3. ON THE DEFENSIVE:
Over the last 11 seasons, Indiana has limited opponents to fewer than 30 points per game only twice. Not surprisingly, one of those seasons (2007) coincided with the Hoosiers’ last bowl trip. After giving up 35.2 and 37.3 points over the past two seasons and 163 points in their final three games last year, the Hoosiers know things must change. Wilson is hoping that the added size and speed will make a difference.
Having more experience and depth should help, too. The real test won’t come until they face Indiana State in the opener on Aug. 29, and then Navy. The Hoosiers also host SEC foe Missouri on Sept. 21 before a Big Ten season that includes trips to Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio State.
4. SIZE MATTERS:
When Wilson arrived three years ago, he had one starting offensive lineman who topped 300 pounds. Since then, Wilson has been talking about getting bigger and strong at all positions. This year, the message is being heeded. The average weight for the five starters on this year’s preseason depth chart is 299.4 pounds, and Indiana might finally have an offensive line to consistently compete in the rugged Big Ten.
5. OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS:
Despite all of the improvements the Hoosiers made this past offseason, the one that might go the furthest is Wilson’s scheduling protocol. He wanted to open the season on a Thursday night so he had a couple of extra days to prepare for Navy’s rushing attack. He got it. In fact most of the schedule is favorable. Indiana has eight home games this season, and for the first time in school history will play its first five in Bloomington. Getting off to a fast start is essential if the Hoosiers plan to go bowling.
Predicted order of finish in Big Ten Leaders Division: Fourth