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Indiana football: Reasons for optimism in 2023

What do the Hoosiers have to look forward to?

Syndication: The Herald-Times Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times / USA TODAY NETWORK

After a combined record of 6-18 since its historic run to the Top-10 of just about every major poll in 2020, it’s understandably difficult for many Indiana fans to get excited for the coming 2023 season.

Apathy is a terrible thing for a college football program and the Hoosiers have found themselves at its doorstep, if they aren’t already fully there. There do exist a few potential bright spots that we’ve decided to highlight in conjunction with reasons to have some pause this year at the state of the program.

Here’s a few things to look forward to for Indiana football in 2023:

Jaylin Lucas should be fun

Syndication: The Herald-Times Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times / USA TODAY NETWORK

Arguably the best kick returner in college football plays for the Hoosiers. Jaylin Lucas was an All-American for his ability to take a kick to the house back in 2022, now he as a year of experience for an even greater role in the offense.

He’s small, both in height and weight, which could cause some injury concerns. Indiana has an internal snap count for him as a result, which Tom Allen mentioned back at Big Ten Media Days.

Expect him to be used out of the backfield to run the ball and as a receiver. He’ll also probably end up lining up out wide to take the top off of a defense. He’ll be valuable as a decoy in Walt Bell’s offense.

He’s a highlight reel play just waiting to happen.

They could have Something at quarterback?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: APR 15 Indiana Scrimmage Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The decision to start Connor Bazelak just grows more puzzling over time. It got even more confusing when it became evident how much a mobile quarterback could do in Bell’s offense when Indiana opted for Dexter Williams II.

Now Indiana is openly seeking further mobility at quarterback and the two contenders for the job, Tayven Jackson and Brendan Sorsby, both bring some of that to the table. Jackson operated as more of a dropback passer than Sorsby at the high school level, so it’ll be interesting to see what the staff goes for at the position.

Tom Allen took our advice!

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: APR 15 Indiana Scrimmage Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

I’m not saying that Tom Allen handed off defensive play calling duties after reading the CQ column about it but those are two things that have happened.

It’s always a lot to ask for a coach to both run a program and run an entire side of the ball. That doesn’t usually work out all that well. Again, not that Allen is a bad playcaller, it’s just that he has way too many other things to focus on.

Enter Matt Guerrieri, a new hire that Allen had the confidence in to hand over play calling duties. He’ll run the defense alongside Chad Wilt, last season’s defensive coordinator.

Looking to rebound from the past two years, Allen just has too much on his plate. This’ll take some of the load off but there could be some growing pains as there were with Kane Wommack before he turned out to be a wizard.