2019 Indiana Football Position Preview: Defensive Line

2019 Indiana Football Position Preview: Defensive Line

Written by Evan McShane (@veryreasonable)

The Hoosiers return plenty of experience on the defensive line, but beyond the frontline there will be some questions about IU’s depth that need answered. Seniors Allen Stallings and Gavin Everett are set to anchor the defensive end spots. Stallings tied for the team lead in quarterback hurries last season while collecting two sacks, six tackles for loss, and a forced fumble. Everett started 11 games last year and was the IU defensive player of the week against Michigan. Together, Stallings and Everett hope to make the most of their senior season.

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2019 Indiana Football Fall Camp Report: August 13th

2019 Indiana Football Fall Camp Report: August 13th

Written by Andrew Walker

In the midst of an overcast and dreary day, the Indiana Hoosiers were anything but. Energy was extremely high today and both sides of the ball excelled. The defense was as fast as they usually are, if not faster. The offense had their highlights and low points as well, partly due to OC Kalen DeBoer implementing some new plays into the offense. QBs and receivers were having a tough time trying to connect on a few new plays, most notably Mike Penix. He ended up overthrowing some passes on consecutive plays while Ramsey and Tuttle seemed to connect effectively. 

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2019 Indiana Football Fall Camp Report: August 12th

2019 Indiana Football Fall Camp Report: August 12th

Written by Andrew Walker

The Hoosiers were indoors at Mellencamp Pavilion on Monday, and what started off as a relatively slow practice without helmets, turned into some pretty exciting team drills. The focus today was less about full run throughs and more about the ins and outs of special teams, two-minute offense, and a few other nitty gritty things. Peyton Ramsey ended up taking a majority of the snaps, but Mike Penix and Jack Tuttle looked good in their reps as well. 

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2019 Indiana Football Fall Camp Report: August 9th

Image: Andrew Walker Hoosier Huddle

Image: Andrew Walker Hoosier Huddle

Written by Andrew Walker

The Indiana Hoosiers concluded their work week on Friday with another full contact practice. The squad’s energy was electric Friday morning, all helped by a few toe-drag touchdowns and defensive takeaways late in team drills. The defense continued their fast pace and the QB’s did quite well. Penix and Ramsey had an equally strong showing slinging the rock around today. Penix was able to find guys sooner, but Ramsey was able to improvise if the pocket collapsed. 

Observations

  • Defense was extremely fast

  • O-Line was unstoppable.

  • Ramsey is just as slippery as we remember

  • Donovan Hale just keeps getting better

  • Tuttle had some inconsistency issues

Kane Wommack 

On Reese Taylor being in a cast, “Just got a little hand issue. So I think he's gonna be fine.”

On the progress of the D-Line, “Improved….I think we all were anticipating that just with these young defensive linemen from the springtime and the improvement that they make, I'm telling you, sometimes the  biggest jump you see in a player is when they go from their freshman year with a redshirt to now, All the sudden, they go from the springtime, where they're actually getting their first real reps. And then they come back to the summertime, some of those young players are really stepping up right now. It's exciting to see.”

On how experience helps the defense, “I mean, Jerome Johnson's a great football player. He's got experience and all these things. I think, probably in terms of the experience, the seven is the physicality. That's a guy that probably needs to take the most snaps in that room. I think we're all on the same page about that. One, Harris is just a different force and how big he is and he can't be moved. I know, man, you know, we got a number of guys that we really are,  We're a D line by committee we believe in that. That's our, regardless of our personal work. We're going to rotate guys and keep them fresh. And I think what's nice is these young guys are with us in position to where they don't feel ham-stringed. I mean, either physically or schematically. Very fast, you know, being very aggressive. He's just naturally a violent player. So regardless of where you put him, he has a knack to find the ball. And when he shows up, he's he's got an attitude so that that Kam Jones is a football player. I got my job as the coordinator, right. And our job as a defensive staff is to take a dynamic football player and create different ways to get him close to the ball. So he will play stance. He's going to do some other things as well. And then even in that we're going to find creative ways to get him in one on one matchups. He's special.”

On Michael Ziemba, “Mike? Mike, a big fan. He's a really good football player as well. In fact, there were plays that he made out on the field last year, I'm not sure he knew what the defensive call was, but he made the play. So a heck of a job there by him. Now he knows what to do. He knows where to put his eyes. And when you take an athlete like that, that's instinctive and now he's starting to figure out what to do his production is going through the roof as I'm sure you guys can see.”  

On young guys that are surprising, “I tell you what the young freshman Josh Sanguinetti. He is so ball savvy, he's got great quicks all those things. Those young inside defensive lineman CJ Person, Beau Robbins is playing inside and outside, excuse me, Jeramy Pasmore is playing inside and outside Beau Robbins on the outside and then Sio (Nofo) Nofoagatoto'a. He's, I'm telling those young defensive line, we're going to be special.” 

