Tevin Coleman is terrifying. Indiana's quarterback situation sans injured starter Nate Sudfeld is, too, but for the Hoosiers, not opposing defenses.
I guess you can read on, but add in "they go fast" and there's your scouting report in a nutshell.
Personnel. The diagram, via Seth [click to embiggen]:
Quarterback Nate Sudfeld injured his shoulder early in the second quarter of the Iowa game; he's out for the year, and after true freshman Chris Covington struggled mightily in his stead—3/12, 31 yards, 2 INTs against the Hawkeyes—they lifted a redshirt off two-star true freshman Zander Diamont. Diamont couldn't do a thing the next week against Michigan State—5/15, 11 yards—but he's coming off a bye week and should be more prepared to at least provide a vague threat of the pass this weekend.
Spread, Pro-Style, or Hybrid? Very spread. I charted the first half of the Iowa game; the only Hoosier snap from under center came when they hurried to the line for a 4th-and-1 QB sneak.
Basketball on Grass or MANBALL? IU mostly runs zone blocking concepts, letting Tevin Coleman pick a gap and go hard upfield.
Hurry it up or grind it out? Ludicrous speed, though that might slow down a bit with a true freshman taking the snaps.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the breakdown.]
Quarterback Dilithium Level (Scale: 1 [Navarre] to 10 [Denard]): Diamont is not much of a threat on the ground, though he did manage to scamper nine yards for a touchdown against State on a zone read; can't say I blame MSU for overplaying Coleman there. I'll give Diamont a 5.
Dangerman: Tevin Coleman might very well be the best back in the conference, and yes, I'm quite aware of the existence of Ameer Abdullah and Melvin Gordon. His numbers through seven games: 135 carries, 1192 yards (8.8 YPC), 11 TDs, 13 carries of 20+ yards, plus 17 receptions for 140 yards for good measure. He's rushed for at least 122 yards in every game this year. This on an offense that lost almost its entire receiving corps from last year, lost co-starting QB Tre Roberson to a transfer, and has played the last 1.5+ games with one helpless true freshman or another at QB. If you're going to have a one-man offense, you can do far, far worse than this.
Zook Factor: Nope.
HenneChart: No chart this week, since I don't need to watch the film again to say that Diamont struggled mightily against Michigan State, and he'll have to play way better to be effective even against a worse defense. Instead, I watched the Iowa game to get a feel for IU's playcalling before and after Sudfeld's injury—and, admittedly, because I really didn't need to see more Michigan State football this week.
Charting ceased after the first half because this week has been pretty crazy. The picture is pretty clear regardless. Yes, it's a spread...
...and, yes, even before Sudfeld went down, they tended to go run-run-pass:
Indiana was even more conservative on early downs than that chart makes it appear, as a few of those play-action passes were bubble screens; just about all of their inside zone action is paired with a bubble read—and they've got a couple variations, as you'll see in the play breakdown.
The Hoosier offense without Sudfeld can essentially be boiled down to two plays. Here's the first, a relatively ineffective inside run on first down in which the line has trouble moving anyone off the ball:
That happened quite a bit. Indiana's line is experienced and agile, but not particularly strong; while they're not blowing assignments, they're also not blowing D-linemen off the line of scrimmage. Get the line and Coleman in space, however, as Indiana did on the very next play, and...
That outside zone pitch was blocked beautifully; Coleman's second long touchdown, a mere 45-yarder, occurred on a power run from the shotgun that he adeptly bounced outside. Coleman is plenty dangerous between the tackles, but outside of them he might be the best runner in the country—remember, he led the nation last year in the highlight yards metric with a mark 40% better than second place, which is astounding. The front seven is getting a hell of a test, because if Indiana's O-line gets Coleman to the second level, he's better than anyone else at taking care of the rest.
The receiving corps is led by last year's dangerous slot bug, 5'7" Shane Wynn, who now plays as much on the outside as he does in the slot. Mostly used on screens last season, Wynn has become much more of a downfield threat, averaging nearly 16 yards per catch; he had a 62-yard catch-and-run on a deep crossing route against Iowa when Sudfeld bought a little time off a play-action fake—Iowa's Desmond King, no athletic slouch, didn't have the wheels to stay with Wynn in the open field. Of note: Wynn dropped a perfectly thrown, wide open would-be touchdown against Iowa, though for the most part this year he's displayed sure hands.
The other receivers don't appear to be major threats, especially with Sudfeld either; neither outside receiver Nick Stoner nor slot J-Shun Harris have cracked ten YPC this season, and they've combined for three catches for nine yards over the last two games. Harris got an early bubble screen that went for a loss against the Hawkeyes; Stoner scored a touchdown on his lone catch, which sets up a segue to the...
...damn, I'm good.
IU stacked their receivers on the outside quite a bit, allowing one a free release in addition to providing an easy throw for bubble screens. They mostly went to this on third downs when expecting Iowa to blitz—the stack helps free receivers against man coverage—but here they break it out on first down inside the red zone.
Especially with two TEs on the field, Iowa has to respect the run, so it comes as little surprise that nearly every defender has his eyes in the backfield when Sudfeld and Coleman hit the mesh point here; meanwhile, Wynn flares out for a bubble screen:
As Sudfeld pulls the ball out and looks to Wynn, the slot corner for Iowa goes hard after the bubble screen, while the outside corner is still peeking into the backfield:
He pays for his curiosity. Between the frame above and the frame below, Sudfeld pump-fakes the bubble screen, and both Iowa defenders to the bottom of the screen bug out for Wynn:
You might notice Nick Stoner slipping between the two defenders. Iowa did not.
Yeah, he's pretty open.
I think Zander Diamont can make that throw.