Maize n' Brew mercilessly drifts through another preview. This week is going to be a bit preview heavy as we lead into the season. Ladies and Gentlemen, the
Explanation and indemnifications found: here
As I rush to get these things posted before the season actually starts - woo procrastinating! - this Hoosiers preview may be a bit perfunctory. I suggest the very well run SBN Hoosier blog The Crimson Quarry for a more in depth look.
Indiana football has always been a Big Ten beating boy that sometimes puts it together enough to make a bowl game. When this happens, it's usually the result of having a tremendous athlete that was somehow overlooked by larger programs. Earlier this decade, that player was Antwan Randle-el. Then came James Hardy. This year, that player figured to be Kellen Lewis, who played QB/WR last year, and was moved to WR in a newly installed Pistol Offense. Then he got dismissed from the team for general ass-hattery, and with Lewis went any meager expectations for this team.
More Previewin' dead ahead
|9/03||Eastern Kentucky||8:00 PM|
|9/12||Western Michigan||12:00 PM|
|9/19||@ Akron||3:30 PM|
|9/26||@ Michigan||12:00 PM|
|10/03||No. 6 Ohio State||7:00 PM|
|10/24||@ Northwestern||12:00 PM|
|10/31||@ No. 22 Iowa||TBA|
|11/14||@ No. 9 Penn State||TBA|
One thing the media will harp on that is off base
I hate to say it, but the dismissal of Kellen Lewis is pretty much what the media is going to harp on, and it's a pretty big deal. However, there is a new offense installed at IU this year, and it could actually level the playing field a bit. Coach Bill Lynch (former DePauw coach - woo) has installed the Pistol offense in an attempt to become a more dominant rushing team. Quarterback Ben Chappell is a competent game manager, and there is a lot of depth behind him at running back with seniors Bryan Payton and Demetrius McCray. Freshman(RS) Darius Willis will also push for playing time. It's clear that Lynch believes that this team's strength is going to be its running attack, and hopefully a dominant ground game will limit any potential problems at QB.
One thing the media will completely ignore that is integral to this team's success:
Lost in the shuffle of a new offense and Lewis' dismissal is a defense that returns 9 starters spread across each unit. The line returns 3, the LB's return 2, and the secondary returns all 4. The experience on defense might keep the Hoosiers in the game a little longer than their opponents would like.
Most important contributors on each side of the ball:
Offensively it's going to be the running game, and the combination of Payton, McCray and Willis. Payton is a power type, McCray is the elusive type, and Willis looks to be fairly balanced. The mix should keep opposing defenses on their heels, along with an offensive scheme that they will likely only see out of Indiana. Willis might have the most potential of the bunch, according to Bill Lynch.
Defensively, End Greg Middleton - a former All-American - needs to return to form. He's one of those guys that somehow go to Indiana despite the fact that he's probably good enough to start for any team in the Big Ten. If he starts getting the pressure he's capable of, then the experienced secondary might be able to get some game changing turnovers.
Area that scares you as Michigan Wolverines:
This is going to sound awful because both IU and UM won 3 games each last year, but there isn't a whole lot on this Indiana team to be terribly worried about. The Michigan defense can't allow the Pistol to get going on the ground and start chewing clock. If Indiana is allowed to go on 6-8 minute drives that end with TD's, they could win a 17-14 type game.
Area that makes you salivate as the Michigan Wolverines:
That being said, I don't think Indiana has the horses to do that to this Michigan defense. We're too big along the line and too athletic at linebacker.
Final Big Ten Standing