2013 Indiana Preview – Offense
CollegeFootballNews.com 2013 Preview - Indiana Hoosier Offense
Preview 2013 - Offense
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What You Need To Know: The work in progress is starting to come together. Yes, Indiana led the Big Ten in passing partly because the defense was so bad that the O had to keep bombing away, but the attack worked whether it was Cameron Coffman or Tre Roberson under center. Now the Hoosiers have all their quarterbacks back along with a deep and talented stable of running backs and a deeper group of receivers. The young line did a nice job in pass protection, and now it's maturing into something potentially special with five young, good blockers growing into their own. But it'll still be the passing game that shines, and with ten of the top 11 pass catchers from last year back, it should be bombs away.
Star of the offense: Senior RB Stephen Houston
Passing: Cameron Coffman
247-407, 2,734 yds, 15 TD, 11 INT
Rushing: Stephen Houston
161 carries, 749 yds, 12 TD
Receiving: Shane Wynn
68 catches, 660 yds, 6 TD
Player who has to step up and be a star: Junior C Collin Rahrig
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore RB Tevin Coleman
Best pro prospect: Senior TE Ted Bolser
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Houston, 2) QB Tre Roberson, 3) WR Cody Latimer
Strength of the offense: Experience, Passing Game
Weakness of the offense: Backup O Linemen, Passing Efficiency
Off to a fantastic start, sophomore Tre Roberson appeared to be growing into the team's leader and star playmaker, but he suffered a broken leg in the second game of the season after throwing for 368 yards and two touchdowns with a pick and running for 133 yards and three scores. The 6-0, 200-pounder threw for 937 yards and three touchdowns with six picks as a freshman, but he managed to make things happen with his legs as well as his arm. The former Indiana Mr. Football was the first true freshman quarterback to ever start for the Hoosiers, and while he's still trying to get back and healthy, at the very least he'll be able to throw a curveball into the equation with his mobility and creativity.
When Roberson went down, junior Cameron Coffman stepped up and carried the offense the best he could, completing 61% of his passes for 2,734 yards and 15 scores with 11 picks. While the 6-2, 203-pounder isn't a runner, he showed he could bomb away throwing for 454 yards in the loss to Penn State and closing out with 348 yards against Purdue. While throwing wasn't a problem, he couldn't stop giving it away with seven interceptions in his last three games, but he was trying to make things happen and forced too many throws. The 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.
6-5, 234-pound sophomore Nate Sudfield got his chances as a true freshman, doing most of his work in the wins over Illinois and Iowa, and filling in for Roberson when he got hurt, finishing with 632 yards with seven touchdown passes and just one pick. He's a big bomber who fits what the coaching staff wants, and now he's deep in the mix for the starting job.
Watch Out For … an ongoing battle. The program didn't sign any new quarterbacks because there's no room. There are three very viable, very decent options to play around with, and they're all going to get their chance to show what they can do.
Strength: Options. Roberson is the mobile, dangerous option. Coffman is the smooth, veteran passer who can air it out. Sudfield is a bomber who'll stretch the field a bit more. They can all fit for what the Hoosier attack needs.
Weakness: Big plays. The numbers will be there – IU led the Big Ten in passing – but that's partly because the offense had to keep chucking to try keeping up the pace. However, this wasn't an efficient attack and there weren't too many big bombs, averaging a not-that-great 11.3 yards per completion.
Outlook: It's a great situation that went from a slight concern to something excellent in a big hurry. There might not be a sure-thing No. 1 guy until Roberson starts to look like Roberson again, but Sudfeld and Coffman can shine without a problem. It'll be a must to find one starter and run with him no matter what, but it's going to take the whole summer to figure out who that is.
Unit Rating: 7.5
Senior Stephen Houston settled down the running back situation in 2011 as he took over the job halfway through the season and didn't let go, running for 802 yards and eight scores. While he was bottled up a bit more last season, and only got ten more carries, he ran for 12 scores and 749 yards highlighted by a 158-yard, three-score finish against Purdue. The 6-0, 225-pound 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.
Houston might be the big workhorse, but 6-1, 208-pound sophomore Tevin Coleman has the ability to come up with more pop, even if he didn't bust off anything big last season, finishing third on the team with 224 yards and a score averaging 4.4 yards per carry. He had a big offseason and showed he could be a receiver as well as a runner, but he has to prove he can shine in big moments. As the team's best kickoff returner, the straight-line speed is there, and now he has to show it off. He'll combine with Houston and junior D'Angelo Roberts, a smallish, slippery runner who finished second on the team with 300 yards and three scores. At 5-10 and 200 pounds he has decent size, and he has the talent and tools to be an even bigger part of the rotation after disappearing as last year went on.
Watch Out For … the new guys. Laray Smith is the best of the true freshmen with blazing wheels – the potential is there to be moved to defensive back - while Miami native Daryl Chestnut is a smallish, speed option who averaged 10.0 yards per carry last season. Smith was a superstar high school sprinter, currently holding the nation's fastest indoor 300 meter time.
Strength: Options. The running game will never carry the Hoosier offense, but Houston, Roberts and Coleman are nice backs and there are more backs who could step in when needed. Counting the quarterbacks, the top seven rushers from last year are back.
Weakness: Yards per carry. Houston did a nice job averaging 4.7 yards per carry, but partly due to the problems in pass protection, the team averaged just 3.9 yards per try. IU will be lucky to flirt with 2,000 gross rushing yards before the sacks.
