2011 Indiana Hoosiers Football

Big Ten football fans

Indiana vs Ball State Football Preview



As the Indiana Hoosier football begins a new era and, along with it, another football season, it’s worth saying something very simple about a program that seems stuck in molasses.

Bill Lynch was not asked to return as the head coach of the Hoosiers this year. He will be saddled with the rap that he couldn’t get Indiana over the hump. The cold realm of numbers backs up that statement: Former IU coach Terry Hoeppner took the program to a rare bowl game in 2007, but after his death, Lynch could not replicate the feat in the next three seasons. Yet, it’s not as though Lynch’s team wasn’t competitive in the Big Ten. It simply couldn’t close the sale in winnable contests. Indiana had Iowa on the ropes each of the last two years, but a bad call in 2009 (on what should have been an Indiana touchdown in the second half of a game the Hoosiers led at the time) and a dropped touchdown pass at the end of regulation in 2010 (by IU receiver DaMarlo Belcher) led to stomach-punch defeats for Lynch and his lads. The Lynch era was also marked by a controversial 36-33 loss to Michigan in which a disputed interception call buried the Hoosiers. Indiana was wronged on a play in which an IU receiver appeared to have simultaneous possession of the ball along with a Michigan defensive back, only for the officials (and replay) to rule an interception. Murphy’s Law prevailed in the Lynch era, but it’s not as though IU was a terrible team; the Hoosiers were good enough to be a .500 team, but they didn’t make timely plays in pressure situations. Now, they’ll try to get things right under the leadership of a new face.

First-year Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson waited a long time to become a head coach. After spending nine seasons on the offensive staff at Oklahoma, Wilson finally got his chance at Indiana, a school close to his childhood home and a school he feels can be more than a Big Ten cellar-dweller. Wilson is optimistic about the talent he is inheriting and his ability to recruit more of it to Bloomington. He was consistently one of the nation’s most aggressive and creative offensive minds at Oklahoma. He’ll need to harness all of his creativity to help Indiana get to just its second bowl since 1993. There aren’t many pieces on offense with significant experience, so this year will be a real transition season for all involved.

Ben Chappell was quietly the most productive quarterbacks in the Big Ten last season and he will not be easy to replace. The quarterback job in Wilson’s pass-first attack will be sophomore Dusty Kiel, who did not take to the gridiron very often last season as a freshman, attempting just 12 passes in relief of Chappell. This season the Hoosiers will utilize three and four receiver sets much more often than they did under Lynch. That means new and inexperienced receivers will get a great deal of playing time. At least the aforementioned DaMarlo Belcher returns. Belcher led the team with 78 receptions for 832 yards and four touchdowns in 2010. Beyond him, there are mostly unknowns at receiver. Duwyce Wilson caught 32 passes in 2010 as a reserve and slot receiver. He’ll be asked to step into a more prominent role in Wilson’s attack.

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Indiana will be facing a team that’s starting fresh in its own right. Ball State enjoyed a 12-2 season under former coach Brady Hoke in 2008, but after Hoke moved to San Diego State, Stan Parrish took over and promptly watched as a depleted roster sank to the bottom of the Mid-American Conference’s West Division. Pete Lembo, formerly the coach of Elon in the Football Championship Subdivision, is the new sheriff at BSU. He’ll try to make the Cardinals competitive against the Hoosiers. We’ll see which coach gets his tenure off to a good start at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Indiana.


By: Matt Zemek
DFN Sports Senior Staff Writer



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