Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Mixed signals

Looks like the Indiana defense is having trouble deciding if they are excited to face the Gophers new spread offense. According to the Indiana Daily Student today, even though the Hoosiers didn't fare well against Glen Mason's smash mouth style of offense, they aren't much good against the spread either... an offense they face everyday in practice.

Weber has to be licking his chops this week looking forward to facing a team that has given up 21 pts/game to some average teams, and who is giving up 228 yards/game through the air, and 161 yards/game on the ground. An interesting match-up should be the quick Indiana D-line vs. the Gophers O-line and Weber. Indiana is averaging 5.4 sacks/game (27 total) to lead the nation in that category. By contrast, Minnesota has only given up 3 sacks all season, largely because of Weber's ability to get rid of the ball quickly.

The defense might be a different story. Last week's Big 10 Player of the Week, Hoosier Quarterback Kellen Lewis is a huge threat. He's averaging 245 yards/game through the air and, at 74 yards/game, is the Hoosiers leading rusher. With Lewis running crazy and throwing to their leading receiver James Hardy, their offense could be fun to deal with... and when I say fun I mean "fun" like, "Geez, this root canal should be fun."

Imagine with me now, for a moment, that Coach Brewster is talking right now. Imagine words like "tremendous" and "fantastic" and "opportunity." In talking about turnovers, I imagine Coach Brewster would say something like "It is tremendously important that we take care of the ball this week. We have a fantastic opportunity against a fantastic defensive line to show some tremendous improvement." The Hoosiers are enjoying a +5 turnover margin through 5 games, while the Gophers are at a lowly -13. This game can get out of hand quickly in the wrong direction if the Gophers start coughing up the ball.

After losing their head coach Terry Heoppner in June, the Hoosiers are playing this season on emotion. While Indiana has been a doormat in the Big10 in the past, they are 4-1 coming into this game and they are hungry for a bowl berth this season.

I think this is a tremendously win-able game for the Gophers, as we don't quite know yet what we've got with an Indian team that lost to Illinois, but beat Iowa. (And honestly, can anyone tell me what is going on with Iowa? What team are they going to be this year?) But Indiana also has a fantastic opportunity to make a statement that they can win the games that they are supposed to win in the conference.

1 comment:

Paul DeBettignies said...

Jeremy,

Thanks for leaving the comment last week. I tried to email you back but it bounced back. I think I was having some issues.

Nice piece on us tonight on the Tim Brewster Show.

My email address is paul@mnheadhunter.com