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Indiana football 2023 position preview: Offensive line

A new coach should have some immediate impact.

Indiana v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

We’re onto arguably the biggest piece of Indiana football’s puzzle.

We can’t really preview this year’s group without a bit of a broad expository. For the better part of the past three to four years, Indiana’s offensive line has deteriorated. It can’t all be blamed on recruiting either, the guys who’ve been brought in have had some potential that was just never realized.

That is a massive part of why Indiana finds itself here, having won just four games in two years after one of the greatest seasons in program history back in 2020. The Hoosiers’ Heisman-caliber quarterback of that era is slinging the rock in the Pacific Northwest now.

In order to win or even just be a bit consistent in college football, especially in the Big Ten, a developed offensive line is an absolute must. It’s a team’s foundation. The types of plays you call and general flexibility comes down to who wins at the line of scrimmage.

And there’s no quick fix. You can’t just retool the line through a single transfer portal cycle like you can with a running backs room or a new quarterback. It’s about signing the right kind of talent and developing it within the system. Indiana has faltered at both.

Darren Hiller was fired mid-season last year for a reason. His replacement, Bob Bostad, should in theory be able to make some improvements in year one, but the road back to a truly serviceable Big Ten offensive line is a long one that Indiana can’t really afford.

That being said, let’s get into this year’s group.

Worth noting we haven’t had a chance to watch these guys or talk to Bostad yet this season. That’ll change in fall camp, just a note that this is all speculative. Someone could emerge that we just don’t know about right now.


  • Zach Carpenter
  • Mike Katic
  • Max Longman
  • Matthew Bedford


  • Cameron Knight
  • Kahlil Benson


  • Vinny Fiacable
  • Joshua Sales Jr.
  • Cooper Jones
  • Noah Bolticoff


  • Jack Greer
  • Carter Smith
  • DJ Moore
  • Bray Lynch
  • William Larkins (true)

Larkins is the group’s only true freshman, he almost certainly won’t see the field during his first year in Bloomington. There’s just way too much ahead of him.

There’s enough starting experience in the room right now to feel decent, at least, that Indiana’s starting line will know what they’re up against in the league. You can pretty much pencil in Carpenter, Katic and Bedford as starters.

Carpenter will likely start at center as he did for the majority of last year when he wasn’t injured. Katic took over for him, moving from his usual spot at left guard, where he’ll likely start again.

Barring an emergence from one of the younger members of the group, Indiana may bet on experience at left tackle with Matthew Bedford, who’s entering his fifth year in Bloomington with starts everywhere on the line except for center.

Bedford and Katic on the left would shore up the quarterback’s blindside with plenty of experience. The right half of the line could get interesting.

Right guard is probably Kahlil Benson’s job to lose. He was contending with Tim Weaver for snaps last year, but eventually took over the spot by the time the regular season ended. On top of that, Weaver is gone.

At right tackle, there’s some experience in Joshua Sales, who got the start against Purdue to close out the year after some inconsistent snaps throughout the regular season. Indiana had to turn to Parker Hanna without Bedford last year, which didn’t end well for anyone.

Carter Smith logged a few snaps at RT against Ohio State and Michigan State, so he could emerge as a potential starter or depth piece, but it feels like it’s Sales’ spot for now.

Here’s what that looks like:

LT: Matthew Bedford

LG: Mike Katic

C: Zach Carpenter

RG: Kahlil Benson

RT: Joshua Sales

This is pretty much the line from last season’s loss to Purdue, only Bedford replaces Haggard at LT. Things could change though, as we said above.

A redshirt freshman/sophomore could break out, Bostad may see the line differently than Hiller or interim OL coach Rod Carey did last year. The last time he addressed the media he’d literally just gotten to town and was still getting into the program.

We’ll know more about that when camp rolls around in a couple weeks. Until then, this is our best guess.

This line is fine on paper, it was able to do enough in the first half against Purdue with Dexter Williams II in at quarterback. An offseason of work with Bostad should make it a bit better.