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Rod Carey looks to make offensive ‘flashes more permanent’ by bringing detail-oriented approach to Indiana football



Indiana football
New offensive coordinator Rod Carey looks to bring a more efficient offense to the field for Indiana football. (Indiana Athletics)

The Indiana football program was in nearly the same boat just one year ago when Rod Carey took over the offensive line. Now, Carey steps into a new role once again as he was elevated to offensive coordinator this week.

Following a 44-17 loss to Maryland and an offense spiraling down, Indiana head coach Tom Allen made a change and relieved Walt Bell of his offensive play-calling duties.

Through five games this year, the Indiana football program is averaging 20.8 points per game, 13th in the Big Ten. Against FBS opponents, Indiana is averaging just 12.8 points per game in regulation. Indiana scored 12 of its 29 points against Akron in week four, in four overtime periods.

For Carey, he knows the offense isn’t producing but also has seen some positives he can build around.

“There are probably some things that we have done that we need to do more of that has been successful. This is the cheap seats version of it: you see something that you’ve done good, and we just need to do more of it. You see something that hasn’t been productive, you just don’t do that anymore,” Carey said on Wednesday. “That’s the cheap seats version and is what we have been spending our time trying to identify as a staff. That is one of the little things we can do.”

It’s simple for Carey; if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Related: Tom Allen explains decision to make a change at Indiana football offensive coordinator

While the offense as a whole is clearly not effective to the way it should be, the flashes at times is what Carey wants to hone in on and duplicate. What Carey knows even more is that at this point in the season, there isn’t time for massive changes to system or scheme. It’s all about the details.

“There is no time to make drastic changes. It is going to be the small details that we have to do that are going to add up to a difference,” Carey said. “If I didn’t believe that I wouldn’t be standing in front of you. I told Coach Allen that, too, that if I didn’t believe that, not just me, but us, as we go forward can we make a difference. I do believe that.

“The setup is the setup, the offense is the offense. What you’re trying to do is get us to run those plays better and maybe do it with a little different flare here and there. That’s about all you can do. I’m excited about it and I think the guys are, too, being with the offense the last two days and the offensive staff. We’ve had flashes, so we need to make those flashes more permanent light on type deal.”

An intriguing side of things that Carey brings is his knowledge on both sides of the ball. In his quality control position prior, it gave him the flexibility to also sit in on defensive meetings and spend time around the defensive coaches as well.

With that in mind, he looks to make the Indiana football offense less predictable, an issue that has come to arise over the last year.

“I like misdirection, running, throwing, controlling the ball, and controlling the game. I believe that offenses control games and defenses play really well when an offense can control games. It doesn’t always go that way all the time, that’s just not how it goes. With Coach Allen, I follow his lead and we have talked a lot about this, from my time being a head coach, if we can control the game – and you obviously have to score points – your defense is going to play great, and you are going to get a lot of opportunities on offense.

“So, yes to all of the above for you: misdirection, running, throwing, yes. I like what works and that is what we are in the middle of trying to figure out.”

Carey spent time at Northern Illinois and Temple. During his time as an offensive coordinator and head coach at Northern Illinois, his offense was ranked in the top three of the MAC for four of his seven years. His rushing offense also topped the league for four seasons.

Carey understands the mountain he has to climb to get Indiana’s offense back on track — something that outside of a few quarters — hasn’t been moving forward.

With a good attitude and an understanding of what it takes to be successful, he’s ready to push, prod and lead the Indiana offense to heights it hasn’t been in quite some time.

“They want to be good, and they have a lot of energy to do that. I don’t think there’s a problem on any side of that the honesty and then the excitement,” Carey said. “I think that’s my job to get in there and prod that along more.

“There is not a magic wand here. It’s the little things, it’s the details and really with the setup with the staff and how we’re going to approach things. Those little things tend to make a big difference.”

Carey’s debut will be when Indiana takes the field next weekend at Michigan.

SEE ALSO: What questions Indiana football needs to answer during bye week

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Alec Lasley is the owner of Hoosier Illustrated, a comprehensive site covering news, updates and recruiting for Indiana University athletics. Alec has covered Indiana for six years and is a credentialed media member. He has previously worked for both Rivals and 247Sports.