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Indiana football mailbag: Week 2 vs. Idaho

You asked, we answered.

NCAA Football: Illinois at Indiana Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the first Crimson Quarry Indiana football mailbag of the 2022 season.

We’ll be looking to do these on a weekly basis moving forward, so make sure to pay attention to our Twitter account for the announcement.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

1. Raising Cane’s

Raising Cane’s has beenan established treasure among those in the IU Sports Media community for quite a while.

Students hailing from the Kentuckiana area (or somewhere else that has Cane’s I guess) passed on the knowledge of Cane’s to the new generation, who kept the dream of a Bloomington Cane’s location alive and just about posted this one into existence.

It’ll see a lot of traffic, that’s for sure, but I’ll always recommend local if you can swing it.

2. AJ Barner

Barner is definitely a guy who can go up and get it, but I’d say that spot will likely be more matchup-dependent this season. When you consider the loss of Matt Bedford, I wouldn’t be shocked if they use Barner’s size and solid abilities as a blocker more than sending him out as a receiver.

3. Indiana’s long-term outlook

As for this season, confidence will be huge if they can get on a winning streak early. That’s why Illinois was such a huge game, lose that and come out slow in the next few weeks and the season might’ve felt over before it even really began.

On a long-term basis, the answer is absolutely talent. Don’t underestimate what confidence can do for a team, but you’re gonna have to compete with incredibly talented rosters at schools like Wisconsin, Nebraska (yes, really), Penn State and Michigan State while also needing to show *something* against rosters like those of Michigan and Ohio State, which has been relying on offensive talent more than just about anything under Ryan Day.

You don’t have to be as talented as those guys because that’s not entirely feasible, but you need to have enough to compete with confidence at your back.

4. Tiawan Mullen

Per PFF, Tiawan Mullen allowed two receptions on four targets for a total of 12 yards.

5. Jaylin Lucas

PFF’s got nothing on Lucas.

I also went to his IU bio to double-check and saw he was born in 2004, so thank you for making me feel old.

6. Greg Frey

Interestingly enough, it looks like Frey has joined Kane Wommack’s staff at South Alabama as a defensive analyst.

7. Analytics

There’s the advanced stats over at PFF if you want a better idea of Indiana’s offensive line play/specific stats since those aren’t really logged in a traditional box score.

I’d pay attention to the specifics of that but also stress the importance of context (i.e. Indiana knew they weren’t gonna be able to run the ball and won without doing so).

8. WKU and Rutgers

Yes to both.

Indiana has a home advantage against WKU and the Hilltoppers lost both their excellent quarterback and wizard playcaller. Indiana should be fine.

Rutgers is more of a mystery. A narrow win over Boston College didn’t tell us much but they should be beatable for Indiana. As always, just keep an eye on line play.

9. The Offensive Line

Okay so like a million of you have asked about the line so I’m just gonna bullet point some answers here.

  • It would be very difficult for the line to improve throughout the season, especially if injuries continue. Indiana’s just gotta learn to work with what it’s got.
  • That being said, Indiana’s line has gotta show some tangible improvement this season. You’ve seen a bit of that in Luke Haggard putting together a good game at tackle, but I think that’s what it’d take for the line coach’s job to remain his.
  • You simply need a good offensive line to win Big Ten football games. That’s how the league works and you can either play that game or get worked. It’s a winning method for programs like Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa and more.