#60 Indiana Football 2016 Preview

Indiana Hoosiers
Overall Rank: #60
#10 Big Ten
Coach Kevin Wilson needed a good season at Indiana and he came close enough to getting it in 2015. The Hoosiers reached a bowl game for the first time under Coach Wilson and now they have to keep that success going. The Hoosiers failed to pick up any big wins in 2015 though, with their two conference victories coming against Maryland and Purdue. However, the Hoosiers played Ohio State, Iowa and Michigan very well and lost to each of them by just a touchdown. That is very promising, but Indiana needs to find a new quarterback to replace Nate Sudfeld. Sophomore Danny Cameron and junior college transfer Richard Lagow are the top candidates. Cameron has been around and threw a few passes last year, but Lagow is a better passer.
2015 Record: 6-7, 2-6
2015 Bowl: Pinstripe Bowl vs. Duke (L 41-44)
Coach: Kevin Wilson (20-41 at Indiana, 20-41 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Kevin Johns, Greg Frey
Defensive Coordinator: Mark Hagen, Tom Allen
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Devine Redding, RB, 1,012 yards
Passing: Zander Diamont, QB, 166 yards
Receiving: Simmie Cobbs, WR, 1,035 yards
Tackles: Marcus Oliver, LB, 112
Sacks: T.J. Simmons, LB, 3.0; Tegray Scales, LB, 3.0
Interceptions: Jonathan Crawford, S, 4
Other Key Returnees: WR Ricky Jones, WR Mitchell Paige, OL Dan Feeney, DB Chase Dutra, K Griffin Oakes
Key Losses: RB Jordan Howard, QB Nate Sudfeld, OL Jason Spriggs, DE Nick Mangieri, LB Zack Shaw, DL Darius Latham
Whoever wins the quarterback job will have plenty of options to work with in 2016. The offensive line should again be very strong despite the loss of Jason Spriggs. Guard Dan Feeney is one of the best linemen in the Big Ten and there are three other probable senior starters in the unit. The only non-senior is sophomore Brandon Knight, who is brimming with potential. That should give the quarterback plenty of time to find his receivers. Simmie Cobbs is a big play wideout who caught 60 passes for 1,035 yards and four scores in 2015. Ricky Jones and Mitchell Paige also caught over 50 passes a piece and accounted for 11 total receiving touchdowns. The running back situation may look murky with Jordan Howard and his 1,213 yards gone, but Devine Redding is ready to take over. He had a superb sophomore season and rushed for 1,012 yards and nine touchdowns. Mike Majette showed some potential during limited action as a freshman. He will get the first crack at being Redding’s primary backup.
The offense will score a ton of points again, but that will never be the issue under Coach Wilson. Stopping everybody is the concern. The unit was not particularly good at anything and once again new coaches are coming in to attempt to rectify the situation. The front line lacks a pass rusher, but at least Ralph Green is a big senior who can control the line of scrimmage. The strength of the defense should be at linebacker where Clyde Newton, Marcus Oliver, T.J. Simmons and Tegray Scales return. Oliver recorded a team high 112 tackles and Simmons and Scales were somewhat effective getting into the backfield. Safety Jonathan Crawford highlights a secondary that was torched on a regular basis in 2015. Crawford was one of the few defensive playmakers last year, tallying a team high four interceptions. The hope is transfers Jayme Thompson and Wesley Green can fill that role.
The Bottom Line:
After a long bowl drought, Indiana has the potential to go to back-to-back bowls for the first time in a quarter of a century. The quarterback situation should be fine and this offense is going to score plenty of points, but the defense needs to get some key stops every once in a while. The schedule will give the Hoosiers time to sort a few things out with non-conference games against Florida International, Ball State and Wake Forest. And being in the same division with Maryland and Rutgers provides two more winnable games. And win six could come in the season finale at home versus Purdue. None of those wins may sound all that impressive, but that’s how you get to another bowl game when you are pushing to be a mid-level program in the Big Ten.
Projected Bowl: Heart of Dallas Bowl
2015 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 210.5 (26th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Passing Offense: 293.8 (22, 1)
Total Offense: 504.3 (14, 1)
Scoring Offense: 36.5 (24, 1)
Rushing Defense: 195.7 (95, 13)
Pass Defense: 313.8 (126, 14)
Total Defense: 509.5 (120, 14)
Scoring Defense: 37.6 (116, 14)
Turnover Margin: 0.62 (23, 3)
Sacks: 2.31 (45, 6)
Sacks Allowed: 1.00 (6, 1)
Madness 2017 NFL Draft Rankings:
#57 Dan Feeney