Oct 8, 2011; Bloomington, IN, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini wide receiver Ryan Lankford (12) runs the ball against Indiana Hoosiers cornerback Greg Heban (9) at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten Conference Football Preview: Indiana Hoosiers (Part 2: Defense)

In Kevin Wilson’s second season as head coach at Indiana, the Hoosiers finished tied for 5th in the Big Ten – Leaders with an overall record of 4-8 and a conference record of 2-6. Indiana hopes to improve their record in 2013 and the past two season should support this. Since Kevin Wilson took over as head coach in 2011, Indiana has improved their record each year.

Just like their offense coming into 2013, the Hoosiers return a lot of players on defense. They will be returning nine of their eleven defensive players from 2012. However, the two players Indiana lost during the offseason were defensive tackles, Adam Replogle and Larry Black.

Oct 13, 2012; Bloomington, IN, USA; Indiana Hoosiers cornerback Greg Heban (9) defends a pass intended for Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Philly Brown (10) during the first half at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Despite giving up 35.3 points per game in 2012, the Indiana defensive line was anchored by Replogle and Black.

Both players recorded double-digit tackles-for-loss for more than 30-yards each. Replogle recorded the third most tackles on the team with 71 total and had thirteen tackles-for-loss.

Not all is lost though for Indiana. The Hooisers still retained some quality starters and the most important one has to be safety Greg Heban.

Last year as a redshirt junior, Heban showed that he could be seen as the best player on the Indiana defense. He had the most total tackles in 2012 with 91 tackles.

On top of that, he recorded seven tackles-for-loss, three interceptions, and eight pass break-ups.

Indiana also has some quality defensive players coming in from their past recruiting class (2013). Three of these new arrivals include: linebackers Steven Funderburk and T.J. Simmons, and defensive lineman Jordan Heiderman.

Funderburk and Heiderman are incoming junior college recruits from the state of Iowa and Simmons was a high school recruit from Lakeland, Florida.

Expect the two junior college players to contribute on defense right away.

Both Funderburk and Heiderman were in the Top 15 among Iowa JUCO recruits and Funderburk was even ranked 237th overall by 247 Sports. However, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Heiderman used to help fill the holes left by the departures of Replogle and Black.

The Hoosiers will look to improve their record again in 2013, but their success will be tied directly to their defense. No matter how well their offense does this season, it will be the Indiana defense that will be the judge of how good the Hoosiers will be.

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Tags: Football Greg Heban Indiana Hoosiers Jordan Heiderman Steven Funderburk T.J. Simmons

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