Tom Allen’s background is on the defensive side of the ball and if there is one thing that’s been fairly consistent, it has been his defense. IU hasn’t been stocked with a lot of NFL talent but Allen gets his defenses to play extremely hard and they play as a team. That hasn’t changed this year with the team coming off of a defensive shutout against Indiana State and an impressive performance against Ohio State two weeks ago.
Everything starts up front with defensive end Andre Carter. The transfer from Western Michigan has been on a tear with two tackles for loss in their first two games. He also had a sack last week. Carter is a perfect fit for this defense because his motor is insane. He chases down plays but he also gets off the line with a purpose. On the opposite side, Lannel Carr has had a strong start to the season after transferring in from West Virginia where he was a part-time starter.
Transfers make up the entirety of the IU front four is made up of transfers. Ole Miss transfer LeDerrius Cox and Texas Tech transfer Philip Blidi man the two interior spots in this 4-2-5 scheme. Both are 295-305 pounds and they move well for their size. Neither has been overly productive so far but IU’s linebackers have been able to run free and make plays because of the play of these two.
The star of the defense is Aaron Casey. The middle linebacker led the team in tackles last year and also put up double-digit tackles for loss. He is off to a similar start this season with 18 tackles and a tackle for loss. I think it’s fair to say that Casey will be one of the top 3-4 linebackers UofL will see this season and his ability to make plays at the line of scrimmage. Per PFF, he is tied for 8th in the country in “stops” which constitutes plays where the offense “fails”. He is a player that can cause some issues for the Louisville offense.
Defensive back is a strong spot for IU as they bring back some production as well as mixing in some transfers. Stanford tranfer Nick Toomer impressed me with his phyiscal play early in the season and I think he could be a factor in run support. Noah Pierre is also a solid player as a nickel. The veteran slot corner can play the ball well but also does a good job in run support and defending quick screens.
The top player so far this season has been Phillip Dunnam. The Miami native has 14 tackles and a pick on the season and he flies around on defense. Louisville has abused safeties in the pass game as well as the run game. Dunnam will be a key player, in my opinion, as he has shown that he can play as a complete safety. UofL may be able to scheme some things to confuse the young safety as this will be his third start in his true sophomore season.