IU Offense Looks To Find New Gears Under Mike DeBord's Leadership

Sam Beishuizen, Staff Writer
The Hoosier

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Your dentist will tell you it takes two minutes to properly brush your teeth.

In that same timespan, new IU offensive coordinator Mike DeBord wants to snap the ball anywhere from eight-to-10 times. When the Hoosiers are going at their fastest tempo next season, DeBord said it should take as little as 10 seconds to snap the ball and get going.

So, Coach DeBord, just how fast will you actually go?

"As fast as we can," he said, smiling.

As head coach Tom Allen has insisted since early on in his hiring, Indiana is on its way to being a tempo team. Allen, a longtime defensive coordinator, said he's seen the impact speed can have on a defense and wants to use it to his advantage now that he's pushing buttons on the offensive side as well.

"It's a matter of just wanting to be as fast as they can go and still be able to execute," Allen said earlier this spring. "I know as a defensive coach that that gives us trouble. You can't get your feet set, you can't get your eyes right."

Speed isn't all that new to Indiana. The Hoosiers ranked No. 26 nationally in offensive plays per game and No. 20 in adjusted pace a season ago thanks to former head coach Kevin Wilson's own fondness of getting the ball up and down the field as quickly as possible.

Back in 2015, Wilson's Hoosiers ranked No. 11 in the country in offensive plays per game and No. 5 in adjusted pace.

But there's something about the speed the Hoosiers are currently firing at that seems different. Just ask fifth-year senior safety Chase Dutra, a man who needs to defend against the tempo each day at practice.

"I call it unrealistic," Dutra said of the speed. "I mean, obviously we'll see when game time comes around and the real officials get out there. I always think they go way too fast."

That statement right there? That's what DeBord wants to hear.

"I think a lot of that is coaching," he said. "All of our coaches have done a great job of pushing their position group to do that. You'll hear (offensive line) Coach (Darren) Hiller pushing the line, you know? You'll hear (quarterback) Coach (Nick) Sheridan telling the quarterbacks to push more or less the system of the different tempos and stuff."

Speed can grind a defense that isn't used to snapping the ball every 10 seconds or so down. Fatigue becomes an issue when the opposing offense isn't allowing time for substitutions for long drives throughout the game.

But sometimes, it's not going fast that DeBord hopes will hurt the opposing defense even more.

That's where the tempo comes in. The slow will feel slower and the quick will feel quicker the more often the Hoosiers change things up just like a point guard changing speeds off the dribble.

"What I really enjoy is our players really like that," DeBord said. "They like going fast and slowing down, going fast again and slowing down. It kind of keeps the defense off balance a little bit."

That process isn't nearly complete. It won't be until fall.

Because at the rate DeBord is going, a few plays get added into the scheme each day. A few of them will be on display at 7 p.m. Thursday in the annual Spring Game at Memorial Stadium.

Considering all the change that's gone into the staff, there could be some surprises when the Hoosiers hit the field. But there's one thing that's a virtual certainty by now.

Indiana's going to go fast.

"It's been a process," DeBord said. "We're a lot father along now than we were day one."


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