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.
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
The key to the unit: Blake Powers has to be
consistent as well as dangerous.
Quarterback Rating: 7
- 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.
- 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.
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
- 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
- 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.
The 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
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
- 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
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
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.
- 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
- 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
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..
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
Offensive Line Rating: 6.5
- 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
- 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
- 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.