On how he’s fitting in as coordinator, “Well, first, first defense coordinator here, you know what I mean. So this is certainly, I think, because of the relationship that Tom and I have, and because this will be my fifth years coordinating in the last six, certainly, this is my comfort zone, as being the coordinator and, and just, you know, I love building a culture of defense, I think our scheme is, is great. I think we're ahead of the game right now of where the game is going and where it has been. But at the same time, the building of culture to get players to execute to a high level and care more about themselves than they are, excuse me care more about each other than they do themselves that that's what's fun about this time of year.”

On how the secondary is playing, “Fast, playing fast right now, playing against really good competition, you know, some of these big wide receivers, they're so powerful, and we've got quarterbacks that can place it just about wherever they want to right now. And so they're, they're challenging route concepts and all that stuff. So I'm really excited just about their physicality and speed.”

Brandon Shelby 

On how the defense is in general, “Not bad. I think you know, the great thing about some of our guys is you know, because we did a great job in the springtime implementing some of the plays and did a great job over summer with themselves that we spend a lot more time will kind of fine tuning all the checks, we had a couple of days where you know the offense in the receivers got after us but all in all I'm very proud of kind of where we are right now. And we got a long ways to go though so we got to keep pushing and just continue to get the little things keep competing and see what we can do here and a couple weeks.  Yeah it's starting to come through because I think now we kind of lean on one another and you come out here and not have a great day you get passed up and I think those guys started understand that and you don't Reese will be back here in a couple of days. And so we'll keep on going and see what we can do over the next couple weeks and see how we can take the take the field against Ball State.”

On takeaways, “We need more I think you know offense doing a good job of protecting the ball which is good for them but I think we can we can create more takeaways got to get the ball in the air get some some some PBU's and we got  to do a better job of creating some takeaways. Yeah, it is another great thing about it, our D line tackles can get some pressure and our guys gotta go up there and compete for balls. I think that's one thing that we got to get better at as I saw today's practice is when the ball is in the air, we're in a great position, going to go attack the ball hats off to some of those receivers, they're doing a great job to go big body guys I mean Westbrook, Donovan Hale a big body guys 6'3, 6'4 230 lbs those guys are big men. So we got to do a good job and more physical at the corner attack. But all in all, I think we're we're slowly but starting to get it.”   

On the new guys, “Well, you know, Larry (Tracy) has really done a great job since the spring, you know, you had shoulder surgery, and it is kind of just now getting back into almost will be one heck of a player, if he can just keep you know, it gets kind of long now because, you know, you kind of the dog days for a little bit buys a little tired or sore. So once it gets past that mental block, he's gonna be he's gonna be a really terrific player. He's got all the tools to be one of the top DB's in the coming year. So I'm expecting a lot from him. And he's just got keep learning. I think that that's the biggest thing this season is long as a lot more checks just can't go out and just run around. Got it. You got to be thinking about the next thing. So you know, I've been yelling at him "chess", what's the next move? Great chess players anticipate the next move. People just don't line up in formations. And so that's the one thing I gotta get him used to. But he's he's taken it all in. He's got a great football mind. And I'm excited about it.”

On how hard he’s pushing some guys, “Everybody's getting pushed. I mean, you know, nobody's safe. But the great thing about those guys, they know what happens. And they know. And I think hey this is a long season. And a guy who's a three could end up you know, Ben Bach four years ago, started in the bowl out in New York. So it's a long season. So physical League, everybody's got to be prepared to play because when your number gets called gotta be ready. And so everybody's getting pushed. Andre and Sean do a great job of being vocal leaders. And along with Rahim and so I'm very, very excited about our guys, we have a good group, I got a good group of solid feel. I got a good guys in the main room. And now which I made sure that he would go on the field and keep doing what we're doing. 

On if he’s limiting some action for veteran players, “Definitely definitely you definitely count his reps. I mean, he's been out here a lot. And he's done a great job with this program. And so at the end day, I know what he can do. So what I try to do is get some those young guys in some situations where we're down at the red zone and, and you know, where they got to think and communicate, because he knows how to do that. So, you know, they got into a couple of times we had a couple of young guys and they're going to get some older guys that I just want to see him compete, you know, are they gonna be upset if the offense gets a big play and so that's what I want to see competition. Iron sharpens iron and they've done a good job. So that's where we're trying to do.”

Andre Brown Jr. 

