The Indiana Hoosiers coaching staff has been shaken up this offseason. Generally when speaking of such shakeups, it’s due to a head coach cleaning house and starting new due to on field results. It’s a common occurrence to have this shake up happen after a miserable, let’s say 2-10, year. As you may have guessed already, the coaching changes at Indiana were not all due to firings. Instead, good guy Tom Allen had a few key pieces of his staff voluntarily leave. Let’s discuss.
Defensive Coordinator and D-Line Coach
Charlton Warren – Indiana DC -> University of North Carolina Defensive Backs Coach & Co-DC
Kevin Peoples – Indiana D-line Coach-> Missouri Assistant Defensive Line Coach
Chad Wilt – Defensive Coordinator and LB Coach <– Minnesota D-Line Coach
Paul Randolph – Defensive Line Coach <- Texas Tech D-Line Coach
I’m saving my slandering of the offensive coordinator hire for last, so let’s start with a piece that may not be as important as it seems. In 2020, Indiana had a stand out performance from its defense that resulted in DC Kane Wommack leaving for the South Alabama head coaching gig. Tom Allen struck while the iron was hot and hired Charlton Warren off the future National Champion Georgia Bulldogs. Warren was the defensive backs coach at Georgia and inherited a stout defense. Things looked promising in Bloomington.
Then things went very sour, very quickly. Indiana’s vaunted defense gave up a 50 yard touchdown run on the first series of the year. They allowed an ejection for targeting spoil what started as a great defensive performance against future CFP participant Cincinnati, could not stop Western Kentucky, and then folded after the Ohio State game and allowed the team to get trounced the remainder of the year. Say what you want about the talent pool and injuries, this defense flat out quit under Charlton Warren, and he fled to possibly greener pastures for the Tar Heels.
After Warren left, many wondered who could fill this coordinator spot. Well, Head Coach Tom Allen (HCTA) decided to hire Minnesota Gopher’s D-Line coach Chad Wilt. Wilt has coached at schools such as Liberty, Richmond, Ball State, Maryland, Army, Cincinnati, Minnesota, and was a GA at Virginia. He’s been around the block but has never been a defensive coordinator.
Well friends, instead of wondering how this would shake out with play-calling, let me just tell you right now that HCTA has not hired Wilt to call plays. HCTA will instead be acting as head coach and calling the defensive plays in the 2022 campaign. That’s right, Indiana’s defensive coordinator will not be calling plays this year. That’s interesting.
Digs at the circumstance aside, I think this could be a good hire for Indiana. The Hoosiers have always struggled on the D-Line and while Wilt isn’t leading that faction, he does have knowledge and experience that could possibly help Indiana in the trenches. Indiana also brought along Paul Randolph from Texas Tech to coach the defensive line specifically under Wilt.
TLDR: Indiana hired a defensive coordinator who will not call plays and a d-line coach from a conference without a defensive reputation.
Offensive Coordinator, Running Backs Coach, and Wide Receivers Coach
Nick Sheridan – Indiana OC and QB coach -> Washington Huskies Tight End’s Coach
Deland McCullough -Indiana Running Back’s Coach and Associate Head Coach -> Notre Dame Running Backs Coach
Grant Heard – Indiana WR Coach -> UCF Receiver’s Coach
Walt Bell - Offensive Coordinator and QB Coach <- UMass Head Coach (LOL)
Craig Johnson – Running Back’s Coach and Associate Head Coach <- Maryland Senior Analyst
Adam Henry – WR Coach and Co-Offensive Coordinator <- Dallas Cowboys WR Coach
Well, let’s get started with this shit show of an offense. After a great 2019 season which saw Kalen DeBoer lead Indiana to the most explosive offense it had had since Kevin Wilson’s tenure, Indiana began to decline offensively. After that spectacular 2019 season, DeBoer left for Fresno State and that meant Indiana needed an OC. Instead of hiring anyone with an actual resume, HCTA hired from within and went with Nick Sheridan. Sheridan harnessed some DeBoer hangover in the early stages of 2020, but as the season wore on, the offense got much worse. After sputtering to the 2020 finish line, Indiana returned a ton of talent for a hopefully explosive 2021 seasons.
Well, that did not happen. Instead, Indiana had a historically bad 2021 offensive year that saw them fail to score touchdowns in 3 B1G games, get shutout completely by Penn State despite only allowing 24, and only getting double digit scores in 3 of 9 B1G contests. That 3 should come with an asterisks because with less than a minute to go against Minnesota, Indiana walk on Grant Gremel threw the FIRST B1G TOUCHDOWN OF THE YEAR TO A WR with less than a minute to go. That was in game number 11 of the year. It was bad.
As terrible performances tend to shake things up, Nick Sheridan was fired probably before he got on the bus to come back from the Purdue trouncing. Blame whatever you want on the QB situation, Sheridan did absolutely nothing to try and get creative or score points. His offense was sloppy and boring and reminded us way too much of old man Debord.
Indiana needed a new OC and needed one quick. Who better to get for HTCA’s Indiana offense than….already fired and available former UMass Head Coach Walt Bell. That’s fucking right, Walt Bell. For those wondering why I’m upset that Indiana hired a relative no-namer at an important OC position, let me explain my dissatisfaction with the hire. Walt Bell, while young, comes from a position of absolutely no redeeming or quality marks on his resume. Walt Bell spent the past 3 seasons at UMass with teams that went a combined 2-23 and was fired after 8 games in 2021.
Prior to that, Bell was the OC under Willie Taggart at Florida State in 2018 where that team went 5-7. Prior to that, he was the OC at Maryland under DJ fucking Durkin where the Terps went 6-7 (okay) and 4-8 (fucking terrible). Prior to that, Walt was the OC at Arkansas State where the Pine Bluffs went 7-6 and 9-4 respectively. That’s not terrible. That said, in his OC career, Walt Bell is 31-32 with a 2-23 Head Coaching record. He’s not even known as a QB whisperer or a recruiter, nor is he an offensive wizard like Kalen Deboer or even Kevin Wilson.
Well apparently I’m not the only one who did not love this hire, as Indiana running backs coach and associate head coach Deland McCullough thought it good to tear apart the Indiana RB room and jump ship to Notre Dame, taking a very good RB recruit with him. Indiana proceeded to hire current Maryland analyst and former NFL coach Craig Johnson to fill that role. Johnson was in the NFL coaching from 2000-2019, and after leaving the Giants went to Maryland to analyze stuff.
Sensing impending explosions from the fanbase, HCTA decided to go pick up a new WR coach after Grant Heard parted ways and signed the Dallas Cowboys WR coach Adam Henry to fill that role. He also made Henry the co-offensive coordinator in case Walt Bell can’t figure things out.
I’m extremely not impressed with the Walt Bell hire. I truly think HCTA missed on Bell and now Indiana is stuck with him for what could be the rest of Allen’s career at Indiana. Make no mistake about it either, should Indiana flutter here and fail to get back to .500 in the next two years, Allen is out. So for him to stake his Indiana future on Walt Bell…he’s braver than I am.
After a 2-10 season, it’s natural to shake things up. To lose both major coordinators in one go, along with removing play calling from the defensive side and hiring a very lack-luster offensive coordinator who hasn’t been on a team with a winning record since Tom Crean was the Indiana basketball coach is at least weird. I’m not very impressed by the way this offseason has been handled. Like I said earlier, should this season go south Allen will be coaching for his life in 2023. He’s certainly safe for 2022, but the seat could go either way at this point. Let’s see how it shakes out.