2008 Indiana Football Preview

Big Ten football fans

2008 Indiana football preview

2007 Record: 7-6, 3-5
Head Coach: Bill Lynch

IU Players Drafted:
Tracy Porter - CB - Round 2 - New Orleans
James Hardy - WR - Round 2 - Buffalo

Indiana Top Recruits:
Darius Willis - RB - 6’0” - 215 - Indianapolis, IN
Cortez Smith - DB - 5’10” - 190 - Detroit, MI
Shane Covington - RB - 6’0” - 180 - Milwaukee, WI
Tyler Adetona - WR - 6’1” - 200 - Gainesville, GA
Kyle Kozak - DE - 6’5” - 235 – Chatham, VA
Will Matte - OL - 6’2” - 265 - Wheaton, IL
Nicholas Sliger - DT - 6’3” - 290 - Cicero, IN
Adam Follett - QB - 6’4” - 200 - Alma, MI
Tandon Doss - WR - 6’3” - 195 - Indianapolis, IN

Key Players Returning for the Hoosiers:
Kellen Lewis - QB - Jr.
Marcus Thigpen - RB - Sr.
Will Patterson - LB - Jr.
Greg Brown - DT - Sr.
Greg Middleton - DE - Jr.
Andrew Means - WR - Jr.
Rodger Saffold - LT - Jr.
Nick Polk - FS - Jr.
Geno Johnson - LB - Sr.
Austin Thomas - SS - Jr.
Austin Starr - K - Sr.


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2008 Indiana Offensive Outlook

The Hoosiers have one of the top talents in the Big Ten behind center with quarterback Kellen Lewis. Lewis, a junior, has emerged last season as a dual threat for the Indiana offense by throwing for over 3,000 yards and leading the team in rushing with 736 yards. Lewis proved to be a constant threat to score by throwing 28 touchdowns and rushing for nine more. Despite being suspended for spring practices for a violation of team rules, Lewis has been reinstated and will be set to play in the fall.

RB Marcus Thigpen adds speed to the backfield, but the senior did not find the end zone last season. Thigpen ran for 568 yards in 2007 and averaged 4.1 yards-per-carry. Lewis still remains the primary threat out of the backfield with the run/pass option, but Thigpen could be a spark for the offense if the line can get him any running room.
Lewis lost a huge target now that WR James Hardy has moved on to the NFL. The 6’7” Hardy was drafted in the second round by Buffalo leaving juniors Andrew Means and Ray Fisher as the primary targets heading into 2008. Sophomore Terrance Turner adds some size to the receivers with his 6’3”, 200 pound frame. Junior Troy Wagner will start at TE, but redshirt freshman Max Dedmond could become a pass catching threat to help the air attack.

The offensive line could have a unique touch this season if five players recruited in 2006 lock down starting positions. Rodger Saffold and Pete Saxon have been starters for two seasons and will return at LT and LG, respectively. The right side of the line will be filled by Cody Faulkner and Mike Stark. Alex Perry is projected to start at center. The Hoosiers have been planning to build a strong offensive line, so these positions are always up for grabs. Senior Kenny Love and redshirt Dennis Ziegler have had impressive workouts and are pushing the land Faulkner’s RG position.


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2008 Indiana Defensive Outlook

The Indiana defense ranked in the lower tier of nearly every category in 2007, and Lynch will need the seven returning defensive starters to build on their experience from last season to keep the Hoosiers in games. The defense starts with junior DE Greg Middleton who led the nation with 16 sacks in 2007. Two other returning starters on the defensive line give the Hoosiers a solid front four. Junior DE Jammie Kirlew notched 4.5 sacks last season, and senior DT Greg Brown clogs the middle with 300 pounds.

Two starters return at outside linebacker including junior Will Patterson who recorded 104 tackles last season. Patterson is joined on the outside by senior Geno Johnson who is a four-year starter. Junior Matt Mayberry appears to have a lock on the middle linebacker spot. Mayberry brings athleticism to the defense that should be solid overall at linebacker.

Junior safeties Austin Thomas and Nick Polk are back as starters after gaining valuable experience last season. Thomas led the team with 112 tackles in 2007, and Polk has the ability to defend the pass. The Hoosiers have a huge hole to fill at cornerback. Tracy Porter is now a member of the New Orleans Saints, and the Hoosiers need to find two new starters to cover the Big Ten’s dynamic receivers. A number of names are in the mix for the two CB spots. Senior Chris Phillips has the inside track at one of the positions. Junior Bruce Hampton, and sophomores Richard Council and Adrian Burks will battle with Phillips to land a starting role.

2008 Indiana Special Teams

Senior Austin Starr returns as the Hoosiers place kicker. Starr has been consistent for the Hoosiers and has been tabbed as one of the top kickers in the nation. The punting game still has questions, though. Redshirt freshman Chris Hagerup will be given the opportunity to hold on to the position with competition coming from Kyle Lambeck.

Marcus Thigpen is potentially the top kick returner in the Big Ten. Thigpen averaged 22.9 yards per return last season, and he returned three kicks for touchdowns in 2006. Ray Fisher will step in as the new punt returner that was previously held by Porter.

2008 Indiana Prediction

The Hoosiers made a nice step forward last season reaching the Insight Bowl. Bowl games have been elusive for the Hoosiers, and it will be a challenge for Lynch to get his team back to a game in December. The Hoosiers catch a break for the second straight year by not playing Michigan or Ohio State. They also have a bonus this season with the schedule giving them eight home games. The Hoosiers will still have a difficult time matching their win total of seven games from 2007, and it could come down to an away game at Purdue to see if the Hoosiers will be Bowl eligible.

Indiana Hoosiers 2008 Football Schedule
August 30 - Western Kentucky
September 6 - Murray State
September 20 - Ball State
September 27 - Michigan State
October 4 - @ Minnesota
October 11 - Iowa
October 18 - @ Illinois
October 25 - Northwestern
November 1 - Central Michigan
November 8 - Wisconsin
November 15 - @ Penn State
November 22 - @ Purdue



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