Written By Avery Jones
Just two years ago, IU hired defensive coordinator, Brian Knorr, after three consecutive seasons of ranking dead last in total defense for the Big Ten. This year, they were second to last. Looking to change those statistics, coach Kevin Wilson has replaced Brian Knorr with coach Tom Allen from University of South Florida.
Although Tom Allen was at the University of South Florida for only one season, he led them to a very successful season defensively, ranking fourth in total defense for the American Athletic Conference. The team’s defense averaged 7.5 tackles for loss per game which tied for thirteenth nationally. They also recorded 17 interceptions, the third highest in all of USF school history. To accomplish these feats, Tom Allen used a unique defensive lineup, different from what IU has used in recent years.
Before Brian Knorr became apart of the coaching staff in 2014, IU was running a 4-3 defense. Knorr’s goal was to change that to a 3-4 defense. However, over the course of his two seasons here, the 3-4 defense failed to improve the statistics. Now, Allen plans to change it once again to a 4-2-5 defense. Allen has used this 4-2-5 defense at past schools he’s coached at, including USF who ranked 52nd in total defense in all of the NCAA last season (compared to IU’s ranking of 120th in total defense). This 4-2-5 defense not only changes the actual lineup of players, but also the positions offered.
Essentially, shifting from a 3-4 defense to a 4-2-5 moves one linebacker to defensive lineman and one linebacker to a secondary position. This leaves four linemen, two linebackers, and five secondary position players. Wilson often times uses a player that he calls a “bandit.” The bandit position is usually played by an outside linebacker and has the responsibility of rushing the quarterback. Using Allen’s new 4-2-5 formation could eliminate the bandit position and instead force the bandits to the line as defensive linemen, if they can put on the weight. This would most likely apply to players such as Nile Sykes (35), Greg Gooch (49), and Brandon Wilson (95).
As the season draws closer, we’ll get a better idea of how new recruits may play into this defensive formation and how Allen plans to incorporate the players he has into his lineup. Ultimately, Allen’s new defensive perspective could prove very beneficial in the upcoming season.