BLOOMINGTON – When it comes to Indiana football offense, Mike DeBord believes in speed and power. Actually, he believes in both no matter the program.
It worked at Tennessee the last couple of seasons. It worked before that at Michigan.
Will it work at Indiana?
We’re about to find out.
What does that mean?
Enlightenment came two hours before Saturday’s IU-Illinois basketball tipoff, when Allen introduced DeBord and new receivers coach/passing game coordinator Grant Heard, plus quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson during a press conference at Assembly Hall.
“Tom and I talked before I came here,” DeBord said. “We both have the same ideas. We’ll be a tempo offense, but we also have to be able to run. We will run the ball. We have to have an explosion game. We have to throw down the field. We need to have that ability, as well.”
Allen sat beside him nodding his head in the universal sign for yes.
“But the biggest thing is not turning it over,” DeBord said. “We can’t have fumbles and throw interceptions. We have to protect the defense.”
The Big Ten has changed since DeBord was at Michigan (in the late 1990s, and again 10 years ago), and it has not.
“In the Big Ten there are more wide-open offenses,” DeBord said. “You see more spread and tempo. But the Big ten is the Big Ten. It’s tough football. You’ve got to play physical. In November, when the weather can turn, it goes back to running the ball. That will never change.”
To make these hires, Kevin Johns and James Patton were not retained from Kevin Wilson’s staff. Every other assistant coach will stay.
“This will be our full-time staff,” Allen said.
Allen emphasized that he will remain the defensive coordinator.
“I want to run the defense and manage the team. On game days I want to call the defense and manage the game. In order to do that, I had to hire an offensive coordinator that I totally trusted to allow him to be the head coach of the offense. That’s why I hired Mike.
“I will coach to my strength. It’s important that I continue to mold this defense into what I want it to become. We want to be in the top-25 in all categories.
“Mike will coach the offense. He will be the head coach of the offense. I won’t tell him what plays to call.”
DeBord smiled beside him and said, “But there might be times I want you to call the plays.”
You don’t always get what you want.