By now the parking lots should be full and Bloomington should be bustling with college football fans of all ages. We have already hit on three aspects of the Hoosier offense that should be watched and now it is time to talk a little defense, so put down your beverage and take a break from your tailgate and join us in our “Three & Out: Defense” segment.
1. Forcing Turnovers- The Indiana defense was brutal last year and come into 2013 losing their two best defensive players. One way to cover up a weak defense is to force turnovers. Last year the Hoosiers only forced 13 turnovers in 12 games. Anytime the defense can get the ball back into the hands of the powerful Hoosier offense it should be considered a big win.
2. Third Down Stops- The Hoosiers do not have as much depth on the defensive side of the ball as the offense; therefore it is imperative for the defense to limit its time out on the field. Last year, the defense allowed 40% of third down plays to gain a first down. While that is not a large number, we have to add in that opponents then were 12/18 on fourth down conversions. The key to the season is for the defense to get off the field when they can and get the ball back in the hands of the offense.
3. Limit The Big Play- Indiana has been tortured by the big play the last few years. This is in part due to poor tackling and having a young team. Well, there is more talent and experience on the 2013 version of the Hoosiers. In 2012 the Indiana defense allowed 6.1 yards per play, which is more than a first down every two plays.
If Indiana cannot improve in all three of these areas against Indiana State, 2013 may be a long year. The Hoosiers will not stop their opponent every time they get the ball nor will they pitch a shutout against the Sycamores, but fans can and should expect the defense to be better than the debacle it was at the end of 2012. Now you can get back to your tailgates and beverages, and watch the Hoosiers take on Indiana State at 7pm.