 Utah ... tallied a career-high four tackles, all solo, with one stop for loss and one quarterback hurry at Northwestern” (IUHoosiers.com).
Frankly, Gooch is one of IU’s most important players heading into next season. The defense is projecting to be one of the best in the Big Ten, but there still needs to be consistent pressure on the edge. There are a few guys that could help out, including Nile Sykes, Jacob Robinson and freshman Lance Bryant, but the production from the edge will likely come mainly from Gooch. He is one of IU’s most physical players, up there with Tegray Scales and Marcelino Ball on defense. With linebacker size and speed, he is the perfect type of hybrid player that Tom Allen likes to have on the field. He put up good numbers rushing the passer, but his linebacker experience also allowed him to drop back into coverage, which he did commonly last season.
In 2017, Greg Gooch will be one of Indiana’s leaders. As an incoming senior who has helped the defense turn around, Tom Allen and Mark Hagen will be relying heavily on him to provide a consistent presence off the edge every week. IU’s defensive line should be better and deeper this year than last, but a lot of that is dependent on my projection that Greg Gooch will take another step as a senior and with a year of playing the position under his belt and be a force for IU in every game. Line pressure on the outside for the Hoosiers would let guys like Ball, Scales and Crawford just run around and make plays, and that is something that would have Tom Allen licking his chops week in and week out. I like Greg Gooch as a senior leader and a senior playmaker for the Hoosiers in 2017.