2012 Indiana Preview – Offense
Indiana RB Stephen Houston
CollegeFootballNews.com 2012 Preview - Indiana Hoosier Offense
Preview 2012 - Offense
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What You Need To Know: New offensive coordinator Seth Littrell will continue with the theme that came down from head coach Kevin Wilson from the beginning of last year. The team has to be tougher and more physical with the hope coming from a line that took its lumps early on but now knows what it’s doing with four starters returning. The receiving corps gets seven of the top nine targets returning but needs a No. 1 target to emerge to throw a scare into an opposing defense. The plus side should be a backfield with Tre Roberson and Cameron Coffman two good quarterback options and Stephen Houston leading a suddenly deep stable of backs. Now the production has to come after finishing 101st in the nation in scoring and averaging 360 yards per game.
Star of the offense: Junior RB Stephen Houston
Passing: Tre Roberson
81-142, 937 yds, 3 TD, 6 INT
Rushing: Stephen Houston
151 carries, 802 yds, 8 TD
Receiving: Kofi Hughes
35 catches, 536 yds, 3 TD
Player who has to step up and be a star: Junior OT Charlie Chapman
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore OG Bernard Taylor
Best pro prospect: Junior TE Ted Bolser
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Bolser, 2) C Will Matte, 3) Houston
Strength of the offense: Experience, Youth
Weakness of the offense: Passing Efficiency, No. 1 Receiver
The Indiana quarterback situation wasn’t settled throughout last year with three different players getting significant time, but it was sophomore Tre Roberson who took over in the second half of the season and did what he could for the woeful attack completing 57% of his throws for 937 yards and three touchdowns with six interceptions. The 6-0, 183-pounder isn’t a bomber, but he’s extremely quick finishing second on the team with 426 yards and two scores highlighted by a 121-yard day against Northwestern. The former Indiana Mr. Football was the first true freshman quarterback to ever start for the Hoosiers, and at the very least he’ll be able to throw a curveball into the equation with his mobility and creativity.
Throughout the offseason sophomore Cameron Coffman got more and more work showing he might be an answer to get the passing game going. The 6-2, 191-pound JUCO transfer from Arizona Western CC isn’t all that big and doesn’t have a huge arm, but he’s a nice passer with the skills to push the ball all over the place and spread the offense out. The son of former Green Bay tight end Paul Coffman and brother of former Missouri star tight end Chase Coffman and former Kansas State quarterback Carson Coffman, Carson comes from a football family and has the right mentality to at least be a terrific backup option.
Watch Out For … the race for the starting spot. Roberson was the man over the second half of last season and he might be too promising and too good to keep off the field, but Coffman is being given every chance for the starting job. It’ll be a shocker if Roberson doesn’t take the opening snap of the season against Indiana State, but it’ll be a battle through the summer.
Strength: Roberson. He needs to be more of a passer and he has to be more efficient, but he was thrown to the wolves as a true freshman and made chicken salad out of chicken spit. He was so good and so promising with his all-around skills and upside that the writing was on the wall for …
Weakness: Ed Wright-Baker and Dusty Kiel. Wright-Baker was the team’s leading passer with 1,029 yards and Kiel was deep in the hunt for the starting job last offseason and finished with 427 yards and three scores. Both of them transferred and superstar recruit Gunner Kiel ended up blowing off the Hoosiers – and LSU – to play up the road at Notre Dame. That means the No. 3 quarterback going into the season will probably be Nathan Sudfeld, a 6-5, 215-pound passer who’ll be groomed for down the road.
Outlook: The IU passing game finished fifth in the Big Ten, but most of the yards came in blowout mode trying to catch up. Roberson has to be more efficient and Coffman has the ability to add more to the attack. The offense needs Roberson to become even more of a playmaker, but Coffman will get his chances from time to time.
Unit Rating: 6.5
The running back situation was supposed to be a plus going into last year, and now it’s a major positive for completely different reasons. 6-0, 222-pound junior Stephen Houston wasn’t in the best of shape and didn’t get much work over the first month of the season, but once October hit he turned into the workhorse for the ground game finishing with 802 yards and eight scores with three 100-yard games highlighted by a 151-yard day against Northwestern. The former JUCO transfer from Independence CC in Kansas has good enough power to push through the middle of the line and enough of a burst to tear off the big play, averaging 5.3 yards per catch. He was a little bit of a receiver with 17 catches for 164 yards, but he’s a runner.
