Its been a tough ride for Indiana faithful the past few decades. Indiana has had just one winning season since 1993 and has won nine or more games just once since 1945. Tom Allen came in to try and right the ship a few years back but has struggled early, with a 10-14 start to his tenure in Bloomington. There is a lot of talent in the skill corps back this year, so this could finally be the time for a winning season.
Former Fresno State OC Kalen DeBoer takes control of the offense, which has been fine but hasn’t set the world on fire during Allen’s tenure. DeBoer transformed Fresno’s offense last year, and I have faith in him to pull off something similar if given time here.
A few months ago, it was looking like the offense would be run by last year’s unspectacular starter, Peyton Ramsey, but redshirt freshman Michael Penix has shown out in camp and may challenge for the job, which could be worth a try given he has two extra years of eligibility.
The star of the offenses is undeniably sophomore back Stevie Scott, who racked up over 1,000 yards on 5.0 yards per touch last year, and the Hoosiers add a four-star backup for him, Sampson James, making this one of the most interesting running back rooms in the country since 4.4 yard per touch sophomore Ronnie Walker returns as well.
The receiving corps returns their top two, seniors Nick Westrbooks and Donavan Hale (combined 1,098 yards, ten touchdowns last year), but the line loses three starters from last season. The uncertainty at the QB spot and on the line make this a tough offense to predict, but I like the talent at RB and WR along with the coordinator hire so I’ll call for improvement.
On defense, the Hoosiers tumbled last year, from 5.1 and 4.9 opponent yards per play on average in 2016 and 2017 to 6.0 last year. Indiana did a pretty solid job in run defense but struggled to get pressure on opposing offenses or make plays in the passing game. New DC Kane Wommack is here to fix that.
The top sack-getter from 2018, DT Jerome Johnson (3.5 sacks, two TFL) is back along with at least one playmaker in the secondary, corner Andre Brown, who had six PBUs. A handful of sophomores will have to fill into starting roles at NG, MLB, and at safety, but with eight of the top 11 tacklers from last year back, I think the defense improves.
The schedule is murderous as it usually is for Indiana, as they have to face Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, and Penn State every year. Throw in @ Maryland and @ Nebraska and you’ve got yourself one hell of a climb to a bowl run even if the Hoosiers do improve as much as I expect they will.
|at michigan state
|at penn state
Average Projected Record: 5.7 wins, 6.3 losses (2.9 wins, 6.1 losses)