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College football: Indiana’s 5 keys to the season

Football head shots Day 4 04/05/12_Lauren Waiz

Football head shots, Day 4, 04/05/12_Lauren Waiz

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5 Keys To The Season

Pick a quarterback and stick with him: Easier said than done, of course, as injuries or ineffective play will impact the game’s most important position. Tre Roberson appears to be the man; can he stay healthy and play well enough to fend off Cam Coffman?

Steal a road win in the Big Ten: It’s usually easier to win at home, of course, but Indiana’s home conference slate is a tough one — Michigan State and Ohio State back-to-back to start October, Iowa and Wisconsin back-to-back to start November. The road schedule includes winnable games at Illinois and Penn State.

Stop the run: The Hoosiers were the easiest team to run on in the Big Ten last season; if that doesn’t improve, another losing season can be counted on.

Win the turnover battle: IU did a decent job protecting the football last season, with just 18 turnovers. But they only took the ball away 16 times, with only five interceptions.

Stay healthy: Every football team wants to, but the Hoosiers don’t appear to have the depth of talent to make up for significant injuries — not if Kevin Wilson wants to avoid playing as many freshmen as he did last year.

5 Key Games

Sept. 8, at Massachusetts: Barring an epic breakdown, IU should win its season-opener at home against Indiana State. Game No. 2 may not be quite as easy, even against a UMass team that was 5-6 last season. This game is IU’s best chance at a road win this fall.

Sept. 15, vs. Ball State: The only home game on this list for IU. Kevin Wilson’s first season got off to a disappointing start with the 27-20 loss to Ball State at Lucas Oil Stadium last fall.

Oct. 20, at Navy: So, taking on the Navy’s wishbone offense in the midst of the Big Ten season? It won’t be easy; that’s why Wilson and his coaches were preparing the IU defense for this game back in the spring.

Nov. 17, at Penn State: Given the sanctions against Penn State, the expectation is that the Nittany Lions will take IU’s place as Big Ten cellar-dwellers. For that to happen, the Hoosiers are going to have to actually beat Penn State on the field, something that’s never happened, rewritten record books notwithstanding.

Nov. 24, at Purdue: Indiana’s chance to close out the season on a positive note. The Hoosiers’ last trip to West Lafayette was an IU win — and Bill Lynch’s last game as a head coach.

5 Key Players

Tre Roberson, QB: He’s listed as the starter for now, but that could always change before the season kicks off against Indiana State. Bottom line: completing 57 percent of his passes, as he did last year, won’t be enough to stay in the lineup this season.

Tevin Coleman, RB: The final depth chart of fall camp listed Coleman, a true freshman, ahead of Stephen Houston and D’Angelo Roberts at tailback. The 6-1, 197-pounder won’t get 30 carries a game — nobody will — but his speed could be a factor all season long.

Will Matte, C: The anchor of what should be a young offensive line — three true freshmen are listed in the two-deep.

Jacarri Alexander, LB: One of six JUCO signees on defense, he had six sacks last year at Iowa Central while playing linebacker and defensive end. The Hoosiers could use that sort of pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

Mark Murphy, S: Forced to switch between linebacker and safety as a true freshman last season, Murphy should stay in the secondary this season. He’s IU’s top returning tackler, but adding some takeaways to his stat sheet would help.

— By correspondent Andy Proffet

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Updated: August 16, 2013 6:15PM



Pick a quarterback and stick with him: Easier said than done, of course, as injuries or ineffective play will impact the game’s most important position. Tre Roberson appears to be the man; can he stay healthy and play well enough to fend off Cam Coffman?

Steal a road win in the Big Ten: It’s usually easier to win at home, of course, but Indiana’s home conference slate is a tough one — Michigan State and Ohio State back-to-back to start October, Iowa and Wisconsin back-to-back to start November. The road schedule includes winnable games at Illinois and Penn State.

Stop the run: The Hoosiers were the easiest team to run on in the Big Ten last season; if that doesn’t improve, another losing season can be counted on.

Win the turnover battle: IU did a decent job protecting the football last season, with just 18 turnovers. But they only took the ball away 16 times, with only five interceptions.

Stay healthy: Every football team wants to, but the Hoosiers don’t appear to have the depth of talent to make up for significant injuries — not if Kevin Wilson wants to avoid playing as many freshmen as he did last year.

5 Key Games

Sept. 8, at Massachusetts: Barring an epic breakdown, IU should win its season-opener at home against Indiana State. Game No. 2 may not be quite as easy, even against a UMass team that was 5-6 last season. This game is IU’s best chance at a road win this fall.

Sept. 15, vs. Ball State: The only home game on this list for IU. Kevin Wilson’s first season got off to a disappointing start with the 27-20 loss to Ball State at Lucas Oil Stadium last fall.

Oct. 20, at Navy: So, taking on the Navy’s wishbone offense in the midst of the Big Ten season? It won’t be easy; that’s why Wilson and his coaches were preparing the IU defense for this game back in the spring.

Nov. 17, at Penn State: Given the sanctions against Penn State, the expectation is that the Nittany Lions will take IU’s place as Big Ten cellar-dwellers. For that to happen, the Hoosiers are going to have to actually beat Penn State on the field, something that’s never happened, rewritten record books notwithstanding.

Nov. 24, at Purdue: Indiana’s chance to close out the season on a positive note. The Hoosiers’ last trip to West Lafayette was an IU win — and Bill Lynch’s last game as a head coach.

5 Key Players

Tre Roberson, QB: He’s listed as the starter for now, but that could always change before the season kicks off against Indiana State. Bottom line: completing 57 percent of his passes, as he did last year, won’t be enough to stay in the lineup this season.

Tevin Coleman, RB: The final depth chart of fall camp listed Coleman, a true freshman, ahead of Stephen Houston and D’Angelo Roberts at tailback. The 6-1, 197-pounder won’t get 30 carries a game — nobody will — but his speed could be a factor all season long.

Will Matte, C: The anchor of what should be a young offensive line — three true freshmen are listed in the two-deep.

Jacarri Alexander, LB: One of six JUCO signees on defense, he had six sacks last year at Iowa Central while playing linebacker and defensive end. The Hoosiers could use that sort of pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

Mark Murphy, S: Forced to switch between linebacker and safety as a true freshman last season, Murphy should stay in the secondary this season. He’s IU’s top returning tackler, but adding some takeaways to his stat sheet would help.

— By correspondent Andy Proffet



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