Bloomington, Ind. - Fans interested in getting an early preview of the Indiana football team can do so this Friday when the Hoosiers strap on the gear and take the field for the Spring Game at 7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium. All this week, iuhoosiers.com will breakdown this year's squad. Today, we focus on the defense.
Defensive line coach Joe Cullen takes over as the defensive coordinator, and he returns his entire starting front seven, led by senior nose tackle Jodie Clemons. Clemons, a 2003 honorable mention All-Big Ten selection, is one of five returning Hoosier defensive players who started every game last season. He finished with 33 tackles, including a team-high 12 for loss and six quarterback sacks. Clemons had multiple tackles for loss in four games last year, including two tackles for loss each in three consecutive games (Kentucky, at Michigan and at Michigan State).
Defensive lineman Martin Lapostolle started 11 of the 12 games in which he played in 2003. He posted a season-high two tackles against Kentucky.
After sitting out the 2002 season as a redshirt, Kenny Kendal started all 12 games at right defensive end in 2003, playing 807 snaps. He closed the season with 30 tackles (21 solo and nine assisted). He finished tied for fourth on the team with 4.5 tackles for loss. Kendal recorded a career-high five tackles at Minnesota on Nov. 1 and also had four solo stops (two for a loss of 13 yards) at Michigan on Sept. 27.
Defensive end Victor Adeyanju is one of five players to start all 12 games on defense last season, and all five return this fall (Adeyanju, Jodie Clemons, Kenny Kendal, Kyle Killion and Duane Stone). Adeyanju finished with 31 tackles (24 solo, seven assisted), including five for a loss of 13 yards. He tied his career-high with five solo stops in the 33-3 win over Indiana State.
Russ Richardson provides experienced depth to Indiana's defensive line, having played 23 games in his first two seasons. He saw action in all 12 games (259 snaps) in 2003, including a season-high 46 against Northwestern. Richardson posted a season-high four tackles in the season opener at Connecticut and had a tackle for loss at Washington.
Junior Kyle Killion is the leader of a seasoned group of Indiana linebackers. Killion is one of five Indiana defensive players to start all 12 games in 2003. The team's leading tackler with 97 stops, Killion recorded at least 10 tackles in five games, capped with a 10 tackle (all solo) effort in the regular season finale against Purdue. Killion also began the season with back-to-back 10 tackle efforts at Connecticut and Washington. Killion was second on the team with seven tackles for loss and also intercepted a pass at Washington. He played in 875 total snaps.
Senior Josh Moore started the first six games of his college career and played in 10 games overall before a knee injury sidelined him for the final two games. Indiana's fourth-leading tackler with 68 total stops, Moore opened his career with 13 stops and an interception against home state Connecticut. Moore tied his career-high with 13 tackles (10 solo) at Michigan State and added 12 total stops at Washington. He also posted a career-high two tackles for loss in the 33-3 win over Indiana State.
Jake Powers was one of 12 true freshmen to see action for Indiana in 2003, starting five of the 11 games in which he played and earning Big Ten All-Freshman Team honors by The Sporting News. He was one of five true freshmen to play at least 350 snaps last fall, finishing with 363. Powers made the first start of his career against Ohio State and responded with a career-high 13 tackles (11 solo). He averaged over five tackles in each of the next four games, including seven stops in the regular season finale against Purdue.
Senior linebacker Kevin Smith played in all 12 of Indiana's games in 2003, with starting assignments at Connecticut, at Washington, vs. Kentucky, at Michigan and at Minnesota. He played in 341 overall snaps, highlighted by a season-high 65 at Washington and 56 snaps against Minnesota. He notched a career-high five tackles each at Washington and at Minnesota.
Junior college transfer Paul Szczesny also figures into the picture prominently. Szczesny was a three-star prospect by Rivals.com. He made 75 tackles to go with three interceptions and two defensive touchdowns as a junior at Pima CC, where he was a second-team all-conference selection.
After playing linebacker as a freshman and sophomore, Herana-Daze Jones earned honorable mention All-Big Ten recognition in his first season at strong safety. He finished second on the team with 96 tackles. One of Indiana's most active players, Jones had a team-high two interceptions and four forced fumbles. In addition, he blocked a punt that was recovered and returned for a touchdown at Michigan and finished the season with three tackles for loss and a sack. Jones posted a season-high 13 tackles at Washington, then matched that number with 13 more at Minnesota. His 921 total snaps ranked fourth on the team.
Safety Will Meyers made an immediate impact in his first season at Indiana, earning First Team Freshman All-American and Big Ten Defensive Freshman of the Year honors from The Sporting News. Meyers ranked third on the team with 83 tackles (65 solo). His two sacks were good for third on the team as well. Meyers forced four fumbles on the year and finished with 3.5 tackles for loss. Meyers exploded onto the scene in his second game at the collegiate level, registering 13 tackles, forcing a fumble and recovering a fumble at Washington on September 6. From there, he went on to force at least one fumble in each of the team's next three games.
Buster Larkins started three of the 12 games in which he played in 2003 (Michigan State, Northwestern and Ohio State). Larkins tied his career-high with seven solo tackles against Northwestern, and he added four solo stops each at Michigan and Michigan State. He returned a blocked punt 37 yards for a touchdown against the Wolverines. Larkins also intercepted the first pass of his collegiate career against Indiana State.
Junior safety Will Lumpkin was off to a solid start in the 2003 season before a knee injury at Washington sidelined him for the remainder of the year. Lumpin was one of three Indiana players to record double digit tackles (a career-high 12) in the season opener at Connecticut before he suffered the knee injury at Washington a week later.
Leonard Bryant started six of the 11 games in which he played last season. The junior cornerback intercepted the first pass of his college career Sept. 27 at Michigan. He finished the year with 26 tackles (23 solo and four assisted), highlighted by a career-high six solo stops against the Wolverines.
Cedric Henry played in all 12 games his first season, starting each of the last six contests. In addition to tying for the team lead with two interceptions, he finished with 40 tackles (29 solo and 11 assisted). His interceptions came against Ohio State and at Purdue, and he also recovered a fumble and returned it 31 yards against Purdue. Henry was on the field for 544 snaps of game action, ranking behind only Will Meyers and Chris Mangiero in snaps played among true freshmen. He posted back-to-back career-highs in tackles (nine) at Minnesota and against Illinois, including a career-best seven solo stops against the Illini.
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