Veteran Hoosiers Prepare to Execute Against Ohio State Saturday

Written by Amanda Pavelka (@AmandaPavelka3)

The competition has ramped up for Indiana football quicker than usual going into week three. The Hoosiers will go from facing the lowest-ranked opponent on the 2019 season to the most difficult—the No. 6 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes.

While producing a massive 52-0 victory over Eastern Illinois last Saturday, Indiana displayed a promising offense, and improved defense—talented enough to shutout the Panthers completely. 

“Overall it was a confidence booster to go out there, clean up stuff, and produce a shutout which is very hard to do, no matter who you’re playing,” senior linebacker Reakwon Jones told the media Monday. 

Saturday’s true test is against an elite defensive line that unlike Eastern Illinois, boasts guys more than qualified for the job— seven of 11 top defensive linemen returning from 2018’s Big Ten and Rose Bowl Champion squad. 

“Going into this game, we always know they have a stout defensive line of athletic guys, big guys,” senior offensive lineman Simon Stepaniak said, “so just preparing this week at practice and taking everything seriously and making sure our craft is in tip-top shape for this game is crucial.”

In his third game as quarterback one, there’s a heavy weight placed on redshirt freshman Michael Penix’s shoulders to be the difference-maker in IU’s 26-game losing streak to the Buckeyes. Ohio State is known for their pass rushing game, and for Penix, it’s not the main focus going into Saturday’s game. 

“I trust my offensive line, believe in everything with the offense, that Coach DeBoer’s going to put us in the right situations,” Penix told the media on Monday, “I feel like that’s not something we’re worried about right now, we’re just worried about what we need to execute on the offensive side of the ball.”

Ohio State’s stacked depth won their battle last year. IU ran out of steam on both sides of the ball and fell out of the game after halftime, succumbing to the Buckeyes 49-26. 

Penix prepares for the biggest game of his college career so far with the 1-0 mentality:

“Every single day we work hard, not because of who it is, but because it’s our next game, our next opportunity to get better and show the world that Indiana is on the rise.”

Peyton Hendershot Shows What the Possibilities are at Tight End

Peyton Hendershot Shows What the Possibilities are at Tight End

Written by Amanda Pavelka

There were both hiccups and flashes of good things in Indiana’s season-opener on Saturday, one of the most remarkable performances in their 34-24 victory coming from tight end Peyton Hendershot. 

Kalen DeBoer came to Bloomington to develop a competitive Big Ten offense, and the first look at his newly-implemented system at IU was displayed in their first matchup against Ball State. Part of his game plan he explained in fall camp was to include tight ends more in a mission to stretch the field. As a starter at tight end, Hendershot was a key component in that.

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2019 Indiana Football Positional Preview: Tight Ends

Image: Sammy Jacobs Hoosier Huddle

Image: Sammy Jacobs Hoosier Huddle

Written by: Amanda Pavelka (@AmandaPavelka3)

One of the youngest position groups for the Indiana Hoosiers lies in the tight ends. In his third year of coaching at Indiana, Nick Sheridan, the man responsible for reeling in Michael Penix, transitioned from quarterbacks to tight ends. With the expertise of strength and conditioning staff David Ballou and Dr. Matt Rhea, Sheridan has done a fine job developing the youthful, talented group of five so far.

-Peyton Hendershot- 6’4”/255 pounds - Redshirt Sophomore

The returning starter from North Salem, Indiana is looking for a breakout year. Hendershot suffered an injury his freshman year, taking the medical redshirt in 2017 after appearing in four games. At his first opportunity, he bounced back and made his presence known in last season when he most famously carried a career-high 32-yard touchdown against No. 3 Ohio State and sealed the road win against Rutgers with a 25-yard reception on fourth down. Hendershot’s 2018 stat line reads: 15 receptions, 163 yards, two touchdowns, a pair of tackles, one for loss, and a blocked punt. With a productive year under his belt and an added 10 pounds, he’s capable of adapting as a more confident hybrid to new offensive coordinator Kalen DeBoer’s scheme quite well.

-Matt Bjorson- 6’3”/249 pounds - Sophomore

As a freshman, Matt Bjorson showed flashes of potential early-on with his 15-yard catch in the season-opener at Florida International and a pair of catches totaling 31 yards against Ball State. In total, he secured five catches for 53 yards in the 12 games he played. Bjorson has made some great plays in fall camp and is has the potential to really contribute on offense. He comes back for his sophomore year 12 pounds bigger, more powerful, beaming confidence— expect to see more receptions and blocks as a product of his hard work in the offseason.

-TJ Ivy- 6’5”/ 257 pounds - Redshirt Freshman

TJ Ivy was forced to take the bench his freshman season, and remains one of the most talented Hoosiers whose potential has yet to be tapped. Ivy’s size and impressive high school resume qualifies him for number three tight end, although it is very possible he could earn more play time if he takes advantage of the chance to prove himself early-on this season. Ivy’s added 10 pounds in the offseason and presents like a Big Ten tight end. He’s on the list of players I’m most excited to see take the field in the upcoming season.

-Ryan Barnes- 6’4”/ 249 pounds - Redshirt Freshman 

A walk-on from Noblesville, Indiana, Ryan Barnes joined the team and has been a contributing member of the scout team. Barnes was awarded offensive scout team player of the week twice, for games against Virginia and Iowa and was also special team scout player of the week against Michigan last season. Barnes did not waste time pursuing his dream to play college football in the offseason— he put on 23 pounds. With a competitive tight-end group, there just is not room for Barnes— expect him to contribute behind the scenes this season.

