Week 2 Primer
What: IU vs. Florida International
When: Saturday, September 12 at 8:00 PM
Where: Memorial Stadium (52,929) in Bloomington, IN
How to Watch: The game will be broadcast on BTN and on the BTN2Go App. You can also listen to the game on the IU Radio Network.
Gameday Events: It will be Youth Football Day as IU hosts a youth football clinic on the Memorial Stadium Practice Fields. The clinic begins at 6:30 p.m. and gates to the practice fields open at 6:15 p.m. Youth football players and their parents must have a game ticket to enter the practice field area along with a signed waiver (go to iuhoosiers.com for more information on this). Of course, Hoosier Village will be opening three hours prior to kick-off and music will be played live on the Main Stage.
A Few Things to Look For
Can enough defensive improvement be made in one week to make a difference?
We have exhaustively picked apart the defensive woes that plagued the Hoosiers against Southern Illinois. Defensive linemen Darius Latham and Ralph Green plus Bandit Greg Gooch have returned and the extremely young secondary has now had a week of game film and experience. The defensive staff spoke this week about improving communication and they feel somewhat confident they can correct some issues. IU’s defense won’t be outstanding on Saturday night and they don’t need to be. But they must be better than they were against the Salukis. FIU has a lot of big pass-catching targets, a solid offensive line and a quarterback coming off of a very efficient opening game. The defense needs to start getting some disruption and penetration into the opposing backfield, perhaps Green and Latham can help with that. They need to do a better job with pass rush. The communication must improve to prevent busted assignments. The list goes on. There are a ton of questions surrounding the defense, let’s see how they answer them.
FIU has a stout defense, can the Hoosiers offense keep on humming?
Kevin Wilson said the FIU defense was “very aggressive and attacking downhill” and he’s absolutely right. FIU held Central Florida to just 46 yards rushing on 30 carries so they clearly have the ability to shut down a rushing attack. But that was UCF, a team that ranked just 87th in rushing in 2014. FIU is dealing with a potentially costly injury as starting senior linebacker Davison Colimon has been ruled out with a torn pectoral muscle and I believe the IU rushing game is significantly stronger than UCF’s. I expect the Hoosiers to be able to successfully pound the ball with Jordan Howard and Devine Redding. If they can, it will be a good indicator that the IU run game can be successful against most opponents the Hoosiers will see. A big question I have involves the receivers versus the Panthers secondary. FIU appears to have quite a bit of speed at corner and safety. Can IU’s receivers get enough separation to allow Nate Sudfeld to accurately get them the ball? The IU offense can’t afford to have off-nights, no matter how fast or athletic or aggressive the opposing defense might be.
This game was originally scheduled to be against South Florida. However, in April of 2014, the IU athletic department announced they bought out the contract with USF and had replaced the Bulls with Saturday night’s opponent. Indiana absorbed roughly $750,000 to make the change. Fred Glass told reporters the move was made after some offseason reflection as Glass eventually came to the conclusion that the schedule was more difficult than necessary. The move wasn’t only about swapping South Florida for FIU. It was also about adding a seventh home game to the 2015 schedule and avoiding a bye week to open the 2016 season (which would have occurred if USF remained on the schedule).
Indiana is paying FIU $1 million for the game in Bloomington and will be paid $200,000 for traveling to Florida in 2016. Here’s to hoping the Hoosiers don’t have buyer’s remorse this Saturday night.