By Zach Lutz | @zachlutz6
Since 2013, Indiana football has achieved moderate success on multiple occasions, and no doubt, fans are thankful for the improvement and consistent 5 and 6-win seasons, but now it’s time second year HC Tom Allen escapes all this mediocrity and brings the Hoosiers to the next level. In 2015-16 the Hoosiers showed off an explosive offense with big playmaking ability, but the defense lacked the ability to get stops. In 2017, the offense struggled to find the end zone, while their defense was much improved. While 2018 could feature a happy medium, don’t expect the Hoosiers to escape 5 or 6 wins quite yet.
On offense, the Hoosiers must reignite the dynamic air attack that was missing a year ago, and that is doable with almost every starter returning. The deep receiving core, led by upperclassmen Nick Westbrook and Luke Timian, should be the strength of this 2018 squad, we just don’t know who will be attempting to get these guys the ball. HC Tom Allen continues to say three guys are all locked in competition. While it is ultimately Allen’s decision, it seems fans and media alike speculate it will be Senior transfer from Arizona, Brandon Dawkins, who will win the job. As a proven Pac-12 QB who can run and make the big throw, this seems a logical prediction. However, Peyton Ramsey and freshman Michael Penix Jr. offer similar skill sets, so don’t be surprised to see all three in action during the season. The entire O-line returns with plenty to work on behind all-star guard Wes Martin. RB Morgan Ellison is back after a serviceable Sophomore season ready to balance the Hoosier offense.
The offense is looking better than last year, but the defense is losing a lot of pieces up front and should regress from a solid 2017. However, the Indiana secondary should be fine, led by star safeties Jonathan Crawford and Marcelino Ball. Also, recent recruiting has brought in quick, athletic, versatile defenders who show promise for this season and beyond. If Crawford and Ball can help create turnovers, the Hoosiers won’t have to rely so much on their young defense to get stops.
Though many have picked the Hoosiers to finish last in the East, they still have a chance at a bowl game. The schedule is manageable with winnable non-conference and West division matchups. A win over Purdue this year might amplify their success and put the Hoosiers over the top.