5-10, 189-pound sophomore D’Angelo Roberts is a smaller, slipperier runner than Houston, but he has the talent and the upside to be a far bigger part of the rotation after finishing third on the team with 263 yards and four scores and catching seven passes for 61 yards as a true freshman. While he’s not built to be a workhorse he has the ability to be dangerous for ten touches per game.
The Hoosiers don’t really use a fullback, but 5-11, 232-pounds sophomore Matt Perez is close with good thump and showing up big in practices. The star of the IU spring game is finally 100% after suffering a torn ACL in practice two years ago and was mostly a special teamer last season while finishing fourth on the team with 194 yards and four scores and four catches for 28 more. The former Parade All-American from Chicago might not be the main man, but he’ll be a pounder who has earned more of a look after looking great this offseason.
Former Morehead State back Isaiah Roundtree showed this spring that he’s ready to be a part of the rotation. He spend last year as a scout teamer with good speed and athleticism, and while he’ll be a specialist and a special teamer, he adds good depth.
Watch Out For … Perez. He didn’t get anything more than mop-up work for the most part last season, and he’s not going to push Houston out of the starting job, but with his size and toughness he could bring some thump to the running game that might rely mostly on Houston and QB Tre Roberson to make defenses nervous.
Strength: Options. Depth was supposed to be the big key last year, but none of the top options ended up doing much of anything and then Houston took over. Now there’s Roberts, Perez, and Roundtree to go along with Roberson to make the Hoosier ground game work.
Weakness: The offensive line. There’s hope for a big improvement up front with a little more time, but there wasn’t much of a push against the better defenses. The IU backs will have to make things happen on their own more often than not.
Outlook: This is a young, promising group of running backs that should grow with the rest of the team. Houston and the runners have the potential to be the team’s strength with a little more time and a little better blocking, and they’ll get more help with an improved passing game and a more experienced quarterback. Expect a good rotation to keep everyone fresh and give Houston a break.
Unit Rating: 6.5
The passing game didn’t get any help when star receiver Damarlo Belcher got the boot after catching 25 passes in six games. 6-2, 211-pound junior Kofi Hughes turned out to be the No. 1 target leading the team with 35 catches for 536 yards and three scores averaging 15.3 yards per grab. Past a wrist injury that bothered him in 2010, he stepped up his play over the second half of last year and got a few carries running for 162 yards. While he’s not a blazer, he’s big and uses his size well.
True sophomore Shane Wynn was used mostly as a kickoff returner averaging 21.1 yards per try with a touchdown, but now he’ll be used more as a receiver after finishing fifth on the team with 19 catches for 197 yards. He’s only 5-7 and 156 pounds but he’s a speedster who should be great in the open field. The coaching staff will find a way to get the ball in his hands as a runner and a receiver.
6-3, 208-pound true sophomore Cody Latimer has terrific size and excellent upside. He stepped in and got a little bit of work with 12 catches for 141 yards and two scores before getting knocked out for the year hurt. Smart, athletic, and with good quickness for his size he could be a dangerous No. 2 receiver, while 6-2, 207-pound junior Jamonne Chester is the team’s second-leading returning target after making 21 grabs for 240 yards. A fantastic athlete who was a high school quarterback, he’ll be a big part of four-wide sets as well as in a rotation with Latimer.
6-3, 197-pound junior Duwyce Wilson has deep threat speed with great leaping ability and all-around athleticism. The 2008 Indiana Mr. Football caught 17 passes for 217 yards and three scores before getting hurt late in the season, but he was a main man two years ago with 32 catches and will see time somewhere in the equation.
Junior tight end Ted Bolser got the nickname of “Touchdown Ted” after making five scoring grabs on 27 catches as a freshman, but he failed to make too much of an impact last year catching 14 passes for 165 yards and a score. At 6-6 and 245 pounds he has great size and the receiving ability to be a field stretcher, and now he should do even more as the reliable go-to guy for the passing attack on third downs. He’ll be joined by senior Charles Love III, a 6-3, 243-pound blocker who can’t seem to stay healthy. He missed most of his freshman year with a torn ACL and was out all of last season hurt, but now he’s the No. 2 tight end.
