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Wednesday, June 19
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

Defense prepared to shoulder load if offense struggles

spIUvsMichSt.

IU’s defense knows its offense is still adjusting to true freshman Zander Diamont at quarterback. It isn’t the same Hoosier offense.

Led by the arm of junior quarterback Nate Sudfeld, there were times in the past where the offense could make up for lapses in the defense.

But Diamont only managed to complete 5-of-15 passing for 11 yards in a 56-17 loss to Michigan State when IU last played on Oct. 18.

IU defensive coordinator Brian Knorr realizes the offense is going through a significant change with Diamont.The defense is looking to help.

The defense is making a point to take the burden of the load while the offense tries to rediscover its identity.

“We realize the attack may be a little different than it’s been in the past,” Knorr said. “We’ve got to step up this week and in the weeks ?coming up.”

Added pressure is no concern for sophomore defensive tackle Darius Latham.

That’s exactly the way he wants it to be.

“That’s kind of how we think about it every game,” Latham said. “It definitely will be on us.”

Knorr said the team spent the bye week focused on creating turnovers without being overly aggressive.

Against Michigan State, IU had a few near misses, taking chances on creating turnovers that turned into large gains for Michigan State.

“We want guys to be aggressive,” Knorr said. “We want after a couple decisions, maybe we’re a little too aggressive and it ended up being a couple big plays.”

IU allowed a season-high 63 points to Michigan last year and hasn’t beaten the Wolverines in Ann Arbor since the U.S. landed a man on the Moon.

IU last beat Michigan at the Big House in 1967.

“It’s time for us to step up and get big stops,” Knorr said.

Diamont louder, confident

IU senior receiver Nick Stoner has been impressed with freshman quarterback Zander Diamont’s growth during the bye week.

Saturday, he put in extra time with the receivers to help develop better chemistry and solve issues with pass timing.

Stoner said Diamont’s increased confidence is evident.

He said Diamont is louder. He’s better at reading defenses and he hasn’t been afraid to make throws.

It’s a confidence not so different from that of junior quarterback Nate Sudfeld, whom Diamont replaced after Sudfeld’s season ended after needing shoulder surgery.

“Just how he walks and how he throws the ball, like just zipping it in there,” Stoner said. “His body movements or whatever, you can see him. He’s confident.”

Wilson said the job is still Diamont’s to lose, but he noted that sophomore Nate Boudreau and freshman Danny Cameron also did extra work during the bye week.

IU offensive coordinator Kevin Johns said he’s been trying to get Diamont to simplify the game.

He joked with Diamont that he doesn’t need to snap the ball, catch it and run it, too. He just wants Diamont to limit mistakes and not put IU in bad situations.

“He believes in himself,” he said. “He’s a very confident young man, and he can go out and make a ton of plays for us.”

Mangieri, Spriggs expected to play

Junior offensive tackle Jason Spriggs and junior bandit linebacker Nick Mangieri are both expected to play Saturday against Michigan after suffering injuries against Michigan State.

Spriggs had to be taken off the field on a stretcher in IU’s second half loss to Michigan State, but he was back at practice last week and hasn’t suffered any setbacks.

“He’s been out there every day, and at the same time we haven’t overdone it,” ?Wilson said.

Mangieri has been limited at practice after suffering a knee injury.

“He should be good,” ?Wilson said.

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