2009 Indiana Hoosiers Football Preview
2008 Record: (3-9, 1-7)
2008 Bowl: none
Coach: Bill Lynch (10-15 at Indiana, 91-82-3 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Matt Canada
Defensive Coordinator: Brian George and Joe Palcic
Other Key Returnees: CB Chris Adkins, G Cody Faulkner, CB Ray Fisher, DT Deonte Mack, DE Greg Middleton, LB Will Patterson, S Nick Polk, OT Rodger Saffold, C Pete Saxon, OT Mike Start, WR Terrance Turner, TE Troy Wagner
Key Losses: DT Greg Brown, LB Geno Johnson, S Joe Kleinsmith, WR Andrew Means, CB Christopher Phillips, K Austin Starr, RB Marcus Thigpen
Ironically, the team’s returning leader in passing and rushing is now a wide receiver. The multi-faceted Kellen Lewis has been moved to wide receiver to help shore up what has been a sore spot for the Hoosiers for quite some time. How well it will actually work remains to be seen.
With that move, the starting quarterback job goes to Ben Chappell. Chappell threw for over 1,000 yards last season and, unlike Lewis, Chappell threw more touchdowns than interceptions. Andrew Means, the team’s leading receiver is gone and Ray Fisher was the team’s second leading receiver and now he is a cornerback. So just who is Chappell going to throw the ball to besides Lewis? Terrance Turner is an effective pass catcher, but the Hoosiers will really need him to step up and turn into a consistent receiver. The news on the ground game is not much better. Marcus Thigpen is gone, but senior Bryan Payton is ready to shoulder the load. If the offensive line, which returns all five starters, can keep Chappell on his feet, the IU offense could at least be halfway decent.
The defense returns eight starters, but they were easily the worst defense in the Big Ten in 2008. Will that experience turn into results? Jammie Kirlew and Greg Middleton are a capable force on the ends. Kirlew tallied 10.5 sacks last year and Middleton has the potential to be a great pass rusher despite his disappointing 2008 season. With tackle Deonta Mack back to clog the middle, there is no reason for the rush defense to be as bad as they were last year. But there was not much reason for it to be that bad last year either. The secondary might be the more interesting unit to keep an eye on this season. Joe Kleinsmith was third on the team in tackles and will sorely be missed. The absence of Christopher Phillips makes things even more intriguing. Will Fisher be the answer and can Chris Adkins cover some of the best receivers in the Big Ten?
The Bottom Line for the Hoosiers:
Indiana took a big step backwards last year and their only win against a division I opponent was a home game against Northwestern. The Hoosiers never even came close to beating anybody else in the Big Ten. If things do not change quickly, Indiana could be looking at another season with double digit losses.
By Joel Welser
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