-Gary Cooper- 6’2”/ 235 pounds - Freshman

To redshirt or not to redshirt Gary Cooper will be one of the biggest decisions for the tight ends group in the 2019 season. Cooper may be the most versatile tight end in the group— his sturdy frame and speedy catching could be lethal for Indiana’s opponents. Ranked No. 13 hybrid tight end by ESPN, Cooper makes the future of Indiana football look bright, but with the competition at the tight end spot, a redshirt could be a smart move. Either way, he has four games to decide what’s best for Cooper and Indiana football. 



Countdown to 2019 IUFB Kickoff: 22 Days (Whop Philyor)

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Written by Amanda Pavelka (@amandapavelka3)

COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF: 22 DAYS (#1 WHOP PHILYOR)

Height: 5’11’’

Weight: 178 pounds

Hometown: Tampa, Florida (Plant)

Year: Junior

Position: Wide Receiver

Just over three weeks remain until the 2019 Indiana football season kicks off at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Hoosiers will make their season debut on August 31st at noon as they take on the Ball State Cardinals. Today we wll re-introduce the wide receiver who wore the No.22 jersey in the 2017 and 2018 seasons as No. 1 Whop Philyor.

Whop Philyor is one of Indiana’s first players gained from the Florida recruiting pipeline Tom Allen developed to Bloomington. Philyor joins three of his high school teammates on the Indiana football roster for his junior year—linebacker Thomas Allen, defensive back Juwan Burgess, and linebacker Micah McFadden all hail from Plant High School in Tampa, Florida. 

Philyor had a “whopper” of a freshman season, recording 335 yards and three touchdowns on 33 catches that earned him a slew of honors in 2017. Philyor earned Big Ten Freshman Player of the Week and IU Offensive Player of the Week for his 127 yards and a touchdown on 13 catches against Maryland, just to name a couple. 

The bar was set high for Philyor going into his sophomore year and perhaps one of the largest letdowns on Hoosier offense was that Philyor battled injuries that forced him to sit out for almost half of the 2018 season. A high ankle sprain costed him five games and seven starts, yet he still managed to post 23 receptions for 235 yards and a 65-yard touchdown against nationally-ranked Michigan State. 

Joined by Nick Westbrook, Donovan Hale, and Ty Fryfogle, Philyor is expected to be a key component in Kalen Deboer’s offensive system and will make his speedy comeback with his switch to the No.1 jersey his junior year. 

2019 Indiana Football Fall Camp Report: August 7th

2019 Indiana Football Fall Camp Report: August 7th

Written by Andrew Walker

In the midst of a scorching day, the Hoosiers excelled on the practice field. That was apparent as the practice went on. Earlier, however, there didn’t seem to be much energy around the Hoosiers’ Wednesday practice. This all changed once team drills started. Donovan Hale leaped into the air for a jump ball and got called for offensive pass interference. From then on out, the focus and energy were turned to 11. All three QB’s had their ups and downs on Wednesday, but Mike Penix made the spectacular plays during the two-minute drills at the end of practice. 

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The Goal is Clear Entering Tom Allen’s Third Year

The Goal is Clear Entering Tom Allen’s Third Year

Written by Amanda Pavelka (@amandapavelka3)

Tom Allen did not hesitate when he talked about expectations going into his third year of coaching at Indiana during Big Ten Media Days in Chicago. Allen’s words could not have been more clear-cut on Thursday—“We’re going to win a bowl game. That’s what we’re shooting for.”

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Five IUFB Takeaways from Big Ten Media Day

Five IUFB Takeaways from Big Ten Media Day

Written by Amanda Pavelka

It was a successful Big Ten Media Day, one that Indiana coaches, players, and journalists left with a ray of hope for what appears to be the beginning of a turning point for the IU football program. Here are a few takeaways from Big Ten Media Days you need for the 2019 season— put them in your pocket and do not lose them.

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Needing More: Hoosier Wideouts Look to Step Up

Needing More: Hoosier Wideouts Look to Step Up

Written by T.J. Inman (@TJHoosierHuddle)

The 2018 season was a frustrating one for Indiana football. There were several positives but things did not quite click and IU came up just short of a bowl game. One of the primary reasons for that was a lack of production and explosion in the passing game. The Hoosiers did not have a receiver with more than 46 catches (Luke Timian led the way with 46) and no IU player was able to average even 50 yards receiving per contest. The Hoosiers have turned to a new offensive coordinator with hopes of igniting the offensive attack, the quarterback room is talented and there are a number of wide receivers ready to prove they can get the job done.

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Spring Scrimmage (Practice no. 9) Observations and Quotes

Spring Scrimmage (Practice no. 9) Observations and Quotes

Written by Sammy Jacobs (@Hoosier_Huddle)

It was scrimmage day on a gloomy day in Bloomington and while it was raining outside, the competition was heating up inside Mellencamp Pavilion. No score was kept in the scrimmage, but the defense clearly came out on top.

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Spring Practice No. 3 Notes and Observations

Spring Practice No. 3 Notes and Observations

Written by Sammy Jacobs (@Hoosier_Huddle)

Spring Practice Day Three Notables

The Hoosiers were back on the practice field on a day that felt more suited for skiing than spring football. However, it was toasty inside the Mellencamp Pavilion as the Hoosiers put on the shoulder pads for the first time this spring. Here are my observations as well as quotes from players and coaches.

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