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SPRING FOOTBALL: Five things to watch for as the Hoosiers hit the field

Indiana football is back on the practice field this morning. Here's what you need to keep an eye on this spring.

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Let's talk about something besides basketball for a bit, yeah?

Kevin Wilson has his SEC EAST CHAMPIONS (no, we're not gonna let that go, sorry) back on the field this morning between 17th and the bypass, with an eye towards the squad's cream and crimson game on April 18. Since this is Indiana, and y'all have probably forgotten everything relevant about football over the course of the last couple months -- let's refresh your mind with five things to keep an eye on as the Hoosiers throw on the helmets this morning.


What's the easiest way to replace the nation's 2nd-leading rusher? Bring in the nation's 14th-best rusher. Under less-than-ideal circumstances, Indiana might have the replacement they'll need for the running game in UAB junior transfer Jordan Howard. Howard ran for 1,587 yards on 303 carries last year in Birmingham, averaging a clip of nearly 5.2 yards a carry. That's hardly something to shake a stick at, but Hoosier fans will be wondering if that production can translate from C-USA to the B1G. If not, guys like Devine Redding and redshirt freshman Tommy Mister could be there to slide into Coleman's big shoes.


This is my slightly-weird, big hot-take for Indiana football in 2015: National folks are going to know the name Camion Patrick by the time the season's over. He's a big, physical JUCO receiver that fell to the Hoosiers when he likely got squeezed out of a scholarship by late signing day moves by his hometown Tennessee. The Vols' loss is Kevin Wilson's gain. His tape is worth a watch -- and you'll see flashes that remind you of Cody Latimer &  Auburn's Duke Williams. Pair Patrick up with another UAB transfer in Marqui Hawkins, Dominique Booth & J-Shun Harris on the outside and Indiana's receiving corps should be much improved from the struggles of 2015.


After the injury tumult of 2014, Nate Sudfeld should be back and fully healthy to take snaps for his senior season. His season-ending separated shoulder suffered in the Iowa game last year was, luckily, to his non-throwing shoulder and is seemingly healthy -- the dude spent spring break on a mission trip to Uganda. And that super #highcharacter #leadership #grit stuff will matter this season, because NFL SCOUTS. They'll likely be swimming around Bloomington all year, as Sudfeld's listed as generally the sixth-best quarterback prospect that will be coming out after the season. And that position is likely to rise, too, as Sudfeld proves himself coming off of injury. It's a weak quarterback class next season, too. Connor Cook is listed as the top available prosp-hahahhahahahahahhahahahahhahahah




*takes deep breath*



Let's move on.

WHO'S #2?

Conventional wisdom would think that Kevin Wilson will have an eye to the future throughout 2015 -- preparing for the loss of Sudfeld in the following season. So who's in line to work as his backup and position themselves to take the reigns of the program in 2016? Most will immediately point to Zander Diamont, who filled in admirably in a less-than-ideal, baptism-by-fire situation in 2015. But Diamont was originally slated to redshirt last season, and it's reasonable to think Wilson may want to sit him for season -- preserving three years of eligibility if MR. HOT SEX is the program's heir to be. Wilson's already said Chris Covington will be limited early coming off ACL surgery, so it might prove an opportunity for true freshman Austin King to work his way into the backup role if Diamont elects to redshirt.


Indiana's defense made huge strides in Brian Knorr's first year in Bloomington. How will that continue in year two? Kevin Wilson has already noted freshman linebacker Tegray Scales' improvement and strength gains in the offfseason. They'll need to replace the production and lane-clogging ability of Bobby Richardson -- who'll likely be a 4th-6th round pick in this spring's NFL Draft.

Indiana's "Cream and Crimson" spring game will be April 18 at Memorial Stadium. Tickets are available