Indiana came extraordinarily close to finally pulling off the upset of Penn State. But somehow the 0-14 record against the Nittany Lions was extended to 0-15. It was just that kind of year for the Hoosiers. Looking ahead to this spring, it's tough not to say Indiana is looking up. But when your team is two levels below the basement, up is really the only direction to go. Here is our penultimate opponent on Penn State's 2012 regular season schedule: The Indiana Hoosiers.
Where they call home: Bloomington, Indiana
Endless running begins/ends: March 3 / April 14 Spring Game
If they suck, this guy gets fired: Kevin Wilson
Kevin Wilson came to Indiana after working as Oklahoma's offensive coordinator. He was quite successful in Norman, but had a tough job ahead at his new school. Many questioned Indiana's choice of yet another offensive guru to be the next head coach, since the offense has at least periodically been decent for the Hoosiers. It's the defense that has pretty much always been terrible. Things probably won't change much in year two of Wilson's tenure. Despite a decent recruiting class and an influx of junior college talent, it could be tough sledding for a team that just wasn't all that competitive even on its best days.
More specifics below the fold...
|More 2012 Spring Snapshots|
|Ohio Bobcats - 3.12.12|
|Virginia Cavaliers - 3.13.12|
|Temple Owls - 3.15.12|
|Illinois Fighting Illini - 3.19.12|
|Northwestern Wildcats - 3.20.12|
|Iowa Hawkeyes - 3.21.12|
What they return...
The offense has a few key players to rely on once again this year, mainly in quarterback Tre Roberson and running back Stephen Houston. Roberson took over mid-season as starter, playing well considering he was just a freshman. He will have time this spring to develop and grow into the position. Roberson threw for over 900 yards, while rushing for 400 more in the limited time he saw last year.
Houston rushed for the highest total for any Hoosier running back since 2003, and the most touchdowns since 2002. The problem for Indiana is that Houston only finished the year with 802 yards and eight touchdowns. If he can get some help along the offensive line, expect that total to increase dramatically this season, as Houston should be the stud in the backfield Indiana's been searching for.
What they lost...
Not much, but that's not really a positive with how bad much of the team has been. Receiver Demarlo Belcher was a very good player, but was booted from the team mid-season.
Until Wilson can recruit more of his own players, it will be a game of adjustments to the talent currently on the roster. Much of the pass-oriented system was already in place when Wilson got to Indiana, but not nearly what he wants. The Hoosiers came close to landing the mega-QB recruit needed to jump start the program, when No. 1 overall rated quarterback Gunner Kiel committed, then backed out, to Indiana. Roberson has potential, but nothing like what Kiel could have offered Wilson's coaching abilities.
Gaining strength as a team has been one of Wilson's sticking points since the season ended. This spring is critical if the team is going to reach that goal. Far too many times, Wilson said after last season's finale, Indiana just gets pushed around by the other teams. So if you're not busy, need something to watch, and get the Big Ten Network, see if you can catch an Indiana update later this spring. See if they talk about strength and conditioning, because that'll be the biggest storyline for the program this year.
See you tomorrow as we finish up Spring Snapshot 2012.