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Will Indiana be bringing any stakes to Ann Arbor to stab into the ground? How is Kevin Wilson prepping the team this week for the chance to get some revenge on Michigan for a couple of heartbreaking losses the last several years?
BR: Unfortunately, Indiana is the last team that should be trying any sort of stomp-on-the-enemy ritual, especially since the Hoosiers haven't won in the Big House since 1967, which is coincidentally the last time IU made a Rose Bowl. Obviously, the focus coming into this game needs to be on improving Diamont (I'll get more into him into the next question), along with tailoring the offense to what he can do, and making sure the offensive line protects him in the pocket. In addition, the defense needs to work on their endurance and their ability to get off the field. Against MSU, the IU defense played as decently as an IU defense could in the first and third quarters, but fell apart in both the second and the fourth. Maintaining its focus and not giving up big plays will be important for the Hoosiers from the start; and while Michigan isn't necessarily a big-play team, anything has been possible against our defense these last few years.
What's Zander Diamont hoping to improve on from last week given how he was kind of thrown into a wood chipper for his first start? See anything in Michigan's defense he can exploit with so little experience?
BR: I was at the MSU game where Diamont made his first start. The kid obviously was rushed into duty and his redshirt was burned a year early so that he could start against the Spartans. He needs to improve on his accuracy and his decisionmaking while in the pocket, as well as just completing passes in general. At one point in the third quarter, he had negative-two passing yards.
Now, Kevin Wilson is an offense-minded coach, and he did develop Sam Bradford when he won a Heisman at Oklahoma. So I have a feeling that he could have a few tricks up his sleeve with Diamont on Saturday. Regardless, two weeks in the middle of the season is not a lot of time to prepare, especially for a true freshman. Indiana has a young corps of wide receivers in addition to the senior Shane Wynn, so hopefully Diamont can find a little bit of rhythm with them.
We've seen Indiana score a ton of points at times, and Michigan can't seem to score hardly at all. What's the plan of attack knowing Michigan doesn't allow a ton of rushing yards and has injuries all around the field?
BR: It is somewhat ironic how our team's strength is its run game (particularly Tevin Coleman), and Michigan's strength is its run defense. My fear is that the rest of the game's highlight reel will be set to Yakety Sax. I think the plan of attack still has to be to pound the rock with Coleman though. He has run for 100+ yards in his last nine starts and was able to do the same against a Michigan state defense that held Ameer Abdullah to 45 yards. With Diamont likely still limited as a starter, we will still need a big day out of Tevin Coleman if we want to win.
How big of a program-changing win might it be for Wilson if he's able to beat Michigan on homecoming? I don't mean to imply he's on the hot seat, but it certainly would stabilize his tenure quite a bit, no?
BR: I think it would be a huge win for Kevin Wilson, even if the Wolverines are in the midst of a down year. Indiana has not beaten Michigan at football since 1987, and hasn't won at the Big House since 1967. The Hoosiers have only won one B1G game on the road under Wilson (against a terrible Illinois team two years ago), so in addition to the historical importance of beating Michigan, it would still be a conference road victory, which are always hard to come by no matter what conference you're in. This would also be IU's first B1G win of the season, which would be a huge confidence booster for this young team. Because I'm an IU homer, I'll predict a 27-24 victory against the Wolverines, with kicker Griffin Oakes hitting the game-winning field goal in the final seconds.