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IU football position previews: Husky

A new defensive scheme means a new position to learn for some Hoosiers.

Defensive coordinator Tom Allen’s 4-2-5 scheme replaces Brian Knorr’s 3-4 scheme, and incorporates a linebacker/safety hybrid position called “husky.”

Husky necessitates a player who’s reliable in pass coverage, but, as the fifth secondary option takes a linebacker off the field, can’t be a detriment to IU’s run coverage.

Four Hoosiers have stood out so far to both Allen and IU Coach Kevin Wilson as capable of playing the position. All are listed as defensive backs on IU’s roster.

Junior Ben Bach was listed as the preliminary starter in the first released depth chart. He saw action in all 13 of IU’s games last year, and even made his first career start against Duke. Bach posted 12 tackles and a pass breakup in 2015, mainly contributing on special teams where he was twice named IU special teams player of the week.

However, Wilson said Monday that Bach has also spent time at corner in fall camp, so it’s unclear if husky will be the only position he plays this fall.

Fellow junior Jayme Thompson is battling a turf toe injury at the moment, but he might be the highest profile member of the group. Thompson was a consensus four-star prospect out of high school who chose to attend Ohio State. He redshirted his first year with the Buckeyes before transferring to Iowa Western Community College, and then to IU where he participated in this year’s spring practices.

Thompson has the talent to get on the field, but Wilson is still looking to see consistency from him and until he’s healthy enough again to practice Allen’s hands are tied.

Freshman Marcelino Ball is young, only 17, but he has the confidence and size of a veteran. Allen said Tuesday the 247Sports Composite three-star recruit was one of his main targets in the short time he had between joining IU’s staff and National Signing Day in February, and the Georgia native’s play has backed that up.

Sophomore Zeke Walker, previously listed at linebacker, provides the most size. He had nine tackles, one for loss, and a forced fumble in four 2015 appearances before a Lisfranc injury suffered during the loss to Ohio State ended his season.

The injury kept him out of spring ball, so fall camp is his opportunity to make a great first impression on Allen.

Looking back to Allen’s lone season as defensive coordinator at the University of South Florida, the husky position was very important to USF’s success on that side of the ball.

Jamie Byrd, a senior in 2015, started all 13 games at husky. The Florida native, who like Thompson spent time at a Division One power before going to Iowa Western CC for a year, finished second on the team in tackles and tackles for loss.

Byrd also tied for the team lead in sacks with five.

IU’s defense would very much benefit from a similar level of production.

Depth Chart

18 Ben Bach, 6-1, 197, Redshirt Junior

12 Jayme Thompson, 6-2, 191, Redshirt Junior

-or-

6 Zeke Walker, 6-2, 215, Redshirt Sophomore

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