No. 85 Indiana
Indiana will aim for a third-straight six-win season with a new head coach, new offensive coordinator, mistake-prone senior quarterback, rebuilt offensive line and dramatically improved defense. And there will be no time to work through the kinks as they dive into a brutal 2017 schedule with a season opener against Ohio State.
2016 Record: 6-7 (4-5, Big Ten)
Indiana won six games in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1993-94 but it wasn't enough for Kevin Wilson to keep his job.
The Hoosiers lost five games by 10 points or less, including 27-22 vs. Nebraska, 20-10 vs. Michigan and 26-24 vs. Utah in the Foster Farms Bowl. They also led Penn State in the fourth quarter before the Nittany Lions scored the final 17 points.
This is a dangerous game to play but it fits for Kevin Wilson: A few more bounces and he's still the head coach.
Head Coach: Tom Allen (1st year)
After one season as Kevin Wilson's defensive coordinator, Tom Allen was promoted to head coach in January. An Indiana native and IU alum, Allen is a former Indianapolis high school coach who slowly rose the ranks to Power Five head coach.
"I've had so many people come up to me in so many places and say, 'I've been an Indiana basketball fan all my whole life, but now I'm going to be an Indiana football fan, too, after hearing (you)," Allen said in May. "That's a part of getting people to come and watch us play."
The first-time FBS head coach led the Hoosiers during their bowl loss.
Key Returning Offensive Players
Veteran coordinator Mike DeBord arrived from Tennessee and must develop senior Richard Lagow into a more calculated, responsible quarterback. The 6-foot-6, 240-pounder completed 58 percent of his passes for 19 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.
Lagow threw a combined seven picks in five-point losses to Wake Forest and Nebraska, routinely throwing into double and triple coverage when when he had plenty of time. The senior needs a fast start to avoid DeBord going to redshirt freshman Peyton Ramsey.
Lagow lost 1,100-yard rusher Devine Redding and his second- and third-leading receivers but does return Nick Westbrook, a junior who exploded for 54 catches, 995 yards and six touchdowns. Westbrook will be flanked by Luke Timian and Simmie Cobbs. Cobbs missed all of 2016 with injury.
Sophomore Coy Cronk is blossoming into an elite tackle and may join Dan Feeney and Jason Spriggs in the NFL soon. Guard Wes Martin is the only other returning starter on the offensive line.
Key Returning Defensive Players
Nine starters return from a unit that took huge strides under Allen in 2016, going from the league's worst defense to a respectable one.
Junior defensive end Nile Sykes is a breakout candidate after registering seven tackles for loss and five sacks in his first meaningful playing time last year. He had three tackles for loss and two sacks against Northwestern and must spearhead an inconsistent edge-rushing attack.
Hoff and Robinson will stabilize a decent run defense (160.4 yards per game), as will tackling machine Tegray Scales. A fringe First-Team All-American candidate, Scales had 125 tackles, 24 tackles for loss, seven sacks and one interception. The senior will assume the leadership role of departed Marcus Oliver.
“If you don’t speak a lot, when you do speak, everyone hears it. So he sets the tone for everyone,” said linebackers coach William Inge. “When he does speak, he says exactly what you want him to say.”
Marcelino Ball returns in a hybrid linebacker/safety role, and four talented defensive backs are back from a much-improved pass defense. A'Shon Riggins had nine passes defended as a freshman.
Notable Player Losses
Jones and Paige combined for 222 receptions, 3,084 yards and 18 touchdowns the last two seasons, and All-American guard Dan Feeney is in the NFL after a superb four-year career that included two All-American selections.
Defensively, the Hoosiers will miss defensive tackle Ralph Green after the big man recorded 9.5 tackles for loss in 2016, and linebacker Marcus Oliver.
Notable Player Additions
QB Peyton Ramsey, LB Mike McGinnis
Freshman Peyton Ramsey was lauded for his play this spring, particularly from the man who's trying to unseat him.
“I think Peyton’s doing an amazing job,” Lagow said of the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Cincinnati native. “You saw it tonight. He’s able to make plays, he’s athletic, he’s smart, he takes care of the football.”
McGinnis, a three-star JUCO transfer, sits behind a senior-laden linebacker group but could see early time on special teams and earn playing time.
Welcome to the big leagues Tom Allen, now go beat Ohio State. The Hoosiers' difficult Big Ten slate kicks off in Week 1 with a home game against the playoff-contending Buckeyes.
|Thursday, Aug. 31
|vs. Ohio State
|Saturday, Sept. 9
|Saturday, Sept. 16
|Saturday, Sept. 23
|vs. Georgia Southern
|Saturday, Sept. 30
|at Penn State
|Saturday, Oct. 14
|Saturday, Oct. 21
|at Michigan State
|Saturday, Oct. 28
|Saturday, Nov. 4
|Saturday, Nov. 11
|Saturday, Nov. 18
|Saturday, Nov. 25