Written By Sammy Jacobs (@sammyj108)
As February is crawling to a close spring practice for college football teams around the nation is creeping closer. Indiana has not released their spring schedule yet, but under Kevin Wilson official workouts usually begin the week before spring break, so look for practice to start up around March 10th. The Hoosiers will have some questions to answer, or at the very least address, before the end of the spring game. Here are three questions facing Kevin Wilson’s offensive squad heading into March.
1. Who is the Number One Quarterback- This has been a question for a year now. Most people would think it would have been settled by the second game last season, but it wasn’t. So what is the deal with the Hoosiers QBs? Let’s start with the easy answers. True freshman and early enrollee Zander Diamont will likely red shirt this season. This is not a knock on his talent level, but why waste a year of eligibility sitting behind Nate Sudfeld and Tre Roberson. Cam Coffman transferred so this is no longer a three headed race and Nate Boudreau is the likely third stringer. Now let’s dig in to the juicy battle between Roberson and Sudfeld. Nobody really separated themselves from the other all season and the Hoosiers went with a two-quarterback system. Each had their highs and lows in 2013. Sudfeld led the Hoosiers in passing yards with 2,523and touchdowns with 21, however despite his success Sudfeld crumbled down the stretch in road games at Wisconsin (99 yards 0 TD) and Ohio State (224 yards 47 QBR). Tre Roberson started the season slowly despite being named the starter in Weeks 1 and 2. Was this due to the fact that he was coming off a gruesome broken leg? Probably, but he just did not look like the same player until later in the season. Roberson finished the year with 1,128 yards and 15 touchdowns through the air in addition to rushing for 423 yards and five more scores. Roberson ended the season with a record setting performance against Purdue throwing for six scores and running for 154 yards. The Hoosiers need to have more consistency from this position in order to be successful in 2014, if that means riding the hot hand again or sticking with one quarterback through thick and thin is anybody’s guess right now, but the Hoosiers do need to name a number one quarter back before the bye week in Week Two.
2. How Will the Hoosiers Replace Latimer, Hughes, Bolser, and Wilson?- The Hoosiers are going to have to replace three of their top four leading receivers in Cody Latimer, Kofi Hughes, and tight end Ted Bolser, while also losing another 1,000-yard receiver in Duwyce Wilson. The Hoosiers still have dynamo Shane Wynn (633 yards 11 TDs), former running back Isiah Roundtree (136 yards one TD) and speedster Nick Stoner (226 yards one TD) to step up into bigger roles. Indiana will also welcome in Dominique Booth, a 4-star recruit, to the corps of receivers and will be able to see what he brings to the table as an early enrollee. Another recruit who could have an instant impact in tight end Jordan Fuchs. At 6’6”, Fuchs makes an ideal target for his quarterbacks. Replacing four 1,000-yard receivers will not be easy for new offensive coordinator Kevin Johns, but the Hoosiers do not have an empty cupboard.
3. Can the Hoosiers be consistently good in the up-tempo offense?- There is no doubt that the Hoosiers were good on offense averaging 38.4 points per game, but consistency became an issue on this side of the ball. The offense became too much of a boom or bust over the course of the 2013 season. If the Hoosiers were not scoring a touchdown they were punting the ball on a quick three and out. This is not a call for a change in tempo, because the Hoosiers do have something going with this fast paced attack, but the Hoosiers need to sustain more drives. Indiana does not have a great kicking game where they can pin opponents inside the 20-yard line, which makes it even more difficult for an already shaky defense to have a shot at being successful. Add in that the Hoosiers are so quick that their very thin defense has no time to catch their breath before being thrown back into action and that leads to a disaster. One way to improve in this area is to improve upon their third down conversions. The Hoosiers converted just 47% of those tries. If the offense can push this number to 55%, life will be a lot easier in Hoosier Country. While the spring does not really give fans a true taste of what this offense can do, the play calling and situational calls should shed some light on if the Hoosiers can improve in this area.