Written By Sammy Jacobs (@Hoosier_Huddle)
The Indiana Hoosiers enter 2014 at a crossroad. IU has increased their win total in each of head coach Kevin Wilson’s years on the sidelines, and he has brought in the two best recruiting classes in Hoosier football history, yet he has only won 10 games in his tenure. The next step for this program has to be a sixth win and a bowl game, however this is a much different team than the one that went 5-7 (3-5).
Out With the Old in With the New
Gone is beleaguered defensive coordinator Doug Mallory and in comes Brian Knorr and his 3-4 defense from Wake Forest. Knorr has this defense flying around in practice and according to multiple coaches the defense is ahead of the offense so far. There is an energy about the defense that has been missing for a long time in Bloomington. The season could hinge on whether or not this defense can improve to give the offense some support.
Then There was One
Think back to this time last year and all the talk was which of the three quarterbacks was going to start for the Hoosiers on opening night. Well times have changed. After the transfers of Cam Coffman and Tre Roberson the Hoosiers finally have settled the starting quarterback competition. The job belongs to junior Nate Sudfeld. In order for the Hoosiers to have any shot at six wins he has to stay healthy, because there is nothing but youth and inexperience behind him. The hope is that having one clear quarterback will help the Hoosiers have more consistency on offense, an issue that plagued them last season.
A Potential Damaging Roadblock
There is a potentially damaging roadblock that the Hoosiers will face that they cannot control, the schedule. The Hoosiers only have six home games on the 2014 slate and will also have to travel to Missouri, Bowling Green, Ohio State, Iowa, Rutgers and Michigan. This very challenging road schedule could sink the Hoosiers before it has a chance to get to full speed as two of the first three games are away from The Rock. The Hoosiers must go at least 3-1 in their non-conference games in order to have a shot a six wins. These fans are ready to root for a team that is on the up swing. Win early and the fans will show up.
The 2014 season can go either way. Six wins should secure a bowl berth and be the next step taken in building a successful program at Indiana. Another bowless season could place Wilson on the hot seat. Entering his fourth season at the helm of the Hoosier ship Wilson’s record is 10-26 (5-19), nothing to write home about, but there is reason for hope in Bloomington as the atmosphere surrounding the football program is much healthier than it has been since the early 90’s.