Written By Sammy Jacobs (@Hoosier_Huddle)
The Indiana football team’s stock has had more peaks and valleys than the Rocky Mountains. After what some dubbed the “best win in program history” against Missouri (for the record is was not and never will be), the Hoosiers came out flat against a Maryland team that has a shot to make some noise in the Big Ten East. So let’s get down on the IU football stock market floor to see what is up and down for the Hoosiers.
Stock Up: Griffin Oakes- The redshirt freshman made quite the impact on special teams on Saturday as he connected on three field goals including a school record 58-yarder. He was good enough to earn Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week. Having the kicking situation settled, for now, gives the Hoosiers a little margin for error on offense. Now they do not have to be perfect to come away with points.
Stock Down: Offense- This is not last year’s offense everybody knows this, but the performance of this unit in every aspect was horrifying. From quarterback play, to blocking, to play calling, and even the reliable legs of Tevin Coleman were just not good on Saturday. Yes, Coleman reached the end zone and broke the 100-yard mark, even with that effort the Hoosiers managed just one touchdown. The biggest concern has to be the passing game and the play of quarterback Nate Sudfeld. While he did not get much help from his linemen or receivers he needs to be better than 14 for 37.
Stock Down: Nate Sudfeld- Dating back to the final three games last year Sudfeld’s numbers have been less than impressive. If you look at those three games plus the four games he has played this season Sudfeld has completed only 56% of his passes for 1,177 yards (168.1 ypg) with four touchdowns and three interceptions. This trend is not good news for the Hoosiers, as they have no one with any meaningful experience to replace him. He is the key to the rest of the season. Indiana cannot win games being one dimensional, even if that dimension is Tevin Coleman.
Stock Down: Kevin Johns and Kevin Wilson- While Indiana fans love to blame the play calling and the coaching, they may have a point this season. While one cannot fully blame the coaching staff for the lack of offense this season, it definitely has something to do with it. The Chris Covington at QB experiment may have cost the Hoosiers a win, and the fact that Shane Wynn was switched to an outside receiver after being a game breaker in the slot has also had an effect on offensive production.
Stock Down: Fred Glass- This is not a scheduling issue anymore, this is a Glass needs to get back to the roots of a college football fan problem. First, the Indiana athletic director needs to tarp up the top sections of the North End Zone in Memorial Stadium. Having seven basically empty sections of ugly grey steel is not helping anyone. Closing these sections will corral what fans did buy seats there into the middle of the stadium. Not only will it look better on TV, it will also give these fans a better vantage point. Secondly, the half time pass outs need to be abolished. No other major program does this, if they do let me know. Nothing good can come from this “perk” of going to an IU football game for the athletic department. This pass allows the fans to willingly leave the game at halftime or whenever they want. It takes away from selling whatever concessions Memorial Stadium has to offer. The program, which is too cheap to pay for home games, is literally allowing money to walk out the door. Finally, Mr. Glass needs to reconnect with the student body. These students love a good sporting event, yet for a school with an enrollment over 40,000 cannot get 10,000 fans to a football game. Indiana sporting events have become more about the family of four than winning over the student body. Nothing against the family of four, but they may come to a game or two a year, the students are there for four years and do not have to drive over 15 minutes to get to the game. Add in the fact that once a student is hooked they usually come back as alumni. I’ll touch upon this topic more a little later in the week.