“Our offense right now is playing as poor as our defense has ever played,” Wilson said. “That’s for sure.”
IU’s defense was last in the Big Ten in 2013 and finished 121st of 123 FBS teams, making it one of the worst in the country.
But it’s the offense that’s caused IU fits recently. It has produced just 35 passing yards during the past two games, averaging 207 total offensive yards.
A stunted IU attack was shut out through one half on Saturday in an eventual 34-10 loss to Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Freshman quarterback Zander Diamont is still adjusting to the fast-paced college game.
“He’s great in practice; it’s just transferring it into the arena,” Wilson said. “That sometimes is the most difficult tight rope to walk. He’ll need to play better, and we expect him to.”
If IU’s 11 passing yards against Michigan State two weeks ago was any indication, the passing game wasn’t working.
And it wasn’t something the Hoosiers could rely on with a true freshman quarterback who had limited practice as the starter.
So they made some changes.
Wilson’s offense went to a Wildcat formation several times throughout Saturday’s game for more creative ways to get the running game going.
It’s not a new offense, Wilson said. No new plays; just a new look.
Running backs Tevin Coleman and D’Angelo Roberts took direct snaps from the center to open up various options in the running game.
During this season’s wins, IU had a dominant run attack. It’s become something they rely on.
But with Nate Sudfeld’s arm no longer a threat to defenses, opponents are consistently stacking the box. They know exactly how to stop this offense, which is why a different formation maybe beneficial, Wilson said.
“All you’re doing is handing it off to the guys,” he said. “It’s really no new plays. We need to find different ways to throw the football with where our passing game is right now.”
Wilson said they haven’t fully developed the passing options of the formation. They didn’t go to the pass enough Saturday for it to be effective.
The team worked on the Wildcat with extra time over the past couple weeks after having a bye last week. As they become more confident with it, Coleman said the option of using the Wildcat can be a useful tool.
But he hopes he’s not the one throwing it.
“I’m not looking forward to throwing,” he said, laughing. “I tried in practice. It didn’t go well. Devine can throw it pretty good, so he might be in there with the mix.”
Diamont threw only eight passes against Michigan. He finished 5-of-8 for 24 yards.
The Venice, Calif., native said he has struggled with adjusting to the speed of the college level of the game, since high school football is all he’s known, especially with how difficult it is to simulate that in practice.
It’s not about being able to make the throws, though. He said he believes he can make any throw on the field.
It’s being able to process the game.
“It’s frustrating,” Diamont said. “I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t. We have a saying: ‘Stats are for losers.’ I keep trying to not look at the stats and keep working.”
“It’s a process, and I’m trying to take it one day at a time,” he said.