Indiana coach Kevin Wilson said tempo isn't about going fast. It's about remaining as inconsistent -- in speed, not play -- as possible.
"You're trying to keep the defense a little off-guard with playcalling, formations, where you're attacking them – same thing with tempo," Wilson told reporters during his game week press conference ahead of IU's matchup with Indiana State on Thursday. "You don't want to be very, very slow. You don't want to be very, very fast.
"If you're doing something all the time, you're consistent. The more consistent you are with what you're doing, the defense can kind of hone in. So you've got to pick your spots."
IU ran a play every 20.3 seconds in 2012, so speedy play is nothing new for the Hoosiers. This year, the Hoosiers expect to keep opponents guessing more often than not.
Inconsistent play and the lack of a power run game has hurt IU's ability to dictate the speed of the game in past seasons, despite that blazing average between snap times.
Depth has also been an issue for the Hoosiers in the past, and the team looks much stronger in that regard as it prepares for the Thursday kickoff in Bloomington.
Wilson will stick with the same offense he brought to IU: a multiple, spread attack. But this season there will likely be more runs, and the Hoosiers will be able to fit that moniker of versatility.
"We're gonna spread it out and we'll be a little bit more multiple in our personnel," Wilson said. "We're trying to work on the running game and to try and be a little bit more physical, and not just for third and one or goal line. It's to have some balance, some toughness, incorporate play-action passing."
That should add up to an even more dangerous offense than last season, when IU led the Big Ten in passing offense and was second in the conference in total yards.
This time, the Hoosiers hope, those numbers will lead to wins. And dictating the action within the game on offense will be a key to putting up numbers in that most important category.
"Tempo doesn't mean we're going fast all the time," Wilson said. "We'll use that as we need to."