This week Ohio State takes on the Hoosiers from Indiana who played incredibly tough against the Spartans last week… this could be an interesting game for the Buckeyes. For some insight on the Hoosiers, we welcome back John M. from www.crimsonquarry.com to answer some questions from our panel. Here’s what John has to say:
1. Indiana took Michigan State to the wire last Saturday. Did you expect that this team would be able to put up such a good fight against the Big Ten runners up from last year?
No, I really didn’t expect it. I think the second half looked much how I feared the first half would look when IU’s offense tried to take on MSU’s defense. As it stood, IU was able to put up some points against the MSU defense in the first half, and the defense played well, too, forcing MSU to punt on 7 of its first 10 possessions before finally collapsing. I wouldn’t have expected IU to be in the game without a dramatic turnover advantage, but it happened.
2. How do you feel about the work Kevin Wilson has done at Indiana so far? Are the Hoosiers moving in the right direction?
I like Wilson. I like his resume and the staff he has put together. Obviously, at some point the wins will have to come, but I do think this team is meaningfully better than last year’s team, which is better than the alternative.
3. What does Indiana like to do offensively that has made them suddenly so dangerous? Which players are the vital cogs that make the offense work so well?
IU has been running a very fast-paced offense that is somewhat similar to what would have been seen at Texas Tech under Mike Leach. IU OC Seth Littrell is a Leach protégé. I’ve been very impressed with all three quarterbacks that IU has used this year, and as always seems to be the case, IU has some respectable pieces at the offensive skill positions: Stephen Houston and Tevin Coleman at RB, Kofi Hughes, Cody Latimer, Nick Stoner, and Duwyce Wilson at WR, Ted Bolser at TE. I do think IU’s offensive numbers are a bit deceiving. IU has been productive, but in all three losses IU has had extended periods of close to zero offensive production: the second half against MSU, the first half against Northwestern, the third quarter against Ball State. IU’s defense is improving, but IU won’t win another game if the offense continues to take entire quarters and halves off.
4. How do you see the Hoosier’s defense adjusting from attacking Michigan State’s power running game to Ohio State’s spread look?
Uhhh…not very well. I don’t want to badmouth the defense, because they were very good for most of the MSU game. But as you well know, the MSU offense has problems, yet still hung 31 on the Hoosiers. I blame the offense for that in part, because they simply couldn’t stay on the field in the second half, but it happened. There are some opportunities for the defense in the weeks following the OSU game, but this is going to be a big, big challenge.
5. Indiana played incredibly well in Columbus last year. How will Coach Wilson use that as a springboard to prepare his team for this weekend’s game?
Oh, I’m sure it will play some role. A reminder that some of the guys on this team were able to go toe-to-toe with some of the guys on your team can’t hurt their confidence. But let’s face it; OSU has improved more compared to 2011 than IU has.
6. How was has the offense responded to new leadership after Tre Roberson’s injury? How is he recovering?
The offense has generally been good. I haven’t heard anything about the dissension that plagued last year’s team, so leadership and buy-in seem to be fine. I think where IU really misses Roberson is in his improvisational ability. I’m not close enough to the team to know, but I haven’t detected any leadership deficit. As for his injury, as gruesome as it was, my understanding is that it was a relatively clean break and that he’s going to be running within a few weeks and should be fully ready for spring ball.
7. What legacies from Coach Hoeppner’s tenure still remain in Bloomington?
The most visible legacy is the north end zone expansion of Memorial Stadium, which added modestly to Memorial Stadium’s capacity and includes the player lounges, weight room, meeting rooms, etc. that are standard in college football these days. A north end zone enclosure has been on campus master plans for as far back as I can remember, but it’s no coincidence that it happened when Hep was selling it. Also, don’t forget that Hep and Kevin Wilson were friends and colleagues. They worked together at Miami on Randy Walker’s staff.
8. Any great “Coach Lee Corso” stories that folks don’t know about?
Oh, I assume all of the embarrassing ones are known–the picture of the scoreboard when IU led Ohio State in the first quarter, the double decker bus that almost made the team late for his first home game, jumping out of the coffin on his TV show. One interesting note: when Corso found out he had been fired, he was in Fort Wayne to recruit eventual Hall of Famer Rod Woodson. Corso still made the in-home visit and tried to convince Woodson to go to IU, so I suppose I can’t be too tough on the old guy.
Thanks again to John for his time and be sure to check out John at www.crimsonquarry.com for more of his work. As always, here’s hoping for a good game AND a Buckeye win. O – H!