Indiana linebacker Tegray Scales makes an interception against Western Kentucky in 2015. (Jeremy Hogan | Herald-Times)

4 storylines for IU’s game at Florida International #iufb

1. Could IU’s running backs shoulder a greater work load?

He has what could be one of the top offensive lines in the nation, and Indiana coach Kevin Wilson is likely to put those big guys to work against FIU. The Panthers are replacing three of their four starters on the defensive line, a group that wasn’t all that impressive to begin with in 2015. Playing at the Conference USA level, FIU allowed 4.6 yards per carry with a rush defense that ranked No. 83 in the nation. At the beginning of the season, it takes time for an offensive line to develop cohesion. That’s true every year. But Indiana has experience and depth that’s able to rotate across all five spots, not to mention a big body tight end like Danny Friend to assist. While the Hoosiers break in new quarterback Richard Lagow, it’ll be a prime opportunity to evaluate a running back group that goes seven men deep.

2. How does Richard Lagow look when the lights come on?

Should the Hoosiers indeed put their backfield front and center, Lagow will need to be sharp to keep FIU honest. Behind the scenes, Lagow has received the bulk of the reps at quarterback since the second week of fall camp. He’s flashed a strong arm and the ability to put touch on his deep passes, qualities that compare favorably to his predecessor. When the Hoosiers do decide to air it out, Lagow will have the safety net of a deep and experienced receiving group to lean on. Should he struggle, it’ll be interesting to see how much patience Wilson has, given the trio of options behind Lagow. In addition to backups Danny Cameron and Zander Diamont, redshirt freshman Austin King also traveled with the team.

3. Which players, if any, will be unavailable?

Save for Camion Patrick, J-Shun Harris and Robert McCray, Wilson reported no new, significant injuries entering game week. Receivier Simmie Cobbs suffered a minor hamstring injury late in fall camp, but returned to running late last week. Hybrid safety Jayme Thompson dealt with an injury for much of the month of August, but Wilson says he’s nearing a return. Prior to last season’s opener, Indiana announced suspensions for nine players. Asked Friday whether another batch of players would miss the opener due to off-season infractions, Wilson said a decision had not been made.

4. How does Tom Allen’s defense handle FIU’s skill guys?

The Hoosiers’ inability to make consistent tackles cost them last season against the Panthers. Those missed tackles and the general inexperience of IU’s secondary helped FIU quarterback Alex McGough post a solid passing night. He found receiver Thomas Owens nine times for 166 yards and two scores, and also hooked up with standout tight end Jonnu Smith a handful of times for 25 yards. All three of those players are back this season, ready to put Allen’s 4-2-5 defense to the test.