Revenge Tour: Basketball Edition
I respect Indiana. When we talk about the vast ethical shortcomings of our division rivals, Indiana is our version of nisi Vanderbiltum. Kevin Wilson, their best hire since Mallory, built a modern, terrifying stretch zone & bomb machine that tore up Michigan's 2015 defense on the ground. And IU fired him immediately when concerns surfaced about player safety in Wilson's tough-guy program culture, despite what that would mean from a competitive standpoint.
Indiana also took the extra, and unnecessary, step of hiring Mike DeBord to run their offense.
Tell me that's not how every college football program ought to act?
The film: I tried to choose another defense with linebackers athletic enough to try to man up IU's slot receivers and pressure the quarterback, since so many IU opponents this year were content to sit back and let sophomore QB Peyton Ramsey pick away. I had to go back to early October, but I found a ranked Big Ten East matchup with some team Michigan hasn't played. This game ended 26-49 but competitive until well into the 4th quarter. In fact IU's kicker missed a 50-yard field goal at the end of the 3rd that would have put the Hoosiers within 6 points, ground that might have been covered by any of several wide open bombs that Ramsey overthrew. It got away from them in the end, but still, IU got to run their offense in a hostile environment against a team that likes to blitz, and that's why I chose this game. Why, what reason did you think?
Personnel: Bad news guys: No Whop.
The roster is very spread and features the slot receivers in hopes of running them into space for YAC. Slot Luke Timian, the multi-transfer walk-on, missed this game, however he was legitimately ahead of name-fave Whop Philyor before the latter lost most of this year to a high ankle sprain. Whop's role has been filled by J-Shun Harris, the exciting little bugger who's spent most of the last four years recovering from his own ailments, plus freshman ATH Taylor Reese, and the rest of the RB depth chart he's shared with. All of these guys have more targets than Grant Perry.
The OL are mostly Frey recruits who barely crested 300; C Nick Linder grad transferred from Miami (yes THAT Miami) and took over midseason from (and still cedes snaps to) last year's starting C Hunter Littlejohn. Littlejohn is vastly more likely to screw up his assignment, but Linder seems much more likely to screw up everyone else's. RT Brandon Knight and LG Wes Martin are good pass blockers. RG Simon Stepaniak is more volatile. LT Coy Cronk has been starting since he was a true freshman, and got worked like one even with plenty of RB and TE help. That may have been a result of going against an excellent young DE the announcers liked whose name was Chase, but if Cronk's weakness is all-conference-ish edge rushers named Chase I've got bad news for him this week. Cronk's also had a hard time staying healthy. IU tried Stepaniak, then a backup guard, then a 6-8 freshman when
WR Nick Westbrook is a major threat because he can adjust so well to deep balls; fellow experienced WR Donavan Hale does not, and is in the process of getting passed by the kid, WR Ty Fryfogle, an underrated athlete and ultra-rare escapee from the black hole of Mississippi. Tight ends are non-blocking, bigged-up WR types; freshman Peyton Hendershot will chunk you on a seam route once a game but TE Austin Dorris is just a short range guy. The slots are the main method of moving the ball.
Nominal running backs are just that, except the 20% of the time that they're slot receivers. With Morgan Ellison out all year large freshman RB Stevie Scott gets most of their carries; top backup RB Mike Majette is a 3rd down specialist with more receptions than handoffs. 3rd stringer RB Ronnie Walker, another freshman, has just 12 touches in the last five weeks.
[the rest of the breakdown, after THE JUMP]