Two years ago in Charlottesville, Virginia and Indiana met for the first time. The Hoosiers joined Maryland and North Carolina as the only three schools to fall victim to a struggling Cavaliers squad - handily so, at 47-7. This Saturday, the teams will be meeting for the rematch, this time in Bloomington. Coincidentally, neither of the then-head coaches is still with either program. But bothand Indiana first-year head coach Kevin Wilson have done their fair share of scouting the opponents.
"They look pretty good from one game," Wilson told the media at his weekly press conference. "Last year they were 4-8 [at Virginia] and are now in year two of what they are doing. I watched the first game against William & Mary, even though it is a FCS team, they are an upper-level FCS team that has been in the playoffs of the FCS. But Virginia came out and took care of business."
Wilson also touted Virginia's defense, a defense which held William & Mary to just 169 total yards last week (63 of which came on their final, field goal-scoring drive).
"They were very active. They have one very good defensive end that does a great job off the edge. The linebackers are solid and they are pretty clean in the secondary with one really, really good corner that gets a lot of notoriety. They will pick their spots to blitz and when they blitz they will play some man, but for the most part they play a 4-3 quarters. It is a defense where they are traditional in the sense that they are aggressive and sound, and they will attack you up front. They will be aggressive with their corners and safeties sitting on routes and supporting the run."
Coach London had also done his homework.
"Defensively, they use multiple fronts-4-3, also a 3-3. We'll see something almost like a 50-front-center-up, defensive ends, walk one of their D-line men off the ball, put him in the bubble, run stunts with him and blitzes and things like that. I know they have a linebacker - [Jeff Thomas] - who's the second leading tackle on the team. He's a very rugged player, good player."
While London noted that the two teams are similar in that both coaches will be relying on young players to take on key roles, Wilson found at least one big difference between the teams, one that gave Virginia a W last week and Indiana an L: Virginia came out with energy.
"But I don't think we emphasized the energy and passion and enthusiasm that we needed to have. For us to be as lethargic, flat, stale or unemotional, especially from the defensive side and the offensive line play. But those are things we will look to improve upon and we will need that to match what Virginia is going to bring. Because we cannot go out there and be stale this week and match up with those guys. We need to have our hair on fire and flying around on both sides of the ball."
While Wilson has his can of kerosene and game plan ready to go for the week, London knows that his defense will need to condition for a potentially high-tempo game, noting that that Indiana will get back to the line of scrimmage quickly, check at the line, and call their plays, without giving the defense time to substitute.
This is going to be a good test for Virginia. Not because Indiana is, by any stretch of the imagination, a "good" team. But they are at least a B1G team, and this is a road game. The Hoos haven't won a non-conference road game in four years, dating back to a narrow 23-21 win over Middle Tennessee back in 2007.