In exactly one week, we’ll be strapped back in on America’s Favorite Carnival Ride That Has Failed Inspection In At Least Three Contiguous States But Not This One. That’s right. INDIANA FOOTBALL IS BACK BABY.
Ahead of wishing to strap ourselves to a rocket bound for the sun at some point in a mid-October Saturday afternoon, let’s chat about the most important five questions that need to be answered between now and uh, well, whenever this thing happens again.
HEY HI HOWDY, WE SHOULD PROBABLY PICK A QUARTERBACK, NOW SHOULDN’T WE?
Roughly every two year
This is Indiana football, after all, and Indiana football prefers to keep a wild number of permutations by which it can kill you. 1001 WAYS TO DIE, BUT THE 5-7 COLLEGE FOOTBALL VERSION.
Anyway, you’ve seen this movie before. It usually goes as such:
- Indiana coaching staff plays coy about the starter for weeks
- Finally makes the most uninspiring choice possible before Game 1
- Game 1 is spent clawing back from a 6-point deficit to a directional Illinois or Kentucky, or perhaps NICHOLLS STATE
- Limp through first couple weeks, finally reverse course and pick correct starter once 2-2.
This was Roberson & Coffman, before it was Powers, before it was TOMMY F****** JONES. The logical progression of such leads one to the belief we’re destined for another year of Peyton Ramsey, 17-25, 183 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT. Hell is dark and hot.
Signs seem to be pointing to Mike Penix getting Week 1 snaps in Indy, which is good and fun, because he’s [whispering] probably Indiana’s best quarterback talent since Antwaan.
HEY SPEAKING OF THAT, LOOKS LIKE KALEN DEBOER’S OFFENSE IS BIG FUN. WILL THAT TRANSLATE TO THE BIG TEN?
There have been a potpourri of DeBoer offensive GIFs on my desktop for months, and for good reason. This is man that took Fresno State from the cellar to very, very solid in Offensive S&P in two seasons flat. Debord is gone, long live DeBoer.
He’s got weapons, too. Outside of Penix, Indiana brings back Stevie Scott, Nick Westbrook, Whop Philyor, among others. Now add in freshmen studs that are expected to play in the backfield like Sampson James and WHEEEEE MISDIRECTIONAL FUN OFFENSE BACK.
Think if you mixed up some good parts of Kevin Wilson’s scheme, some good parts of Matt Canada’s scheme, and actually made the guy LIKEABLE. That’s Kalen DeBoer. We’re going to have fun.
HMMMM SCHEDULE IS AS GOOD AS IT’S GONNA BE. CAN INDIANA TAKE ADVANTAGE AND FINALLY GET THE BIG ONE?
The definition of insanity, etc, and so on. The stage directions ask you to read the next paragraph in Larry Poff voice, with no less than one Michelob Ultra within your reach.
Two factors work actively against Indiana football becoming something greater than the bizzaro-world funhouse of 5-6 wins it is today. One is the actual act of football — the scheme, the player development, the recruiting, talent level, etc. In coach speak, one might call that CONTROLLING THE CONTROLLABLES or whatever.
But it’s the second that cements Indiana football where it is more often — where it chooses to play football. As long as Indiana occupies a division with Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State, and Penn State, the margin for error at a program that’s trying to climb upward out of the historical celler is slim to none, and slim’s never been in the building.
That’s the fun thing. Indiana can’t just be pretty good for an Indiana team. It has to first be pretty good for an Indiana team, and catching a break in the form of a schedule.
Congrats. This year, you’ve got it.
Ohio State and Michigan at home. A meh Michigan State and Penn State on the road.
Take one of the big four and it’s probably a success of a season.
Take two? That’s #9WINDIANA.
IS TOM ALLEN ON THE HOT SEAT?
WHAT WILL KANE WOMMACK’S FIRST DEFENSE LOOK LIKE?
Perhaps the most notable coaching move, beyond DeBoer’s hire, is Tom Allen’s choice to step away from calling the defensive schema himself. He’s tapped in Kane Wommack, who joined the program as linebackers coach, to now prep the defensive gameplan. Yes, that’s Dave Wommack’s son. Yes, I’m also amused that someone looked at the 2014 Ole Miss football program and said YES GIVE ME THAT ENTIRE THING, ALL OF IT, IMMEDIATELY.
But, yeah, Wommack hasn’t called a defense save for a season or two at South Alabama. And he’ll be a bit short on experience in the linebacking core, though he’ll have athletes. By all accounts, it’ll be Raekwon Jones, Cam Jones, and Thomas Allen across the middle. Expect a big impact from both Jones’, and expect lots and lots of play-by-play dudes to LOVE Thomas Allen’s GRIT and PASSION and HEAD FOR THE GAME as a COACH’S SON.