Abbreviated Film Studies this week, due to Thanksgiving travel plans. My apologies.
In the spirit of the holiday, I’m thankful for young talent on defense. What about you?
Base Defense (starter listed first, with a 50/50 rotation unless otherwise noted)
NT: (1) Nate Hoff and (2) Adarius Rayner
RDE: (1) Bobby Richardson and (2) Shawn Heffern
LDE (“DT” in the depth chart”): (1) Darius Latham and (2) Jordan Heiderman. For the first time this season, normal second DT Ralph Green did not appear. I haven’t heard about an injury for the Big Man so this decision may be driven by matchup or production concerns.
Bandit/Boundary OLB: (1) Nick Mangieri and (2) Zach Shaw
FLB (“SLB” in the depth chart): (1) Flo Hardin and (2) Clyde Newton. Newton saw a little more playing time in this one, appearing in 4 series.
Boundary ILB (“WLB” in the depth chart): (1) David Cooper and (2) Tegray Scales.
Field ILB (“MLB” in the depth chart): (1) TJ Simmons, (2) Greg Gooch, (3) Kyle Kennedy. Simmons played about 2/3 of the time.
CB: Tim Bennett, Michael Hunter, Rashard Fant and Noel Padmore. Noel Padmore saw his first non-garbage time action on defense, if only for a few plays. Tim Bennett played almost the entire game and Michael Hunter played roughly 2/3 of the time. Rashard Fant rotated in for Bennett and Hunter and was the 5th defensive back when IU went to it’s nickel package. Donovan Clark, the usual 4th corner, did not appear. No word on any injury for Clark.
Boundary safety: (1) Antonio Allen and (2) Tony Fields. Fields saw a little more playing time in this one, with one possession in the 2nd quarter and two in the 4th quarter.
Field safety: (1) Mark Murphy and (2) Chase Dutra. The split was roughly 60/40.
Defensive Recruiting Starting To Pay Off
Saturday’s game saw some big plays made by key members of IU’s last two recruiting classes. First, sophomore DL Darius Latham generated some pressure:
I honestly can’t remember the last time IU picked up a sack on a 3-man rush. Great individual effort by Latham.
Like Latham, sophomore safety Antonio Allen was a major piece of IU’s 2013 class. He lost half of his freshman season after he suffered an ACL tear against Michigan. This season, he’s been solid, if not spectacular. Going into last Saturday’s game, he was still looking for his first career interception. Then this happened:
As interceptions go, this one was pretty easy. Allen was sitting back in a deep zone and happened to be in the right place when JT Barrett airmailed a pass. To Allen’s credit, he caught the ball.[ref] We’ve seen the defense drop a bunch of interceptions in the past few seasons. And we’ve also seen our wide receivers this year. So we shouldn’t take catching the ball for granted.[/ref]
Allen wasn’t done:
Tim Bennett really makes the play here, separating the intended receiver, Evan Spencer, from the ball. Once again, right place, right time for Allen. And this time he got to run with it.
I don’t have any video to show you, but true freshman Tegray Scales also played one of his best games of the season against his home state school.[ref] Scales is from Colerain, Ohio, near Cincinnati.[/ref] So far in his young career, Scales appears to be at his best against spread teams like Mizzou and Ohio State, where he can use his speed and quickness to cover ground from sideline to sideline.
A Huge Play That Wasn’t
IU trailed by 8 with just under 5 minutes to play. Still very much in the game. Ohio State faced a 3rd and 18 after a TJ Simmons sack.[ref] Incidentally, another young player (a sophomore) making a play.[/ref] Ohio State looked to set up a screen and senior DT Bobby Richardson read it perfectly:
As you can see, the ball was thrown just a little behind Richardson and all he could do was knock it down. If Richardson somehow brings that one in, there were only 20 yards of turf and a 2-point conversion between IU and a tie game, late in the 4th quarter at the Horseshoe.
Sure, the last few minutes didn’t go how we all would like, but IU was *that close* to really putting a scare into the best team in the conference. That’s something the coaching staff can build upon.