Last week we took a look at how Dan Feeney makes the ground game go. The Hoosier definitely need Feeney back in the trenches this week against Wake Forest’s strong front seven. But the key to the Hoosiers get to 3-0 is probably Richard Lagow, making his 3rd career start for Indiana.
But his inexperience is nothing to be afraid of this week. In fact, there are a couple reasons to think that Lagow could have his coming out party this week against the Demon Deacons.
How many times have we seen this next play? Nate Sudfeld to whomever. This play was money when Sudfeld was a Hoosier. And Lagow and Nick Westbrook made it work for the first time post-Sudfeld two weeks ago against Ball State.
It’s a simple play. The receivers are stacked and you hope that either the defender responsible for the receiver off the line of scrimmage either picks the wrong side of the block (like the Ball State defender did in the clip above) or that he misses a tackle.
That latter is why that play could work against Wake Forest.
Check out the Demon Deacons’ defenders tackling and route to the ball in this next clip.
That one play against a bad Duke team made me think that quick screen action could work for Indiana on Saturday, but also made me wonder where else Lagow might have success. Then I saw this next clip.
Like in the clip of the Duke play above, Wake Forest is in a nickel package. The reason? Because they’d stuffed the run for three quarters and Duke and Tulane both had abandoned the ground game altogether. (This is why we want Feeney back.)
In the Duke clip, the defense is playing man and in the Tulane clip they’re in a zone. But on both plays, the linebackers abandon the middle of the field for different reasons. In the Duke clip, the outside linebacker take the running back while the Mike has a spy on the quarterback. In the Tulane clip, they both bite just long enough on the read play action to clear out the middle.
Now, why can Richard Lagow have success against that? Indiana already spreads the defense out on every play, regardless of whether the running game is working or not. (In fact, it helps the running game work.) So getting Wake Forest into the nickel package won’t be difficult.
And then there’s the fact that he already has had success against it:
This play is a little different in the fact that Lagow hits Westbrook over the top for a huge play rather than hitting him underneath the safeties. But that route would have been there too as the linebacker (3) bites on the fake just enough to clear that underneath area.
Lagow and his receivers could have some success on those quick hitters this weekend against Wake Forest but don’t be surprised at all if they rack up the yards and points throwing across the middle