You don’t have to tell Joe Palcic about Indiana’s defensive struggles. As co-defensive coordinator, he’s lived it, studied it, worked it. He understands what has gone wrong and how it can be fixed.
First, a few facts. The Hoosiers have allowed at least 28.5 points for seven straight years. They played bad defense under Cam Cameron, Gerry DiNardo, Terry Hoeppner and, now, Bill Lynch.
Palcic and fellow co-defensive coordinator Brian George are determined to turn that around.
Nobody said it would be easy. Last year IU allowed 29.5 points. Opponents averaged 4.0 yards per carry and 159 rushing yards a game. They completed 60.8 percent of their passes and averaged 242 passing yards a game.
This is not good defense. You can't win with that kind of defense.
“We underperformed last year,” Palcic said.
IU lost its two best defensive ends, plus most of its secondary and two of its starting linebackers. In other words, the Hoosiers lost their best players from a struggling defense.
Does that mean they will be even worse this year?
Not exactly. IU appears to have recruited well in recent years. It has upgraded the defensive talent and modified its schemes to suit its personnel.
With guys like linebacker Tyler Replogle and defensive tackles Adam Replogle, Larry Black, Mick Mentzer and Jarrod Smith, there is a nucleus to build on.
“I hope we’ll be better with kids we have,” Palcic said. “Their attitude is better. They’re very coachable. They work hard. When have those three components, you have a chance to be good. We like coaching this group. I have a feeling we’ll be better.”