14 Teams in 14 Days: Indiana Hoosiers
Indiana's 2013 season can be summed up in three words. Epically bad defense.
The Hoosiers' gave up 35 points or more 10 times last season. They played 12 games. Only seven teams allowed more points than the Hoosiers did last season, while none gave up more yards. Indiana found themselves in the bottom 10 in most statistical defensive categories.
On the flip side the Hoosiers' offense was as potent as their defense was lethargic, which lead them 5 wins in 2013 and would have propelled them to a bowl game had they not stumlbed against Minnesota.
While the Hoosiers lose a dynamic offensive player in quarterback Tre Robinson, they still have one of the best quarterbacks in the B1G Ten in Nate Sudfeld.
Sudfeld is protected by one of the deepest offensive lines in the B1G Ten. Lead by tackle Jason Spriggs and guard Dan Feeney, Indiana boasts an offensive line rotation nine players deep.
The offensive line's job is made a lot easier when you're blocking for a back like Tevin Coleman. Coleman's a shifty speedster who excels at hitting the edge. An ankle injury ended Coleman's season prematurely in 2013. He would finish with 958 yards in nine games, ripping off an eye-popping 7.3 yards per carry.
While the Hoosiers have the quarterback, the runningback, the offensive line and the system in place they may fall short at wide receiver. With 2014 brings the task of replacing seniors Kofi Hughes, Ted Bolser and Cody Latimer and Duwyce Wilson. Seniors Shane Wynn and Nick Stoner will be expected to carry the load this year.
Not much went right defensively for Indiana in 2013. After one of the worst defensive campaigns in B1G Ten history, the Hoosiers tabbed Brian Knorr to lead the defense. With the arrival of Knorr comes the switch to the 3-4 in 2014, meaning the first few games could be a replay of 2013 while players transition to their new roles.
Darius Latham makes the switch from nose tackle to defensive end in the new scheme and Knorr is relying on his athleticism to make him a playmaker upfront, something they'll need because of what lies in the secondary.
While the entire defensive unit was bad in 2013, the secondary was without question the worst unit of the defense. There is no good news here and the bad news is Indiana returns most of the same cast from the disaster that was the 2013 secondary. Expect many teams to be able to pass the ball against the Hoosiers again in 2014.
|8/30||vs INDIANA STATE|
|9/13||@ Bowling Green|
|10/4||vs NORTH TEXAS|
|10/18||vs MICHIGAN STATE|
|11/8||vs PENN STATE|
|11/22||@ Ohio State|
The trip to Columbia on September 20th will mark 20 years to the day since the last time the Hoosiers were a ranked team. Will they break that streak this year? Probably not. Indiana made a break through last year, knocking off Penn State for the first time in school but they stubbed their toe with a loss to Minnesota which cost them a bowl bid. The real story though is simple. Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio State. The Hoosiers have all three (and Michigan State) on their schedule and are a combined 4-41 against the three schools in recent years.
The offense will be fun to watch again and may just be the best in the B1G Ten. Defensively, its hard to imagine the Hoosiers getting any worse. If they can steal a win from Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin or Ohio State and beat the teams they should on their schedule (6-14 in their last 20 vs in-state rival Purdue) the Hoosiers will be a 7 win team and bowling in late December.