2008 CFN Indiana Preview
Indiana QB Kellen Lewis
CollegeFootballNews.com 2008 Preview - Indiana Hoosiers
2008 CFN Indiana Preview
2008 Indiana Depth
2007 CFN Indiana Preview
2006 CFN Indiana
The goal for the 2007 Indiana team, following the sad passing of
head coach Terry Hoeppner to a brain tumor, was to get to a 13th
game. For most teams, a bowl game is a given, but after not going to
the post-season since 1993, the trip to the Insight Bowl turned out
to be great end to a nice season.
That the Hoosiers got blasted by Oklahoma State 49-33 showed two
things. 1) Indiana still has room to grow and improve, and 2) just
getting to a bowl game wasn't good enough.
Head coach: Bill Lynch
16th year: 88-73-3
Off. 22, Def. 26, ST 2
Lettermen Lost: 20
Best Hoosier Players
1. DE Greg Middleton, Jr.
2. QB Kellen Lewis, Jr.
3. DT Greg Brown, Sr.
4. PK Austin Starr, Sr.
5. LB Will Patterson, Jr.
6. LB Geno Johnson, Sr.
7. DE Jammie Kirlew, Jr.
8. OT Rodger Saffold, Jr.
9. RB/KR Marcus Thigpen, Jr.
10. CB Chris Phillips, Sr.
CFN Prediction: 5-7
2008 Results: 0-0
Sept. 6 Murray State
Sept. 13 OPEN DATE
Sept. 20 Ball State
Sept. 27 Michigan State
Oct. 4 at Minnesota
Oct. 11 Iowa
Oct. 18 at Illinois
Oct. 25 Northwestern
Nov. 1 Central Michigan
Nov. 8 Wisconsin
Nov. 15 at Penn State
Nov. 22 at Purdue
CFN Prediction: 5-7
2007 Results: 7-6
Indiana State W 55-7
at West Mich
Illinois L 27-14
Sept. 29 at
Iowa W 38-20
Minnesota W 40-20
at Michigan St
State L 36-31
Nwestern L 31-28
Purdue W 27-24
Dec. 31 Oklahoma State L 49-33
With all the emotion and all the focus on taking a positive step
forward, now the program has to show that it plans to be around the bowl
world on a consistent basis and that 2007 wasn't some sort of a fluke.
To do that and become more of a player in the Big Ten race, and to start
shooting for a bigger bowl game, the team has to keep on improving in
several key areas.
The defense made great strides after struggling for so many years,
and now the tremendous pass rushing line has to do even more with
players like ends Greg Middleton and Jammie Kirlew, along with
anchor-tackle Greg Brown, back in the fold. The back seven should be
fine, but it won't be anything special, especially at corner, compared
to the rest of the Big Ten.
Offensively, Kellen Lewis is back at quarterback after being suspended
all spring, and now he has to prove he can run a no-huddle, hurry-up
attack without star receiver James Hardy, who left early to be a Buffalo
Bill. The line has talent, but it needs to get healthy across the board,
the fast running backs have to be used more, and the receivers have to
combine to improve despite not having a true No. 1 target.
Basically, the team is fine up and down, and is helped by the special
teams and All-America kicker, Austin Starr, but it has to show it can
beat the better teams. The home win over Purdue to end the regular
season could be chalked up to the emotion of the moment and the rivalry,
but beyond that, the second best win was over a mediocre Iowa team.
Against the better teams, and Northwestern, the Hoosiers couldn't get
the job done.
This should be another decent year with a shot at a bowl game, and
there's just enough talent to come up with an upset or two. The legacy
of Hoeppner wasn't just to get good for one year, but to be consistently
above-average. the program isn't there yet, but it's still on the way
What to watch for on offense: Can Lewis run the offense? The idea
of the new no-huddle attack is to get the ball out of the quarterback's
hands and dink and dunk the ball down the field. While Lewis is hardly a
bomber, this isn't exactly the offense for him. His game is about
improvisation, running, and connecting on the plays there are there.
