Indiana Daily Student

North Texas makes first trip to Big Ten country

Junior Tevin Coleman breaks away from defenders during IU's game Saturday. Coleman reached the end zone on the play, but the touchdown was reversed by a penalty.
Junior Tevin Coleman breaks away from defenders during IU's game Saturday. Coleman reached the end zone on the play, but the touchdown was reversed by a penalty.

IU safeties Coach Noah Joseph knows the ins and outs of the North Texas defense.

He knows players’ tendencies. He knows the coaching philosophy of defensive coordinator John Skladany.

Joseph, who spent two years at North Texas, helped guide last year’s team to a 9-4 record and a victory in the Heart of Dallas Bowl last season.

Saturday, the Hoosiers’ first-year coach will face his former team when IU (2-2) hosts North Texas (2-2) at 2:30 p.m. in Memorial Stadium.

This marks the first time in school history that the Mean Green will travel to play a Big Ten team.

Joseph said, aside from a few personnel questions, his new team hasn’t asked too much about his old one.

“I can’t tell them anything because they’re going to look at tape and they’re going to know what (we’re) doing,” Joseph said. “Those guys are going to execute at a high level and be very physical and sound so there’s not much that I bring to the table in that aspect.”

IU Coach Kevin Wilson told quarterback Nate Sudfeld not to rely on Joseph for information about the North Texas defensive backs.

He doesn’t want Sudfeld overthinking every situation.

“Sometimes I think the more you know it can hurt you,” Wilson said. “You got 1.7 seconds. You don’t need clutter in your mind.”

North Texas comes to Bloomington with a record of 2-2, the defense allowing just 6 and 3 points in the two wins.

That defense has forced 11 turnovers this season, which have resulted in 55 points, 37 percent of its scoring total through four games.

The Mean Green are in the top 20 nationally in rushing defense, total defense, third-down defense, tackles for a loss and interceptions.

They lead the nation in sacks.

The Hoosiers, who have gone to the rushing attack more often this season, are averaging 284.3 yards on the ground.

That compares to a North Texas defense that is allowing just 85 yards rushing per game.

“You have to find different ways to run the ball,” IU offensive coordinator Kevin Johns said. “They’re going to make it very tough. They’re coached very well and it’ll be a great challenge.”

North Texas’ two wins this season, though, have come against SMU and Nicholls State, teams that have a combined record of 0-9.

Together, they are being outscored 475-66. SMU has scored just 12 points in four games.

Joseph said the way Skladany coaches his defense is based on sound fundamentals and a focus on themselves and their game plan first.

A win over IU would put North Texas at 3-2, its best start to a season since 1994.

“His philosophy is, ‘We’re going to know what we’re doing, we’re going to know where we’re weak, where we need to fit and we’re going to execute better than you,’” Joseph said. “The results speak volumes.”

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