On how important it is for him to lead younger players,

“Oh it's very important you know they look for guidance and I'm here I'm here for the longest you know I kind of know to and and also to play books and that's really just the main thing you want to get them to learn the playbook and sometimes just you know sometimes when you're a freshman you just trying to do your job and just, you know what I'm saying and but once you know the playbook and you can just play faster and not think about it too much.”

On any specific position groups that are all standing out, “I feel like a whole defense is standing out and I feel like we're playing with a lot of energy right now communicating very well and I felt like when everybody communicating we're just played really fast.”

On whether or not they’ve started talking about Ball State, “We haven't really started on Ball State we've just been focusing on camp you know couple guys watching film here and there but as a team we haven't really focused on Ball State”

On the changes he’s seen under Kane Wommack, “Communication, play with a lot of energy he's a real energy guy so we make a play he's out there jumping out with us and celebrating around. So it's good to emphasize big on swagger to kind of inspire our confidence.”

2019 Opponent Unit Rankings: Quarterbacks

Written by Sammy Jacobs (@Hoosier_Huddle)

We are closing in on the final opposing unit rankings of the 2019 pre-season. Today we are taking a look at the quarterbacks that IU is going to face on their journey through the 2019 schedule. There will be some familiar faces, but many new players will take snaps against the Hoosiers.

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First Glance: Hoosiers Open Critical November at Home versus Northwestern

Image:  David Lee/Daily Senior Staffer

Image: David Lee/Daily Senior Staffer

Written by T.J. Inman (@TJHoosierHuddle)

Week Ten Preview: Northwestern Wildcats

After two very difficult road games (at Maryland and at Nebraska), IU returns home for another crossover game. On November 2, the Hoosiers begin the final month of the regular season by welcoming the defending Big Ten West champion Northwestern Wildcats to Bloomington. This will be the last game before Indiana’s final bye week and the Hoosiers could really use a win heading into the final three contests of the campaign. The Hoosiers and Wildcats last played in 2016 with Northwestern beating Kevin Wilson’s final squad 24-14. Northwestern has won five in a row against Indiana and the last time the Hoosiers knocked off the Wildcats was a 2008 win in Bloomington (21-19 on October 25).

Week Ten:  Northwestern Wildcats

Date & Time: Saturday, November 2, Time: TBA

Venue: Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, Indiana

TV: TBA

Wildcats at a Glance

Head Coach: Pat Fitzgerald

Entering his 14th season as a head coach, 14th season at Northwestern

Overall Record (all at Northwestern): 96-70

Last Season: 9-5 (8-1 in B1G)

Wildcats Returning Leaders

Passing: TJ Green (20-36 for 169 yards)

Rushing: Isaiah Bowser (866 yards on 197 carries with six TDs)

Receiving: Bennett Skowronek (45 catches for 562 yards with three TDs)

Tackles: Blake Gallagher (127 tackles)

Wildcats Preseason Predictions

Athlon’s: 4th in the  Big Ten West

Lindy’s: 4th in the Big Ten West

Phil Steele:T-4th in the Big Ten West

Street & Smith’s: 4th in the Big Ten West

S&P+ Projections: 5.5 wins (57th nation)

Impact Newcomers for the Wildcats

1. Hunter Johnson – QB – The former five-star prospect from Indiana knew he wasn’t going to be playing in front of Trevor Lawrence at Clemson. Before last season began, Johnson opted to transfer back to the Midwest and chose Northwestern as his new school. He is 6’2” and more than 200 pounds. It is highly likely that he will be QB1 for the Wildcats over returning contributor TJ Green.

2. Genson Hooper-Price – WR – The freshman from Houston was a borderline four-star prospect that is 6’4” and looks physically to contribute. The Wildcats have a fairly deep receiving corps with Bennett Skowronek and Riley Lees leading the way but Hooper-Price will have the chance to break into the rotation.

3. Khalid Jones II – LB – Northwestern has two outstanding linebackers but they are going to be searching for a third piece to play in the middle of Blake Gallagher and Paddy Fisher. Redshirt freshman Khalid Jones might just be that guy. He was the one of their top recruits in 2018 and is just shy of 230 pounds.

Offensive Preview

Despite going 8-1 in the Big Ten and winning the West division, the 2018 Northwestern offense was not impressive. The Wildcats were 108th in total offense and 100th in scoring. They were not particularly good through the air or on the ground (finishing last in the Big Ten in rushing). They will hope that new quarterback Hunter Johnson will spark life into the attack. The former Clemson Tiger is now in Evanston and it is very likely he’ll take over as the starter for the departed Clayton Thorson. TJ Green saw some spot duty last season but Johnson has a much higher ceiling. The former 5-star prospect can hurt opponents with his legs and with his arm but we have yet to see him in extended action at the college level so the position remains a bit of a question mark until it can actually be proven on the field. Johnson will be paired with tailback Isaiah Bowser, one of the more impressive offensive players in the second half of the 2018 Big Ten season. He finished shy of 1,000 yards but his workload was very small until he took over for Jeremy Larkin (retired) a few games into the season. Bowser is a dangerous weapon and the Wildcats also have veteran John Moten IV. Bennett Skowronek leads a deep receivers group but they will miss top target Flynn Nagel. Riley Lees, Kyric McGowan and freshmen Genson Hooper-Price and Brycen Kirtz provide depth but I think questioning if there are real difference makers is fair. Superback is a major concern after the early retirement of Cameron Green, the team’s third-leading receiver in 2018.

