IU football according to the preseason publications #iufb

Does it feel like football season yet? If not, it should. Big Ten Media Days get underway in Chicago on Thursday morning, when we’ll get our opportunity to check in with IU coach Kevin Wilson and the crew. As always, there’s plenty to check on this week, whether it be position changes, disciplinary issues, the whole Antonio Allen mess, injury updates, hopes and dreams and all the other typical spring/summer updates. Wilson will be joined on Thursday by Nate Sudfeld, Adarius Rayner and Jason Spriggs, so we’ll get a good amount of time to chat with all four.

In the meantime, while we wait for the real stuff to happen, let’s take a look at what our friends at three of the major national preview magazines believe is in store for the Hoosiers in Year 5 under Wilson. Opinions and projections vary, and you’ll find a whole lot more by purchasing the following publications, but here’s a sampling of where things seem to stand entering the fall.

ATHLON
National projection: No. 60
Record projection: 6-6 overall, 2-6 Big Ten
Big Ten finish projection: Sixth in the Big Ten East
Bowl projection: Austin Bowl vs. Miami (NOTE: Since publication, this bowl has been shelved for at least one year)
All-Conference selections: Jordan Howard, 2nd Team running back; Dan Feeney, 2nd Team guard; Jason Spriggs, 2nd Team tackle.
Recruiting ranking: No. 9 in Big Ten.
Team analysis: “The Hoosiers took a step back in 2014, but the return of QB Nate Sudfeld from injury should be enough for Indiana to challenge for a bowl. Sudfeld is among the Big Ten’s top quarterbacks and will be joined by talented UAB transfer Jordan Howard at running back to replace Tevin Coleman. Defense remains the biggest concern. The Hoosiers have allowed at least 30 points per game for five consecutive seasons, and the 2015 unit doesn’t figure to be significantly improved. With four winnable games in non-conference play, combined with two key swing games at home, IU should be in position to become bowl-eligible for the first time since 2007.”

Of note: — For the second consecutive year, Athlon lists Kevin Wilson as one of 10 coaches on the hot seat.

— Athlon also quotes an unnamed opposing coach to paint an outsider’s view of the IU program. “Losing the quarterback, Nate Sudfeld, just killed them. It was huge. We broke down games with Sudfeld and without him, and they looked like two different teams. Teams just loaded the box and made it tough for (Tevin) Coleman to run the ball. … The true freshman (Zander Diamont) has some ability, I guess, but they didn’t trust him to do much. Became very one-dimensional. They wanted to redshirt him. … I think their offensive scheme is really good. I think Kevin Wilson is a very good coach. Their offensive line was one of the better lines we played against last year. … Coleman was a legit back. I was nervous every time he touched the ball. You were just thrilled every time you held him under 10 yards. He had so many big plays. … Defensively, they still have issues. They just haven’t been able to get the type of players on defense that they have had on offense. Maybe that’s because Kevin Wilson is an offensive guy, but they just don’t have the talent on that side of the ball.”

LINDY’S
National projection: No. 70
Big Ten rankings: 1. Ohio State, 2. Michigan State, 3. Wisconsin, 4. Michigan, 5. Nebraska, 6. Penn State, 7. Iowa, 8. Minnesota, 9. Rutgers, 10. Maryland, 11. Illinois, 12. Northwestern, 13. Indiana, 14. Purdue.
East Division: 1. Ohio State, 2. Michigan State, 3. Michigan, 4. Penn State, 5. Rutgers, 6. Maryland, 7. Indiana.
Good news: Quarterback Nate Sudfeld is healthy again.
Bad news: It isn’t basketball season.
Our call: Kevin Wilson probably took the wrong job.
All-Conference selections: Dan Feeney, 2nd Team offensive line; Jason Spriggs, 2nd Team offensive line; Jordan Howard, 3rd Team running back.
Primary strengths: “IU has talent and experience on the offensive and defensive lines. The return of Sudfeld from injury is a big boost. Howard could be the key newcomer in the Big Ten.
Potential problems: “Depth at QB could be an issue, so IU can’t afford to lose Sudfeld again. The receiving corps needs to step up after a down year. Defense, which has been a weakness at IU for many years, needs to continue the improvement it began last season, although it was still one of the worst nationally.”

Of note: — Among Big Ten programs, IU is ranked in the top five in quarterbacks (four) and offensive line (four). Lindy’s ranks the Indiana receiving corps at No. 13 and pegs the defensive line and linebackers dead last.

— Lindy’s sees IU’s schedule as the league’s easiest, but singles out a home game against Western Kentucky (Sept. 19) and a road trip to Wake Forest (Sept. 26) as potential problems.

— Jordan Howard is considered the Big Ten’s top newcomer. “It isn’t often a team gets to plug in a proven veteran with nearly 2,500 yards and 15 touchdowns rushing to his credit.”

