While there have been hiccups along the way, Indiana’s defense has for the most part been fairly solid through the first four weeks of the season. They rank No. 21 nationally in pass defense, No. 103 in run defense, and No. 57 overall. They have a good test coming on Saturday with the No. 31 ranked Maryland offense.
Below we examine the snap counts for IU’s defense through four weeks, and share some notes and numbers from PFF.
Note: The Indiana defense has been on the field for a total of 256 plays.
For a look at the offensive numbers, GO HERE.
While Indiana hasn’t rotated heavily throughout the defense, they have followed that approach along the defensive line. That’s been a fairly standard practice since Tom Allen has been at IU.
The one player Indiana is leaving out there most of the time is Andre Carter, and that likely comes as no surprise. He’s been credited with 16 quarterback hurries and two sacks so far.
Among the main rotational players, Philip Blidi is the highest graded defender on the team right now according to PFF, and he’s been particularly effective in the pass rush from his interior spot with six hurries and QB hit.
- Andre Carter (233) – edge
- Philip Blidi (158) – interior
- LeDarrius Cox (125) – interior
- Marcus Burris (101) – interior
- Patrick Lucas (68) – interior
- Nick James (38) – interior
- Venson Sneed (22) – edge
- Robby Harrison (3) – interior
- Race Stewart (3) – interior
The outside linebacker role appeared to be very competitive going into the season, and that has carried into the first four weeks.
Transfer Lanell Carr has also been effective in the pass rush, with six hurries to go with a sack and a QB hit.
The snaps in this role align with the PFF grades, and that’s likely why Carr has seen the field the most.
As the total snap counts here suggest, there are schemes where IU has more than one OLB on the field.
- Lanell Carr (161)
- Myles Jackson (108)
- Anthony Jones (78)
- Andrew Turvy (3)
It seems pretty clear that IU really likes their starting inside linebackers, as there has been very little in the way of rotation when it comes to these two roles. They may have taken that a bit too far last Saturday, as the defense was on the field for more than 80 snaps, and chasing a very fast Akron quarterback on most of those plays.
But it’s clear why the staff likes Aaron Casey and Jacob Mangum-Farrar.
Casey has a team high 39 tackles, and Mangum-Farrar has been effective in pass rush, generating five hurries and four QB hits.
- Aaron Casey (251)
- Jacob Mangum-Farrar (249)
- Matt Hohlt (20)
- Josh Rudolph (9)
- Jared Casey (7)
Two of the more pleasant surprises on the team have come at the safety position — roles where there appeared to be significant uncertainty going into the season.
Co-DC and safeties coach Matt Guerrieri has settled on giving almost all of the snaps to Louis Moore and Phillip Dunnam, and that’s because they deliver. Dunnam has three interceptions and Moore has two.
Dunnam has the best tackling grade on the team according to PFF, and Moore has the best pass coverage grade.
- Louis Moore (244)
- Phillip Dunnam (228)
- Josh Sanguinetti (51)
- Tyrik McDaniel (3)
Indiana has battled through injuries at the cornerback spot. Both Jamier Johnson and Nic Toomer were projected to have significant roles, and both have missed meaningful time thus far.
Jamari Sharpe has been the surprise of the first four weeks. The coaches said before the season he’d play, but Sharpe is leading the position group in snaps so far. There have been growing pains, as he struggled at times against Louisville, but Sharpe has provided good depth as a redshirt freshman. Minor has also graded out favorably across the board.
If Indiana can get Jamier Johnson and Toomer back, this looks like an overall solid group.
- Jamari Sharpe (218)
- Kobee Minor (189)
- Nic Toomer (83)
- Jamier Johnson (27)
- JoJo Johnson (11)
- James Monds (8)
There was little question when it came to who would dominate the snaps at the hybrid safety/linebacker husky spot. Noah Pierre does have a sack and a QB hit, and his tackling grades are respectable, but at least according to PFF, he’s been more of a middle of the road performer to this point.
- Noah Pierre (215)
- Jordan Grier (24)
- Amare Ferrell (10)
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