Indiana Preview 2006
Posted Aug 6, 2006

Give head coach Terry Hoeppner credit. He really and truly believes Indiana can have a winning football team.

Offense | Defense | Depth Chart | Further Analysis

There's hope for a woebegone program to turn respectable. Northwestern has been a thorn in the Big Ten's side for over a decade, while Vanderbilt shocked the world by being not-that-bad in SEC play. For Hoeppner and his Hoosiers, respectability might come soon, but it's not going to happen this year.

This is a very, very young team with six senior projected starters. All the top offensive playmakers still have at least two years to go, so the plan has to be to keep taking positive steps forward to try to explode in 2007. Of course, Hoeppner and IU can't say they're looking ahead to next year, so along the way there need to be more wins.

Head coach: Terry Hoeppner
2nd year: 4-7
8th year overall> 52-32
Ten Best Hoosier Players
1. WR James Hardy, Soph.
2. FS Will Meyers, Sr.
3. OT Justin Frye, Sr.
4. CB Tracy Porter, Jr.
5. CB Leslie Majors, Jr.
6. QB Blake Powers, Jr.
7. WR James Bailey, Soph.
8. P Tyson Beattie, Sr.
9. PR/KR Lance Bennett, Sr.
10. WR Jahkeen Gilmore, Sr.

2006 Schedule
CFN Prediction:

9/2 Western Michigan
9/9 at Ball State
9/16 Southern Illinois
9/23 Connecticut
9/30 Wisconsin
10/7 at Illinois
10/14 Iowa
10/21 at Ohio State
10/28 Michigan State
11/4 at Minnesota
11/11 Michigan
11/18 at Purdue

2005 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2005 Results: 4-7

Preview 2005 predicted wins

9/2 at Central Mich W 20-13
9/10 Nicholls State W 35-31
9/17 Kentucky W 38-14
10/1 at Wisconsin L 41-24
10/8 Illinois W 36-13
10/15 at Iowa L 38-21
10/22 Ohio State L 41-10
10/29 at Michigan St L 46-15
11/5 Minnesota L 42-21
11/12 at Michigan L 41-14
11/19 Purdue L 41-14

Those will come if the offense explodes like it did over the first half of last season. The Hoosiers had to look of a scary-good offensive juggernaut early on averaging 30.6 points per game over the first five with the combination of quarterback Blake Powers and 6-7 receiver James Hardy playing at an All-America level. And then something happened.

Indiana started playing really good teams.

After a nice 4-1 start with the only loss coming to Wisconsin, the Hoosiers got blown out of the water over the final seven outings by a combined score of 249 to 95. It wasn't just getting beaten badly by teams like Ohio State and Michigan, it couldn't handle Michigan State or Purdue.

On the plus side, Indiana won the games they should've beating Central Michigan (but it was a battle), Nicholls State (but it was a big battle), Kentucky, and Illinois before going on the six-game losing streak. As long as Hoeppner and his Hoosiers win the games they're supposed to, or at least have a fighting chance in, eventually, it'll come up with a few upsets and come up with a winning season.

The overall athleticism has quickly improved, and the systems are starting to take hold. A winning season really is possible this year at Indiana if everything breaks right. If you don't believe it, just ask Hoeppner.

The Schedule: Opening up against Western Michigan, at Ball State, and Southern Illinois, IU must be 3-0 going into the home date against Connecticut. A road win at Illinois could mean a 5-1 or a 4-2 start before the roof caves in on the Big Ten season. Not playing Northwestern hurts, but the Hoosiers miss Penn State. Starting in mid-October, the schedule is Iowa, at Ohio State, Michigan State, at Minnesota, Michigan, and at Purdue. One win in the final six would be a success.

Best Offensive Player: Sophomore WR James Hardy. He's 6-7, has enough athleticism to have played on the basketball team, and was one of the hottest receivers in the nation before the Hoosiers started playing secondaries with a pulse. Even so, he should have a huge season with enough receiver talent around him to take some of the heat off. However, he has to be a part of the team after having off-the-field issues.

Best Defensive Player: Senior SS Will Meyers. As sure a tackler as there is in the Big Ten, the 5-11, 201-pound senior is a good rock in the veteran secondary. Corners Lesle Majors and Tracy Porter could also be considered the team's best defensive players All three will be in for big years for the Big Ten's leading returning pass defense.

Key player to a successful season: The entire IU defensive line. The linebacking corps is full of speedy, defensive backs, so it's up to Charlie Emerson, Joe Kremer, Greg Brown, Kenny Kendal, and four redshirt freshman to hold up against the power running teams. IU allowed 215 rushing yards per game last season and 28 touchdowns. That can't happen again to have any hope of a winning season.

The season will be a success if ... IU wins six games. It's a tall, tall, tall order for such a young team and with so many new starters, but it's possible it can beat Western Michigan, Ball State, Southern Illinois, Connecticut, and Illinois. If that happens, and that's a huge if, it would take one big upset for the best season since 1994.

Key game: Oct. 7 at Illinois. The schedule quickly becomes brutal after the trip to Champaign playing Iowa and at Ohio State over the following two weeks. The Hoosiers were able to beat the Zookers 36-13 last season with a balanced attack. The Illini defense hasn't improved much, so IU has to come away with a win.

2005 Fun Stats: 
- Indiana only attempted two field goals over the final seven games. Both were against Ohio State.
- Third quarter scoring: Opponents 106 - Indiana 35
- Penalties: Indiana 74 for 605 yards - Opponents 54 for 511 yards

The Last Time Indiana…
…played in a bowl game…1993 (Independence Bowl vs. Virginia Tech)
…missed a bowl game…2005
…pitched a shutout…1993 (Michigan State)
…was shutout…2000 (Michigan)
…scored 50 points…2001 (Northwestern)
…went undefeated…1945
…won a conference title…1967 (share, Big Ten)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…never
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2001 (Levron Williams)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…2002 (Courtney Roby)
…had a first-round draft choice…1994 (WR Thomas Lewis)

Related Stories
Indiana Preview 2006 - Offense
 -by  Aug 6, 2006
Indiana Preview 2006 - Further Analysis
 -by  Aug 6, 2006
Indiana Preview 2006 - Depth Chart
 -by  Aug 6, 2006

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