Storylines for Indiana’s game against SIU #iufb

1. Jordan Howard’s Indiana debut

Howard is something of an unknown commodity to IU fans after the UAB transfer missed most of spring practice, including the spring game, with a hyperextended elbow. But the 6-foot-1, 225-pound running back authored some impressive moments during the summer, displaying an intriguing mix of power and speed. He’s not as explosive as 2,000-yard rusher Tevin Coleman, but Howard appears to be a worthy replacement. Howard is listed in the top spot on IU’s first two-deep, but he’ll split time this season with sophomore Devine Redding. “Whether Jordan or Devine go out there first, we’ll still need a third with Ricky Brookins and Alex Rodriguez,” IU coach Kevin Wilson said.

2. Will SIU’s tight end emerge as a threat?

The Salukis lost their top three receivers from last season, including tight end — and fifth-round draft pick — MyCole Pruitt. They’re expecting to use a quartet of running backs and are still looking for a consistent offensive threat to emerge. IU thinks that threat could be tight end Adam Fuehne. The 6-7, 257-pound senior played in Pruitt’s shadow last season, but caught at least one pass in seven of the 11 games he played. Wilson said this week that NFL scouts are eyeing Fuehne as SIU’s most draftable player. Defensive coordinator Brian Knorr will have bandits Zack Shaw and Nile Sykes or Greg Gooch assigned to Fuehne. “Our bandit position is a position (where) we’re pretty physical,” Knorr said. “Our bandits, which are our defensive end/ outside backers, are 250-plus, so we shouldn’t be outmatched there. We certainly are aware of him.”

3. Can Indiana mount a sustainable pass rush?

The best way for Indiana to take some of the heat off a young and inexperienced secondary will be to generate a consistent and natural pass rush. With Nick Mangieri at defensive end, Adarius Rayner at nose tackle and Darius Latham at defensive tackle, IU believes it has the right mix of size and quickness. Moving Mangieri from bandit back to his more natural position on the end should also help replace what’s lost on the edge after the graduation of Bobby Richardson. “It’s supposed to be one of the strengths of our team,” Knorr said. “We’ve challenged them from a standpoint of ball disruption. In our last scrimmage, we had two huge batted down tips on passes. I think the length and size we have have up front, and what we’ve done over the last 10 days from a pass rush standpoint has been outstanding.”

4. Hoosiers depth could be X-factor

It’s going to be hot in Bloomington. Really hot. Temperatures are expected to reach the low-to-mid 90s, with humidity upwards of 60 percent. Did we mention it was going to be hot? It all means Indiana’s ability to rotate players in and out could help wear down their FCS opponent. This is Wilson’s deepest team since arriving in 2011, with the most apparent depth on the offensive line and in the front seven. “We have depth at linebacker, we can go eight bodies at the d-line,” Wilson said. “We can go where body eight at linebacker or body eight at d-line is comparable to body four.”

4 comments

  1. Here’s a story line for today’s game! How many people will attend the game and be inside Memorial Stadium to cheer the Hoosier football team on to victory? Will attendance (not ticket sales, but butts in seats) exceed 35,000? Will IU set a record for the lowest attendance for a season-opening home football game in IU’s history? Will road construction and expected traffic delays provide tens of thousands of IU fans to justify staying home, mowing their yards or doing their laundry?

  2. If you root for Indiana, if you like football, how can you pass up the opportunity to actually see IU win a home game? In the last 10 years how many of those have there been? Not that many!

  3. For those of you that can and do attend today’s game, you have been dismissed. Your dipping into your pocketbooks and your cheers have been dismissed. Your good time has been dismissed. Your children brought to the game have been dismissed. And, yes, your Saturday choice for something outside your own Facebook page has been dismissed.
    But all is not lost in this defeatist world we have invited you! Your eating of multiple hot dogs and chips at the Memorial dungeon has actually NOT been dismissed. Your calorie consumption is somewhat useful,to the Po-Jaba “the quintessential fan” .Hutt! Hutt!.
    You will be made into Soylent Green pellets at the conclusion of the game and fed to Podunker’s free-range chickens at his Lafayette farm.

  4. BeatPurdue, IU wins their first 3-4 home games almost every year since they schedule the likes of Towson and Indiana St. So really, a little exaggeration there. It’s the conference home games we never win.

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