2008 Indiana Football Preview
2008 Indiana football preview
2007 Record: 7-6, 3-5
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.
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.
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
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