Understanding didn't come easily for Mallory. His father, Bill, still holds the school career record for victories (69). He led the Hoosiers to six bowls in an eight-year span. IU has been to only nine bowls in its century-plus of playing the sport.
Consecutive losing seasons and declining attendance cost the elder Mallory. He was fired after 13 seasons in 1996. It also cost Doug, who lost his job coaching defensive backs and special teams for his father.
“I was a little bitter,” he said. “It's difficult the first time you're part of a staff that's been fired. And when your father is the one getting fired, you have some negative feelings. I struggled with it a little bit.”
“Struggled” gave way to acceptance. In the years that followed, the younger Mallory coached at Maryland, Oklahoma, LSU and New Mexico. He thrived at every stop except New Mexico, where lack of talent made that impossible.
Mallory was part of LSU's 2007 national championship team. He worked with some of the nation's best defenses and coached All-Americans who wound up in the NFL.
Along the way, a younger brother, Curt, coached the Hoosiers secondary under Gerry DiNardo from 2002 to 2004. Their father stayed in Bloomington and eventually reconnected with the university. He attends many games and practices.
Now Mallory is back at Indiana, as co-defensive coordinator under new coach Kevin Wilson. Even after all these years, the Mallory name means something, and if that includes a return to Hoosier glory, all the better.
“My dad was a big part of the program for 13 years,” he says. “I don't know if there's a person who loves this university more than he does. He's continued to try to stay close to program. I've been removed a little bit.”
Is it important, as Wilson begins a new coaching era, that a Mallory is again involved in IU football?
“I know a lot of former players followed my dad pretty close,” Doug says. “They always supported my father. Maybe it's important for them. That's hard for me to answer.”
What's easy to answer is the defensive approach Mallory and co-defensive coordinator Mike Ekeler will use. It will emphasize aggressiveness and stopping the run. It will strive to turn offenses one-dimensional and then make them pay for it.
“Some of that we'll have to modify depending on personnel,” Mallory says. “You have to have the ability to play both man and zone in the back end.
“Ideally, we'd like to pressure a lot. That's a big part of the package. That might vary week to week depending on the opponent. It will depend on the type of corners and cover ability we have. We want to be multiple, but simple.”
IU has more resources to win than ever before. The facilities are the best in program history, thanks to a renovated Memorial Stadium. It includes the nation's biggest weight room at 25,000 square feet and one of the nation's largest academic-support centers.
“This facility is beautiful,” Mallory says. “It's top-notch. They've done an outstanding job with it. They've made a real commitment here. I don't know if I've seen any nicer weight room than this.”
In the end, though, it's about winning and maximizing your talent, and it starts with the quality of that talent. Coaches have been recruiting to retain the commitments from former coach Bill Lynch and add some new ones.
“There are a lot of great players out there,” Mallory says, “but are they the type of kids who are able and do the things they are supposed to do on and off the field? You want good, quality kids who can play. They have to have the size, height, weight and speed to play. Once they get here, it's about our ability to develop them and get them to play within the framework of the system.”
Tight end Ted Bolser was named to the Football Writers Association of America's freshman All-America team. He set IU freshman tight-end records for catches (27), yards (407) and touchdowns (five).
Also, Hoosier receiver Terrance Turner will play in the East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 22 in Orlando. Turner finished his college career with 143 catches for 1,436 yards and four touchdowns. He ranks sixth in school history in catches.
It's not official, but it looks as if Wyoming defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery is heading to Indiana to coach the defensive ends. Rivals. com's Tom Dienhart reported that Wilson has hired Montgomery for the final defensive-coach position.
Montgomery, 31, coached at Wyoming for two years. Before that he coached the defensive line for three years at Northern Iowa. He played in the Arena Football League for three years before becoming a coach. He also was a three-year starter at defensive tackle for Iowa, 1998-2001.