Outlook: A major weakness a few years ago is now a plus with several nice backs who know what they're doing. There isn't a star on the lot, but Houston is a proven Big Ten back and Coleman and Roberts can each shine when given a shot. They're all a complement to the passing game, but the more they can produce to keep control of games, the better.
Unit Rating: 6.5
The top six pass catchers and ten of the last 11 return led by junior Shane Wynn, a smallish 5-7, 167-pound short-range target who came up with a team-leading 68 grabs for 660 yards and six scores, but he only averaged 9.7 yards per catch even with a 76-yard play added to the mix. With 12 catches against Michigan State and 12 more against Penn State, he can catch passes in bunches using his speed and quickness to bust out big plays from time to time. He's a speedster who'll also be used as a kick returner. Also back is the team's leader in yards, Cody Latimer, who caught 51 passes for 805 yards and six scores averaging 15.8 yards per grab. At 6-3, and 215 pounds he has terrific size to go along with nice deep speed. Smart, athletic and quick, the steady junior can be a No. 1 target, while 6-2, 215-pound senior Kofi Hughes will take his turns as the main man after making 43 grabs for 639 yards and three scores. A solid veteran, Hughes uses his size well becoming reliable on midrange plays.
6-3, 203-pound senior Duwyce Wilson is a nice, big, feast-or-famine target catching five passes against Indiana State and Ball State, six against Penn State, and seven against everyone else. The 2008 Indiana Mr. Football has great speed and athleticism, but he hasn't busted out enough big plays. He'll work behind Latimore, while 5-11, 195-pound junior Isaiah Roundtree will play in the rotation with Wynn after making six catches for 68 yards and 6-1, 173-pound junior Nick Stoner is a quick route-runner who'll backup Hughes after catching 13 passes for 118 yards.
Tight end Ted Bolser, or "Touchdown Ted", only scored three times last season, but he bounced back from a mediocre season to finish fourth on the team with 41 catches for 445 yards. The 6-6, 254-pound senior is a smart route runner with nice hands, and while he's not going to blast away as a blocker, he's reliable. He'll be backed up by 6-1, 250-pound sophomore Anthony Corsaro, who looks more like a fullback who can block and could potentially be used as an H-Back.
Watch Out For … true freshman Taj Williams. It took a while, but the Hoosiers finally got the Tallahassee native to sign on after coming up with 56 catches and 11 scores last season. Arguably the team's top recruit, the 6-4, 175-pounder could've gone to Florida State or any one of a number of SEC schools, and he might end up playing defensive back, but no matter where he works he'll be a difference maker.
Strength: Experience. The league's No. 1 passing game gets almost everyone back. Jamonne Chester is gone, but he finished seventh on the team and averaged just 7.8 yards per grab. With ten of the 11 top targets returning – throwing the running backs into the equation – there's reason to hope for an even bigger improvement.
Weakness: Big plays. There were a few here and there with a few 70-yarders stretching the field, but for the most part this is a midrange group of receivers who'll occasionally hit the home run. This isn't necessarily an explosive receiving corps, but he's solid.
Outlook: This is when everything is supposed to come together. The current coaching staff didn't bring in all the current receivers, but it certainly tweaked all the skills and has a loaded corps to ramp up the passing game. There might not be any superstars, but there are more than enough options to play around with. This could be the best and deepest receiving corps in the Big Ten.
Unit Rating: 7.5
One of the league's best lines in pass protection gets back several key parts to the puzzle, led by left tackle Jason Spriggs, a CFN Freshman All-American who did a nice job after being thrown to the wolves as a true freshman. The 6-7, 280-pounder is physical and quick, showing tremendous upside as a pass protector with the upside to get even better with room to add 20 pounds of good weight on his frame. Returning on the other side after starting all 12 games at right tackle is Peyton Eckert, a 6-6, 295-pound who saw time as a true freshman and grew into the job as a sophomore. Physical, he's a solid run blocker who held his own in pass protection.
After starting half of last season at left guard, 6-2, 281-pound junior Collin Rahrig will move into the middle to battle with sophomore Jake Reed at center. The 6-3, 283-pound former defensive end bounced around, seeing time at tight end and working on special teams, but now he's getting his shot in the center rotation.
With Rahrig moving over, 6-2, 303-pound Bernard Taylor will take back his left guard job after missing the second half of last season hurt. After starting out his career as a defensive lineman, he was thrown into the offensive line mix as a true freshman on the offensive side and turned in a nice season showing good athleticism and toughness for the ground game. When he's 100%, he's the team's best run blocker, while 6-4, 305-pound sophomore Dan Feeney will be back at right guard after earning CFN Freshman All-America honors. He started every game and didn't give up a sack while showing blasting ability for the ground game.
Watch Out For … Dimitric Camiel, a 6-7, 310-pound tackle who'll step in and work at right tackle behind Eckert, but with his size and strength he could quickly find more of a role. While he's not quite quick enough to shine at left tackle, he could grow into a whale of a right tackle and should become one of the team's most important short-yardage blockers.
Strength: Pass protection. Considering the freshmen who had to see time and play right away. The Hoosiers did a nice job keeping the quarterbacks upright allowing a mere 17 sacks. The offense gets the ball out of the quarterbacks' hands in a hurry, but the line did its job.
Weakness: Backup experience. With three untested sophomores and two redshirt freshmen working in the rotation, it will take a little time before the right rotation is there. A rash of injuries early on could be devastating.
Outlook: The line won't destroy anyone, but the call went out a few years ago to get better and more physical, and now there's a nice core of young players to build around. Spriggs and Feeney are keepers, and Taylor, when healthy, is an anchor.
Unit Rating: 6.5
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