CHICAGO — Adam Replogle describes teammate Larry Black Jr. as a “great pass-rusher.”
Black said Replogle is a “tough, hard-nosed player.”
The two senior tackles provide leadership for Indiana’s defense.
“They’ve played a fair amount, and they’ve always been pretty good, but we need them to play at an impact Big Ten high-level,” IU football coach Kevin Wilson said during Big Ten media day Friday at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place. “Not, ‘I’m one of the best guys on Indiana’s defense.’ I’m playing some of the best football in the Big Ten. Those two are capable as D linemen.
“They are mature, strong, experienced. They are good football players and they need to play at a high level.”
The 6-foot-3, 292-pound Replogle has appeared in all 36 games in his career and has started the last 35.
Replogle, from Centerville, Ohio, had a career-high 49 tackles last season, fifth on the team, and led the Hoosiers with four sacks. He was second on the team with seven tackles for loss, forced one fumble and broke up two passes.
“He’s going at it every play,” Black said. “He’s a hard worker. He’s going to outwork that person in front of him. He makes a lot of plays. We need him on the D line, and he’s ready to go.”
Replogle knows there is room for improvement.
“Speed off the ball, that’s one of the biggest things I need to work on,” he said. “And working with my hands. It all starts with your hands.”
The 6-2, 311-pound Black started all 12 games last season. He had 47 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks.
“He’s a big, powerful dude,” Replogle said. “He uses that to his advantage.”
Black, from Cincinnati, finished tied for third on the team with 5 1/2 tackles for loss. Black and Replogle both have 15 1/2 career tackles for loss.
“I’ve learned to be patient with a lot of stuff,” Black said. “Sometimes you’re not going to have your best day or your best games, but you can’t let that get you down. You have to keep moving forward. I learned how to go through the course, stay afloat, keep a level head and keep working hard. Because I feel brighter days are in store for IU football.”
Replogle said Black, along with Nicholas Sliger, another senior tackle, are “looking to leave a lasting legacy at Indiana.”
To do that, the defense has to improve. The representatives at Big Ten media day specifically pointed to third-down stops.
“We want to be a great, strong, physical defense,” Black said. “We changed the scheme up a little bit. We are attacking more. It’s more being there and in position to make plays. Just be a firm defense.
“I’ve been though a lot of stuff since I’ve been here, really haven’t won as much as I’d like to. But, man, we have one more season for that. I tell the guys all the time, ‘We’re in these games, we’re going to go out there and compete, and we’re going to win some games this year.’ ”