Written by Nathan Comp
After two years of having to double dip as both head coach and defensive coordinator, Allen knew the two positions were too much for one person to handle. His focus shifted to a potential replacement. And when Tom Allen was considering who he wanted to take over his role as defensive coordinator, he ultimately landed on the familiar Kane Wommack. Wommack was the logical choice; Allen learned the 4-2-5 defensive scheme from Kane’s father, Dave Wommack, and this past year Kane coached the “quarterbacks of the defense,” the linebackers. He was a guy Allen knew he could rely on to continue the pursuit of making Indiana’s defense elite.
“You’ve got to have a guy that you can trust, that knows the ins and outs, that knows the whys of the defense. And that’s the thing that’s different and unique about Kane,” said Allen.
So much familiarity remains with this Indiana defense. The same system, the same coaching staff, and with numerous young guys seeing playing time last year, many of the same players will be on the field. Which begs the question, what changes should Indiana fans expect next year? After a 2018 season that did not see the same statistical improvement as the two years prior, how can Indiana improve again in 2019?
“There were times on the field where we went and executed and did our job, but there is a certain swagger you have to play with in this league – that you saw in 2016 and 2017 – that probably with some younger players we didn’t get to see as much of in 2018,” new defensive coordinator Kane Wommack described.
This lack of swagger was evident. A defense that in 2016 and 2017 was often good enough itself to win games, slowed in 2018 to one that was good enough to just keep Indiana in games. While it had previously been a defense that would expect to force punts, the defense this year transitioned to one that more often than not embraced a “bend but don’t break” mentality.
Coach Wommack expects the defense to return to its previous elite standing in 2019.
“The thing that I really look forward to building is a swagger and a confidence in our group that when we walk on that field, we’re 11 bad jokers that are ready to inflict our will onto our opponents,” Wommack said with an excited, and swagger-inflicted smirk.
“They’re a hungry group, and some of them have a nasty edge about themselves. That allows you to create a culture that guys want to be a part of. I think we’ve got a tremendous group of young talented players.”
Despite the familiar faces Indiana fans will see roaming the sidelines, an unfamiliar swagger is expected to return in 2019.