— Taking a look into IU’s 2015 recruiting class, Lindy’s calls four-star prospect Tyler Green the headliner of the group. The magazine lists Green as a safety, but expect him to start at cornerback when preseason camp opens next week. Linebacker/athlete Omari Stringer is the sleeper of the class.

PHIL STEELE
National projection: No. 72
Record projection: 7-5
Big Ten finish projection: Fifth in Big Ten East
Bowl projection: Armed Forces Bowl vs. Air Force
All-conference selections: Dan Feeney, 1st Team offensive line; Jordan Howard, 2nd Team running back; Jason Spriggs, 2nd Team offensive line; Nate Sudfeld, 4th Team quarterback; Griffin Oakes, 4th Team kicker.
National recruiting ranking: No. 49 (No. 8 in Big Ten)
Team analysis: “When I wrote the magazine last year, the Hoosiers were in GREAT shape at quarterback with mobile QB Tre Roberson and pro style Nate Sudfeld. Roberson transferred out and Sudfeld was out for the year week 6, after which IU had a 4 game stretch averaging 55 passing yards per game (just 90 yards per game last seven) after averaging 307 passing yards per game in 2014. Their early season upset at No. 18 Missouri was with Sudfeld. Running back Tevin Coleman became the workhorse and rushed for 2,036 yards but is now gone. The Hoosiers are in much better shape at quarterback and get UAB transfer Jordan Howard at running back (1,587 rushing yards in 2014!) and have my No. 4 offensive line. Indiana does have just 12 returning starters with 24 lettermen lost and were -123.4 yards per game in Big Ten play in 2014 (No. 13). My main two sets of power ratings are calling for 7-5, but many call for another losing record.”

Of note: — Steele lists Indiana as his No. 5 most improved team.

— Here’s a look at which IU personnel units rank in his top 45: quarterbacks (No. 23), running backs (No. 40), offensive line (No. 16).

— Steele ranks Indiana’s schedule as the No. 59 toughest in the nation (No. 12 in Big Ten).

— With the return of Nate Sudfeld, Steele rates the IU passing offense as the No. 2 most improved unit in the nation. He also projects a scoring average of 29.7 points per game and a points allowed averaged of 32.9 ppg.

5 comments

  1. Hey Ron,
    I recall you mentioning a while back that you had a cabin between Heber City and Kamas. I drove past it the other day. I camped that night up past Mirror Lake. That’s some really beautiful country.

    A moose walked through our campsite the next morning.

    How about that?

  2. There are some good things in these preseason publications but not any great things about the team. This could be a team that really surprises people as they are under the radar and I think their talent is better than many think. The receivers were a deficit for the team but with the now Sophomores having a year under their belt along with adding the UAB and JR college receiver there is some real talent that should show up. Coach Wilson has talked about how the team finally figured out they play for each other will have the team challenging teams and beating them. The passing game should be very good with a running game with talent and depth giving IU a dangerous offense for other teams to deal with.

    Defense showed improvement especially the last half of the season. I like the moves to make the front more athletic which should give us a good pass rush. The key will be how IU is on the run game; the LB are experienced and the front needs to be good with young DB behind them. I think the DBs will be good and not the problem it looks like on paper.

    The kicking game should be in good shape this year with both kickers back. Phil Steele seems to have the team well understood. I agree they should win 7 games and with a special year with things breaking for them I could see them doing even better. I can’t wait to see how they do this year; I will be going to the Michigan game this year. It would be great for the team to upset a couple of teams and win 9 games to help the recruiting in 2016 and to give the younger guys the spark to do that every year. Yes, I know winning 9 is a big reach but just as the 1967 team shocked people it does happen now and then.

  3. I agree 1000% about Lyndy’s lack of thought and research into IU’s DL and LB corp available for this year. IU’s D surprises this year from the front 7 giving good cover for the DB’s to perform early on while OJT.

    MM, Do us a favor and don’t bother getting into the nonissue that is Antonio Allen. He is gone and no need to know more about him. His position is a legit topic even though in my opinion Tony Fields played enough minutes and well enough last year to be in the cross hairs to start there. Who will be the backup? Big Ralph is an issue to inquire about. Also is there anyone who is suppose to be on campus or coming to campus from new the recruits to 5th year players not going to join the team? seems there is always a surprise. On a personal side from me, does the DL or D as a whole have a goal as to the # of sacks and T’sFL projected for the upcoming season.

  4. These rankings are done in a vacuum and don’t take the team factors into account. It’s like the NFL drafting players based solely on combine numbers (I’m looking at you Oakland Raiders). That’s only one part of the equation. Based on that kind of analysis Walter Payton would never get into the League and Ryan Leaf would be a Hall of Famer.

    I’m guessing even a casual fan could make a more knowledgeable assessment of their own team.

    These guys get paid for eyeballs looking at their ‘analysis’, not for accuracy. As often as not those eyeballs are rolling after reading their articles.

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