He's not a pocket passer, and the coaching staff might not ask him to
be, but he'll have to do more of it if the offense is going to run the
way it's supposed to.
What to watch for on defense: The second cornerback spot. Losing
Hardy from the offense was the team's biggest hit, but a close second
was the loss of starting corners Tracy Porter and Leslie Majors. Chris
Phillips will get burned, but he's a more physical corner than Porter
and Majors and he should be fine. Now the question is whether or not
there's a second corner who can step up. The pass defense wasn't great
last year even with one of the nation's best pass rushes to help out,
and it should be worse unless someone like Donnell Jones or Adrian Burks
can be a new star.
The team will be far better if … stops the better running
teams. The run defense was decent overall last year, but it got ripped
up by the teams that could run the ball. The IU D line got destroyed by
the good offensive lines, but with more bulk and experience, that
shouldn't always be the case. It's no coincidence that the six biggest
rushing days allowed last year were the team's six losses. IU was 0-6
when it gave up 165 yards or more, and 7-0 when it was under, allowing
120 yards or fewer in the seven wins.
It doesn't get too much better than starting off with five home games
and a trip to Minnesota by mid-October, and while the dates with
Michigan State and Iowa will be tough, the Hoosiers should be good
enough to get at least a split. There are only four road games, all in
Big Ten play, going to Illinois after dealing with the Hawkeyes and
closing out at Penn State and at Purdue. Beating Wisconsin might be
tough, but the showdown with the Badgers comes after getting
Northwestern and Central Michigan at home. How much of a break does IU
get in the schedule? There's no Michigan or Ohio State.
Best Offensive Player: Junior QB Kellen Lewis. With Hardy gone, the IU offense is
woefully devoid of stars and top talents. There are decent players, like
OT Rodger Saffold and RB Marcus Thigpen, at least as a kick returner,
but it needs someone who can take things to another level. QB Ben
Chappell isn't it, even if he's a good fit for the new offensive scheme.
Lewis can't be just good, he has to be special for the Hoosier offense
on a weekly basis. If he's off, IU can't win.
Best Defensive Player: Junior DE Greg Middleton. The All-America
end bulked up to 275 pounds and is now in a salary drive. After leading
the nation with 16 sacks, and with his size, the NFL scouts are all
going to keep an eye on Bloomington to see if last year was a fluke.
Able to play inside or out, Middleton can play at the next level in a
3-4 or a 4-3, and if does what he did last year, considering the
spotlight will be on, he'll make a lot of money very soon.
Key player to a
successful season: Redshirt freshman CB Donnell Jones ... or
sophomore Richard Council, or sophomore Adrian Burks. The pass defense gave up 244 yards per game last year
despite getting help from a front seven that finished eighth in the
nation in sacks. Chris Phillips might not be an All-American, but he's a
good No. 1 corner who'll need help from someone on the other side, and
while Jones is likely the most talented option of the bunch, it'll be an
on-going fight for the job.
The season will be a
... the Hoosiers go to a bowl again. It's not going to be easy, but with
no Ohio State or Michigan on the schedule, there's no reason not to get
to six or seven wins again. A second bowl game, considering all the
question marks and concerns, would be a major feat, and it would be the
first time since 1990-1991 that the team made back-to-back trips.
Oct. 11 vs. Iowa. The last month of the season is a potential bear, and
there's a tough date at Illinois in mid-October after the Hawkeyes come
to town, so a win here might be a must to have any hopes of a bowl game.
Beating the two star MAC teams, Ball State and Central Michigan, is also
a must, and holding serve against Michigan State and Northwestern at
home would be nice, but a win over an improved Iowa would be strong.
2007 Fun Stats:
- Punt return average: Indiana 11 yards – Opponents 5.9 yards
- Fumbles: Indiana 38 (lost 18) – Opponents 22 (lost 12)
- Fourth down conversions: Opponents 16 of 23 (70%) – Indiana 10 of 17