Indiana Preview 2006 - Offense
Indiana Hoosiers
Posted Aug 6, 2006

Indiana Hoosiers Preview 2006 - IU Hoosier Offense

What you need to know ... Head coach Terry Hoeppner knows how to get offensive production, and there should be more in his second year with a veteran quarterback in Blake Powers and, arguably, the best receiving corps IU has ever had led by 6-7 James Hardy. There's speed at running back, but not a lot of proven production. The line has nice young players to build around, but no depth. Expect the wide-open, four-wide attack to be more consistent and occasionally explode.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Blake Powers
212-376, 2,305 yds, 22 TD, 16 INT
Rushing: Blake Powers
100 carries, 121 yds, 4 TD
Receiving: James Hardy
61 catches, 893 yds, 10 TD

Star of the offense: Sophomore WR James Hardy
Player that has to step up and become a star: Sophomore RB Marcus Thigpen
Unsung star on the rise: Redshirt freshman WR Nick Polk
Best pro prospect: Hardy
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Hardy, 2) QB Blake Powers, 3) WR James Bailey
Strength of the offense: Wide receiver
Weakness of the offense:
Experienced running back, offensive line depth

If Blake Powers can be the Blake Powers that dominated over the first half of last season, IU will be more than fine. He has to cut down on his interceptions and can't force plays that aren't there. Graeme McFarland is an experienced backup who has turned into a major drop-off from Powers after being neck-and-neck for the starting job early last year. Kellen Lewis is an undersized talent who provides a little pizzazz to the mix.
The key to the unit: Blake Powers has to be consistent as well as dangerous.
Quarterback Rating: 7

Projected Starter
- Blake Powers, Jr. - 212-378, 56%, 2,305 yds, 22 TD, 16 INT, 100 carries, 121 yds, 1.2 ypc, 4 TD
Powers started out like a house of fire before cooling off over the second half of the year and losing his accuracy. .He's a mobile 6-4 and 228 pounds who set the IU single-season record for touchdown passes with 22, but he only threw two scoring tosses over the last five games to go along with nine interceptions. He throws a nice deep arm and can be deadly when he's on, like he was against Kentucky when he completed 17 of 22 throws. While he's not going to break off any big runs, he'll run for a few yards here and there.

Top Backups
- Graeme McFarland, Jr. - 10-25, 40%, 91 yds, 2 TD, 4 carries, 10 yds
McFarland has seen more than his share of time in his career with mixed results. He has a live arm and can go on nice streaks when he gets on a roll, but he's more of a precision passer than a true bomber like Blake Powers can be. He has decent mobility.
- Kellen Lewis, RFr.
With the best all-around set of skills among the quarterbacks, Lewis will find his way on the field soon. What he isn't is big. At only 6-0 and 177 pounds, he needs to use his speed and great arm to make plays. Once he figures out the offense, he'll be a dangerous all-around weapon.

Running Backs
The situation might be even better than last year despite the loss of leading rushers Chris Taylor and Yamar Washington. Former wide receiver Marcus Thigpen brings more speed to the position, and 2005's star recruit Demetrius McCray needs playing time right away. There great young depth with speedy Justin Carrington and powerful Bryan Payton waiting in the wings. All the backs can catch.
The key to the unit: Take advantage of all the attention paid to the passing game. There's no reason the IU ground game should only average 3.4 yards per carry with nine touchdown considering all the speed in the backfield.
Running Back Rating: 6

Projected Starters
- Marcus Thigpen, Soph. - 7 carries, 35 yds, 5 ypc, 32 catches, 432 yds, 13.5 ypc, 2 TD
With so much talent returning at wide receiver, the team's second-leading target will move over to running back full-time. He was the team's most consistent receiver last season with two 90-yard games, and now he'll bring his next-level speed to the backfield. The former Michigan state high school sprint champion isn't all that big at 5-9 and 182 pounds, but he can flat-out fly.

Top Backups
- Demetrius McCray, RFr.
Last year's top recruit is ready to roll. He was one of the top high school backs in the state of Florida in 2004 with 29 touchdowns and the all-around skills to be a major contributor right off the bat. He has 4.4 speed and wide receiver hands.
- Josiah Seats, Jr. - 24 carries, 103 yds, 4.3 ypc, 2 catches, 22 yds
Indiana doesn't use a true fullback, but Sears is as close as the offense comes to having one. He's a 238-pound power runner and physical blocker. He'll mostly see time on special teams.

potential is there for this group to be really, really good. James Hardy is a matchup nightmare with his 6-7 size and next-level athleticism, Jahkeen Gilmore is an ideal veteran number two target, and James Bailey, who returned from a car accident to become the team's fourth leading receiver, has the talent to be a star. There are several tight end options to play around with, and more all-around depth than at any other position.
The key to the unit: Each receiver will have to get used to taking turns as the star. Each one will have to exploit single coverage when given the chance.
Receiver Rating: 8.5

Projected Starters
- James Hardy, Soph. - 61 catches, 893 yds, 14.5 yp, 10 TD
Will he still be on the team? Hardy was charged with domestic battery after the mother of his child called the police on suspicion domestic violence.
Hardy has the potential to be the Big Ten's best receiver and was on his way to an All-America campaign before his production dipped over the final five games. He's 6-7, 216 pounds and fast. Athletic enough to see time on the IU basketball team, Hardy's future is as a dangerous matchup for just about any defensive back. He had five 100-yard games in the first six highlighted by a 12-catch, 203-yard day against Iowa, and then defenses did everything possible to take him out of the game plan. Even so, he had a two-touchdown performance against Michigan State before getting banged up.