Watch Out For … more Bolser. New offensive coordinator Seth Littrell also works with the tight ends and he’ll make sure his veteran is targeted early and often. Without any sure-thing star wide receiver to rely on, Bolser should be featured.
Strength: Experience. Belcher is gone as is No. 2 receiver Dre Muhammad, but seven of the top nine receivers are back. With improved quarterback play and more experience, this tall, athletic corps should start to do more.
Weakness: A devastating No. 1 target. Hughes is good and Latimer has a ton of upside, but there isn’t any one wide receiver who’s going to keep defensive coordinators up at night – for the moment. Bolser will be good, and now the targets on the outside have to be great.
Outlook: It’s a young, promising group that has the potential should grow with the overall improvement in the offense and the passing game. It depends on which quarterback gets the call – Coffman is the bigger passer than Roberson – but the upside is there for this to be a decent area with a little bit of time.
Unit Rating: 6
The offensive line struggled in pass protection but four starters return to a front five that should be stronger. However, the one open spot is at left tackle where Andrew McDonald is back after being the only starter to get the call for all 12 games. 6-6, 308-pound junior Charlie Chapman got a little time over his first two seasons but hasn’t been a starter. He has the size and has a little bit of athleticism, but he needs to log in the time on the outside and has to be consistent. Smart and ready to show what he can do, he could be the key to the offense. If he struggles, 6-5, 293-pound redshirt freshman Gregory Lewis will get a look. The Fort Lauderdale native can move and is a pure pass protector who’ll eventually get a starting job over the next few years.
Anchoring the front is veteran center Will Matte, the leader of the line for the last few years and normally a constant for the offense with 6-2, 290-pound size and good feet. However, the fifth-year senior was never quite right over the second half of last year missing three games before coming back to start the final two. This is his line, while undersized 6-2, 263-pound sophomore Collin Rahrig will once again serve as the understudy in the middle. Rahrig started three times last year when Matte was out but spent the rest of his time at right guard taking over the starting job early on and moving back over late in the year. He’s not big but he can move, and next year he should be the leader up front moving into the center job full-time.
6-2, 291-pound sophomore Bernard Taylor was thrown to the wolves as a true freshman and came up with a good year even though he was still learning what he was doing. A defensive lineman when he came to Bloomington, he was moved to the offensive side showing good athleticism and toughness for the running game. The upside is there for him to be a main man for the running game to eventually work around.
Sophomore Peyton Eckert got a start early on against South Carolina State and then took over the starting job for a stretch as a true freshman. At 6-6 and 292 pounds he has excellent size and he showed enough to eventually become a mainstay up front, but he’s a right tackle and doesn’t quite have the bulk and the athleticism to be a top performer on the left side.
Sophomore Cody Evers looked good last offseason and got the start against Virginia at right guard. The 6-4, 306-pounder is a good hitter who beefed up over the last year and should be a big part of the running game in the near future. He’ll start out as a backup at right guard but he could easily move to the left side, while 6-4, 291-pound sophomore Bill Ivan will start out at left guard behind Taylor but has the ability to see time at tackle. An academic all-star, he saw a little bit of time but could do more as a swing reserve.
Watch Out For … Taylor. Still learning on the fly, the true sophomore has excellent athleticism and ability at left guard but he needs more time. Once he gets it all together he could be an all-star.
Strength: Experience. Several true freshmen got their chances right away and now they’re ready to be more consistent. With four starters returning and Chapman a decent option at left tackle, the starting five should be solid.
Weakness: Beating people up. The call came out from Kevin Wilson and the coaching staff early on last year to get more physical and a lot nastier from Day One. It started to happen a little bit as the season went on, and while this should be a tougher line against the run it won’t exactly be Wisconsin’s front wall.
Outlook: The offensive line had to patch things together and was never able to rely on a consistent lineup with only one starter going coast-to-coast. The line might not be dominant, but it’s growing and should be better and better over the next few years with underclassmen playing the biggest roles and providing the quality depth. As this group goes, so go the Hoosiers.
Unit Rating: 6
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2012 Indiana Defense |
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