Kevin Wilson's most important task as Indiana's new coach required him to find someone to lead the Hoosiers' chronically bad defense.
According to several media reports, Wilson has made a hire. Two of them, in fact.
Nebraska linebackers coach Mike Ekeler and New Mexico defensive coordinator Doug Mallory reportedly will be brought in as Indiana's new co-defensive coordinators. An IU spokesman told me that nothing is official and no announcement is expected Sunday, but all signs points to Ekeler and Mallory taking over the defense.
"I don't think anything's been released," Mallory told The (Bloomington) Herald-Times. "Nothing’s been finalized yet, so I can’t comment on anything."
The Lincoln Journal-Star reports that Ekeler is headed to Indiana and informed Nebraska's linebackers of his departure Saturday morning. He will remain with the Huskers for the Holiday Bowl.
"I can't comment until it all becomes official at Indiana," Ekeler told the Journal Star.
I'd be very surprised if the hires don't come through for IU.
I'll have my full reaction when Indiana makes an official announcement, but here's my quick take.
Ekeler is a very promising coach and did a great job with Nebraska's linebackers this season. Mallory's defenses at New Mexico have really struggled, ranking second to last nationally this season (469 ypg) and 100th nationally last year (418.7 ypg). He does bring a strong connection to the Indiana program as the son of former Hoosiers coach Bill Mallory, the last man to bring consistent success to the program.
Both men have their strong points, but I really don't like the co-coordinator label. It didn't work for Indiana's defense the past few years with Joe Palcic and Brian George, and it rarely works anywhere.