Written By Sammy Jacobs (@Hoosier_Huddle)
With Spring Practice wrapped up Hoosier Nation sent some questions in that they would like answered. We would like to thank everyone for sending in their questions.
1. Any chance Peyton Ramsey will see any game time? -- Teri Watkins
Thanks for the question Teri. Ramsey was impressive during the spring game and that is really encouraging going forward, especially for 2018 and beyond. He had command of the offense and proved he could be a threat both throwing and running the football. However, Lagow will be the starting quarterback when the season starts barring something catastrophic occurring. It'll be interesting how Coach DeBord will use him during the year. It's unclear if he will have a Diamont-like role or if he will just be the back-up and used just in games that have "garbage" time. Hopefully, IU can blow a couple opponents out so Ramsey can get his feet wet prior to competing for the starting job in 2018.
2. Is there a chance Marcelino Ball gets a few touches on the offensive side of the ball after that carry he had? -- Jason Rager
Jason, thank you for the question. Many members of the media and fans went on about IU having a two-way player again. Ball is a tremendous athlete and a terrific football player, however I believe it is highly unlikely to see Ball used like that on offense for two reasons. One, IU already has a ton of weapons they can use in that role on offense. Wide receiver Isaac James is the perfect candidate to run the gadget plays that IU ran with Mitchell Paige. He was a quarterback in high school and throws pretty well, he is also fast enough to get to the edge and out run people. Two, as fun as it would be to have a two-way player, IU needs Ball on defense. He started all 13 games as a true freshman and will only get better with experience. Overloading his plate with learning the offensive side of the ball could take away from him becoming a great defensive player.
3. What is your biggest takeaway from the Spring Game?-- Ben Malcomson
Ben, my biggest takeaway from the spring game is that IU needs to get healthy. It was a terrific showing for a program that has undergone so many changes in the last six months, but IU needs to get their playmakers back. There were only two healthy running backs, Nick Westbrook, Danny Friend, and a few defensive key players sat out as well. Get those guys back for the fall, and they should, this team will be just fine.
4. What is your opinion of the defense this year? -- Teri Watkins
Teri, if the defense stays healthy and they can find an edge rusher (defensive end) and a replacement for Marcus Oliver, they should be able to build upon their improvements from last season. The Hoosiers have at least one legitimate playmaker at every level of the defense and in most spots they have enough quality depth to put together four full quarters. Tom Allen's goal is to be a Top-25 defense, if things go as planned they should be right around that goal.
5. What is Tom Allen's biggest worry as Spring Practice ends? -- Teri Watkins
Unfortunately I was unable to be at the spring game and ask him directly, but I will give you my biggest worry which is the health of the backfield. T.J. and I touched upon it on the latest podcast. While IU expects all of these players to be ready to go for the fall, they have an injury history and have not been able to put together a full season.
6. Jon Gruden generated excitement and had positive vides about the program. Where do you feel he will fit going forward? -- Ryan McConnell
I was very impressed with Jon Gruden from what I heard and what I've seen in the videos posted by IU Athletics. He is genuinely pumped up to be associated with IU. What I don't understand are the people complaining on the video posts about it. I don't think they realize how great this is for IU. Gruden is a tremendous football coach and a very good analyst. He loves football and his excitement about it may rub some people the wrong way. However, going forward I think he will be more of a guy who will work with the IU coaches (he has a really good relationship with DeBord) and come in as a guest coach from time-to-time. Unless Monday Night Football is in Indianapolis, I doubt you'll see much of him in Bloomington until the NFL season ends. Although it would not surprise me to see him in for the season opener.
7. Coach Allen has won over many players and built excitement from within. Yet, he is still a somewhat unknown personality to the fans. What should we know about him? What should we expect on game days? -- Ryan McConnell
Great question Ryan! Coach Allen loves football and he loves being at Indiana. He was mic'd up during the spring game and there was one conversation with Gruden where he said he was so blessed to be coaching at IU and that every day he comes into the office he gets chills. Having someone that wants to be here for a long time and attacks this job with the passion and energy that coach Allen has should endear him to the fans. Ultimately though, it will come down to winning ball games.
As far as what to expect on a game day, we only have the bowl game to go off of. However, there were some things that were vastly different from Wilson. The first thing I noticed is that there were no wasted timeouts used because the play was late coming in. How many times have we seen IU burned because Wilson had to call timeouts early in halves with the play clock running out. Secondly, he has earned the trust of his players. One of the biggest takeaways from that bowl game for me was when he yanked Ralph Green off the field for two plays because Green needed to calm down and gather himself before he got a major penalty. If Green did not Allen he would have thrown a fit. It may seem like a small deed, but it resonated for a long time with me.
8. How is the Excellence Academy building site (South End Zone) going to affect the game? We can't expect to play like the spring game using half the field.--Teri Watkins
Good question, Teri. IU most likely used one end zone for the spring game for logistical reasons. Tom Allen was usually stationed behind the play and there are probably other reasons as to why they only went toward the north end. During the regular season there should be no issues with using both issues. The construction zone, much like the NEZ construction in 2007-08, should not be an issue.