Indiana Hoosiers Preview 2022: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the Indiana season with what you need to know and keys to the season.
Indiana Hoosiers Preview
Head Coach: Tom Allen, 6th year at Indiana, 26-32
2021 Preview: Overall: 2-10, Conference: 0-8
Keys To The Season | Season Prediction, What Will Happen
Indiana Top 10 Players | Indiana Schedule & Analysis
Indiana Hoosiers Preview 2022
Just when it seemed like long-suffering Indiana football fans were about to have some real fun …
Cue the sad trombone.
The 2021 team wasn’t as bad as the 2-10 record might have seemed – in a “other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?” sort of way, it was a special teams play away from possibly beating Cincinnati – just like the 2020 team wasn’t quite as good in the strangest of seasons than the 6-1 Big Ten record made it seem.
So what went wrong?
Start with the obvious – 1) injuries, and 2) the rest of the Big Ten wasn’t awful in 2021.
Penn State had a historically bad start in 2020, Michigan ended up going 2-4, Michigan State went 2-5, and Wisconsin was basically gutted as the season went on. Even so, give 2020 IU credit – it got the job done when the opportunity was there.
Even with the far, far better Big Ten last year, and the nasty schedule with Cincinnati and a high-octane WKU on it, and even with injuries and things not working quite right, the Hoosiers really were close against Cincinnati, pushed Michigan State, and lost by three to Maryland.
And now Indiana should be able to come up with a season that’s more competitive and far, far stronger. The team might have been gutted by the transfer portal, but it upgraded and strengthened a few spots with new spots, too.
Indiana Hoosiers Preview 2022: Offense
The offense. It needs to do that scoring thing again. The Hoosiers had the worst offense in the Big Ten – averaging 290 yards per game – it had a nightmare of a time with turnovers, it couldn’t run the ball, and the team scored 15 points or fewer in eight of the 12 games.
Head coach Tom Allen will take a more active role in the attack, and a slew of skill parts just got a whole lot more interesting through the transfer portal.
QB Michael Penix getting hurt led to a problem at quarterback with four different options throwing at least 58 passes. Penix is off the Washington, and in comes former Missouri starter Connor Bazelak to compete with Jack Tuttle and Donaven McCulley for the job.
The receiving corps lost Ty Fryfogle and leading receiver tight end Peyton Hendershot. In comes JUCO transfer Cam Camper and North Carolina transfer Emery Simmons to join DJ Matthews, who showed promise early last year before getting hurt.
The running game is getting an overhaul, too. Most of the top backs are gone, but in comes Shaun Shivers from Auburn and Josh Henderson from North Carolina to add a nice tandem to shine if the line play is fine. If freshman Jaylin Lucas is just that good, look out for this group.
It’s not a total redo up front around left tackle Luke Haggard and versatile interior blocker Zach Carpenter, but it’s going to take a little work. Get the running game going, keep defenses from living in the backfield – IU’s front five has to be better at both.
Indiana Hoosiers Preview 2022: Defense
The offense was bad. Again, injuries, inconsistencies, and a lack of anything to rely on – especially at quarterback – were all a part of the problem. The defense was worse. Like the offense, the D has a whole lot of new parts for a group that needs work.
In comes Chad Wilt, a rising star defensive line coach who spent the last few years at Minnesota and now takes over in his first defensive coordinator gig. He inherits a group that was the worst in the Big Ten in scoring defense, couldn’t get to the quarterback, and couldn’t generate turnovers – all of those combined to be part of the problem; more on that in the Keys To The Season section.
The secondary will be a positive. It struggled throughout last year, but getting back CB Tiawan Mullen – he was hurt for most of 2021 – is a huge plus to go along with Jaylin Williams on the other side. The safeties will be a positive, too, around veteran Devon Matthews. Now they need help from the pass rush.
LB Micah McFadden tried to carry the entire defense by himself, and now he’s off trying to be a New York Giant. Miami transfer Bradley Jennings will try to fill the void, and Cam Jones is a veteran holdover from last year who should be one of the team’s leading tacklers.
Cal transfer JH Tevis adds a whole lot of help to the defensive interior, and UCLA’s Myles Jackson needs to be the answer to the pass rush problems, probably at IU’s Bull position. Throw in 319-pound Ole Miss transfer LeDarrius Cox into the rotation, and the Hoosiers are trying to fix the overall glitch fast.