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B1G 2019 // Go West, Indiana, and Find an Offensive Coordinator

Sam House, IDS News

The hallmark of Indiana football under Kevin Wilson was an explosive offense. The Hoosiers were often involved in shootouts, and while most of them still ended in sorrow, there was always the feeling that one or two good possessions might change the game. During the first couple of years of the Tom Allen era, Indiana’s offense was commanded by Mike DeBord, and “explosive” was not a word that could often be applied to his style of offense, at least not in a positive way. After DeBord’s retirement following the 2018 season, Tom Allen went West to bring in a new offensive coordinator, one with strong Midwestern ties and a reputation for making mediocre offenses much better: Kalen DeBoer.

DeBoer’s first OC job was at his alma mater, the University of Sioux Falls. 5 years after being hired to coach the offense, he was handed the reigns of the entire team, and in 5 years as USF Head Coach he led the team to the NAIA Championship game 4 times, winning 3. From there, he moved on to become OC at Southern Illinois for 4 years, then Eastern Michigan for 3 years while turning an offense that ranked 111th the year before he started into one that finished 35th in 2016, and the last two years were spent turning Fresno State from the 120th ranked offense in a 1-11 season to the 47th ranked offense in a 10-4 campaign the following year, and improving the Bulldogs further to a top 30 offense and a 12-2 record last season.

While Indiana’s offense the last two years has not been ranked nearly so low as EMU’s or Fresno State’s before DeBoer arrived, the middle 80s is a far cry from Indiana’s 2015 offense which ranked 25th nationally. DeBoer has at least two years to work his magic, assuming no one else comes to poach him from the Hoosiers first, and if he can bring Indiana’s offensive firepower back to where it once was, Indiana might also return to postseason football the way EMU and Fresno did under his tutelage.