The biggest issue for the offense is on the offensive line. They allowed the most sacks in the conference in 2018 (36) and now have to replace three starters and their long-time position coach (who is now the head coach of IU opponent Eastern Illinois). Rashawn Slater is really good and he’s switching from right tackle to left tackle and they bring back their center but Northwestern will need several inexperienced linemen to step up.

Defensive Preview

The strength of the Northwestern Wildcats should continue to be the defense. The Wildcats have a pair of stars at linebacker and a terrific defensive end in Joe Gaziano plus a veteran secondary and good depth. Northwestern is 15-1 in their past 16 Big Ten West games and the success can largely be attributed to the defense (and being highly efficient in the red zone). In addition to Joe Gaziano, Samdup and Alex Miller (brothers) and possibly Jake Saunders. The weak spot is likely to be the interior and whether or not the Wildcats can successfully stop the run. If the middle of the line can be adequate, it will give the terrific linebackers the opportunity to shine. Paddy Fisher and Blake Gallagher (the Big Ten’s leading tackler in 2018) play on the outside and form one of the best duos in the country. Chris Bergin and redshirt freshman Khalid Jones will battle for the middle linebacker spot. The secondary has to replace a pair of starters, including All-Big Ten corner Montre Hartage but they do have quite a bit of experience returning. Safety JR Pace is the best of the unit and a number of corners have gotten snaps.

Special Teams Preview

Charlie Kuhbander was hurt for part of 2018 but he should be ready to go for the 2019 season and he’ll be the kicker and punter for the Wildcats. The return game doesn’t figure to be much of a factor for Northwestern but Riley Lees is likely the returner.

 

2019 Opponent Unit Ranking: Running Back

2019 Opponent Unit Ranking: Running Back

2019 Indiana Opponent Rankings – Running Back

Written by: TJ Inman (@TJHoosierHuddle)

Hoosier Huddle’s 2019 season preview coverage continues. The opponent rankings series is one of the staples of our look ahead at the season. Today’s focus shifts to the backfield and ranks the running back groups the Indiana Hoosiers defense will need to stop during the 2019 campaign. IU has some questions on the defensive line, specifically with the depth of the interior, and the run defense could be a key factor in determining whether or not the Hoosiers go bowling.

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First Glance: Indiana's First Trip to Lincoln Since 1977 Won't Be Easy, as Nebraska Has Division Title Hopes

First Glance: Indiana's First Trip to Lincoln Since 1977 Won't Be Easy, as Nebraska Has Division Title Hopes

Written by Sammy Jacobs (@Hoosier_Huddle)

Week Nine Preview: Nebraska Cornhuskers

The Big Ten schedule makers did not do Indiana any favors as the back third of the schedule begins with road trips to Maryland and then out west to Nebraska. That’s over 1,200 miles of travel for the Hoosiers in the span of a week. We pinned the game at Maryland as a swing game and to turn around and head to Nebraska, who many have winning the Big Ten West, is going to push IU to the limit physically and mentally. The Hoosiers last played Nebraska in 2016, but have not played in Lincoln since 1977. The Hoosiers lead the series with Nebraska 9-8-3 with IU’s last win coming in Lincoln in 1959.

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Opponent Unit Rankings: Special Teams

Opponent Unit Rankings: Special Teams

Written by Sammy Jacobs (@Hoosier_Huddle)

2019 Opposing Special Teams Rankings

Welcome back to our opponent unit ranking series. Today we will are ranking the special teams units for each of the Indiana Hoosiers’ opponents during the 2019 regular season. We will consider each phase of special teams (kicking, punting, punt return and coverage and kickoff return and coverage).

Since we don’t rank IU in this, I will tell you where I would put them. The Hoosiers would be right, smack in the middle of this ranking. Kicker Logan Justus is very solid and Charles Campbell could be used as a capable kicker as well. Haydon Whitehead is a really good punter as well. The questions for IU come in the return and coverage games. Can they find a replacement for J-Shun Harris who was an All-Big Ten punt returner? Will someone breathe life into the kickoff return unit? Finally, can they fix whatever plagued them late in the year on kickoff coverage?

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