- Jahkeen Gilmore, Sr. - 39 catches, 363 yds, 12.8 ypc, 3 TD
An excellent number two target with 12 games of starting experience, 53 career catches and a nice combination of size and speed, he should flourish with all the attention paid to James Hardy. His biggest game came early on against Nicholls State with five catches for 107 yards and two touchdowns, and then he came on late in the season when Hardy was struggling.

- James Bailey, Soph. - 27 catches, 335 yds, 12.4 ypc, 3 TD
One of the top recruits of the Gerry DiNardo era, the 6-2, 199-pound Bailey turned in a steady producer in his first season. That he was able to play at all was remarkable after getting in a car accident early last year that left him in a wheelchair for a few weeks. He has good size at 6-2 and 199 pounds and game-breaking ability.

- Nick Polk, RFr.
A dangerous young talent, the 6-0, 191-pound Polk is a physical receiver who'll be the fourth option early on. He's versatile enough to move over to cornerback if needed.

- Tight end Matt O'Neal, Sr. - 11 catches, 84 yds, 7.6 ypc, 2 TD
While technically the starting tight end, that doesn't mean O'Neal is going to play all that much in the IU offense. He started every game last season but only saw the field 54 times. He's more of a receiver than a blocker.

Top Backups
- Brandon Walker-Roby, Soph. - 10 catches, 78 yds, 7.8 ypc, 2 TD
The brother of former IU star receiver Courtney Roby, the 5-11, 177-pound sophomore saw time as a true freshman getting a little bit of work throughout the season. He has 4.37 speed and good hands.
- Ryan Skelton, Sr. - 5 catches, 26 yds, 5.2 ypc
With good size and excellent speed, the 6-2, 210-pound senior should be a little more of a factor behind James Hardy. His biggest impact has come on special teams as one of the team's better tacklers on kick returns.
- Tight end Chris Rudanovic, Jr. - 2 catches, 18 yds, 9 ypc
Mostly a blocker so far, the 6-4, 262-pound senior saw his workload decrease last year after a strong 2004 season, but he still ended up starting in three games.
- Tight end Nick Sexton, Soph. - 2 catches, 2 yds, 2 TD
He only caught two passes, but he made them count with two touchdowns from one yard out. He's more valuable as a blocker giving him plenty of action in two tight end sets..

Offensive Linemen
This should be a nice line as the season goes on despite the losses of tackle Isaac Sowells and guard Adam Hines. Chris Mangerino is a strong center to build around and Justin Frye should have a great senior year at left tackle. The problem is with the experienced depth; there isn't any. Injuries early on could be a major problem.

The key to the unit: Better pass protection would be nice, but getting more out of the running game will be priority one. The starting five has to stay healthy long enough to get into some sort of a rhythm.
Offensive Line Rating: 6.5

Projected Starters
- OT Justin Frye, Sr.
Frye, who spend the first part of last year at tackle before moving over the guard for three games, will start out at left tackle to replace the talented Isaac Sowells. Frye is a good 6-5 and 296-pound veteran with 33 career starts under his belt.
- OG Kyle Thomas, Soph.
The former defensive end was moved over to the offensive side last year and spent the season learning the new position. He'll start out at right guard, but he has the athleticism to move to tackle at some point once he figures out what he's doing.
- C Chris Mangiero, Sr.
The starter in every game last season at center, the 6-1, 305-pound senior came back nicely from a broken foot that cost him most of 2004. Versatile enough to play guard if needed, he's a talented all-around blocker who has the potential to grow into a fringe all-star candidate.
- OG Jonathan Sandberg, Jr.
Sandberg saw his playing time fall off the map after serving as a key reserve in 2004. He's more of a tackle than a true guard and will be pushed all year long by Kenny Love for the right guard spot.
- OT Scott Anderson, Sr.
The 6-6, 308-pound Anderson stepped in late in the year and got four starts at right tackle allowing Justin Frye to move to guard. Now the job is all his and will have to prove he can handle being a steady pass protector.

Top Backups
- OT Chauncey Incarnato, Soph.
The Notre Dame transfer sat out last season and is now expected to be a huge contributor at one of the tackle spots. He's not all that big compared to right tackle Scott Anderson, but the 283-pound sophomore has great upside.
- OG Kenny Love, Soph.
The one-time star defensive end prospect moved over to the offensive side this fall and will push for time behind Jonathan Sandberg. Love is 290 pounds and very physical.

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