clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Indiana football: post-spring ball roundtable

The Crimson Quarry staff discusses the Hoosiers’ upcoming season with some too-early predictions.

NCAA Football: Indiana at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Micah McFadden was drafted by the Giants and the Hoosiers had multiple UDFAs. What does their future look like?

LCN:

Micah McFadden has both the work ethic and football IQ to carve out a role in the NFL. I don’t necessarily think he’ll burst onto the scene, but he should be able to make it.

As for the others, it’ll be a mixed bag for sure. Nick Westbrook-Ikhine is a fantastic example of an Indiana talent going from undrafted to being a staple in Tennessee, but I’m not sure how much staying power this class will have. Ryder Anderson could find a role, Ty Fryfogle could follow Westbrook-Ikine’s model in Dallas, but I’m not entirely sure about the others.

Colin:

I have no doubt that the guy who went from a three-star recruit to being selected in the NFL draft will maximize whatever opportunity he has to earn a starting spot. I think anyone who watched him last year would be happy to have him on their favorite pro team, but I’m happy he will avoid the unmitigated disaster that is the Chicago Bears.

Big picture, it’s good to see the program continue to send players the league, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Nearly all of the pros from the Kevin WIlson era were on the offensive side of the ball, with Tegray Scales being the only current Hoosier from that era in the NFL who plays defense

What’s your too-early record prediction for Indiana’s 2022 season?

LCN:

I do not expect this season to go well. It’ll be a period of transition for the team, and those don’t tend to be all that pretty.

Idaho at home *should* be a safe win, as should a Western Kentucky team that is now missing Bailey Zappe and Zach Kittley. The rest of the schedule is murky. Illinois is probably the weakest Big Ten team on the schedule, but I’m not confident that’s a win. Indiana won’t be able to take out any of the traditional Big Ten East powers like Ohio State, Michigan or Michigan State, and games against Rutgers and Maryland will likely be more competitive than they’ve been in pre-2021 seasons. And while Nebraska is also not good, I think they’re in a better spot right now than Indiana for this matchup at least.

I wouldn’t be surprised at a mark of 3-9 or 4-8.

Colin:

Um… I cannot say I am excited to watch the 2022 edition of Indiana football. Looking at the schedule, I see probably 3 safe wins against Illinois (I will regret typing this), Idaho, and Western Kentucky. After last year’s near loss to Western Kentucky, I only really feel okay about that one since it will be at home, but I also wouldn’t blame the crowd in Bloomington for being a bit apathetic this year.

What are your biggest concerns for this year?

LCN:

The offensive line.

Indiana’s season, and its future success, will all depend on how it builds its offensive line. It’s deteriorated the past few years, rendering Indiana’s passing game a non-factor in 2021 and leaving the running backs without solid rooms for runs.

There was only one memorable run play from last season, and it came against Maryland. Outside of freshmen, Indiana hasn’t done much to add to the room this season and has only lost former starting tackle Caleb Jones. On paper, it should still be an issue. You cannot win in the Big Ten without a substantial offensive line. That’s partially how P.J. Fleck burst onto the scene.

The Hoosiers need it fixed yesterday.

Colin:

The offense. There’s reason to believe that Darren Hiller was at least as culpable for last year’s abomination, and he’s still on the staff. Walt Bell was not exactly the most exciting hire to replace Nick Sheridan either, and losing Deland McCullough will not make it easier for him to adjust to the Big Ten East.

I’m also nervous about Tom Allen reassuming the dual role of head coach and defensive play caller. Allen was the defensive coordinator/head coach for the worst season of IU’s defense under his tenure in 2018, so I don’t know why he’s going back to that model.

What are you looking forward to for this season?

LCN:

I think the quarterback battle should be interesting.

Connor Bazelak is a former SEC Freshman of the Year (where, as you’ve heard, it just means more), Jack Tuttle has been around the program the longest and Donaven McCulley has had a year to develop.

They just need an offensive line that gives them the time to work.

Colin:

It’ll be fun to see Dasan McCullough, the highest ranked recruit in program history, take the field for the Hoosiers. The quarterback group also has a little more depth than usual with Donaven McCulley and Jack Tuttle hopefully challenging Connor Bazelak in practices. I’m also intrigued by Shaun Shivers, who should bring some speed and explosiveness than Indiana’s had in the last few years.