Sep 20, 2014; Columbia, MO, USA; Indiana Hoosiers running back Tevin Coleman (6) runs the ball against the Missouri Tigers during the second half at Faurot Field. The Indiana Hoosiers defeated the Missouri Tigers 31-27. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Getting To Know Indiana’s Offense
The Hoosiers are coming off a season in which they under achieved, and lost one of their biggest playmakers to the NFL Draft in Cody Lattimer. However, there’s still plenty of firepower in Bloomington.
It all starts at the running back position. The junior tailback is one of the most electrifying backs that no one ever talks about. Coleman is the perfect combination of size and speed and really makes the Indiana offense tick. The junior is averaging a staggering 189.7 yards-per-game on the ground through the first three games, and has gained at least 130 yards in each contest.
Coleman is a guy that has incredible vision, but is also able to hit the hole hard if there’s a hole. He’s the type of back that can take it to the house on any play. Indiana runs a majority of their offensive sets out of a shotgun formation, so Coleman has a few extra seconds to make an initial read on the type of cut that he should make. His longest touchdowns runs this season consist of 46, 49, and 73 yards.
Coleman also has elusive speed that allows him to get to the outside, and make opposing teams pay. If you watch Indiana’s season opener against Indiana State, the Illinois native displayed this as he ran between his blockers, and made his way to the corner for a beautiful 34-yard touchdown run. Plain and simple, Coleman is an absolute handful, and leads the Big Ten in rushing with 8.6 yards-per-carry. Now that’s pretty impressive considering that the Big Ten boasts other elite backs like Melvin Gordon, Ameer Abdullah, and Paul James.
In terms of the passing game, quarterback Nate Sudfeld leads the Hoosiers offense. The junior signal caller is enjoying a strong season through three games in 2014. Sudfeld is completing 65.2 percent of his passes, and has thrown for 710 yards. The only knock so far is that he has only tossed a pair of touchdown passes (one against Bowling Green and one against Missouri). Obviously, it should be noted that when you have a running back like Coleman, you’re not going to have the throw the ball quite as much.
Sudfield is the mold of a C.J. Brown, seeing as he is not afraid to run with the football and can be inaccurate at times. The California native isn’t quite as electrifying as he only 54 yards on 23 attempts (only 2.3 yards-per-carry). Sudfeld is quite a bit bigger than Brown, so he uses his size to push forward, and doesn’t get to the outside quite as much. From a passing standpoint, Sudfeld shows tremendous poise at times. That allows him to put great touch on the ball, which makes it easier on his wideouts. Sudfeld also loves to throw the deep ball, and has the necessary weapons to effectively do so.
Senior wideout Shane Wynn is in the mold of a Tavon Austin. Wynn is used quite a bit out of the backfield, and has incredible speed that gives opposing defenses fits. He is also very elusive, and can stop on a dime then accelerate at a lightning speed. Wynn is a yards after the catch guy, and has the potential to take it to the house on any play. He also is a home-run threat that can take it to the house on any play.
On the other side, the Hoosiers have senior Nick Stoner. Stoner is a guy who served as a reserve receiver for the first three years, but now has the opportunity to be a starter in Bloomington. While Stoner may not be the biggest wideout at 6’1, he has the breakaway speed to get by opposing defensive backs. Sudfeld targeted Stoner quite a bit early on against Missouri. Stoner did haul in a 46-yard pass that ended in a Coleman touchdown to give the Hoosiers an early 7-0 lead. While Wynn is the guy that opposing teams key on, Stoner has the potential to burn them down the field.
How Will Maryland Stop Indiana?
For the fourth time in as many weeks, the Terrapins will have the task of stopping the opposing team’s strong ground attack.
Maryland has struggled defending the run as they’re allowing a Big Ten high 199.2 yards-per-game. West Virginia’s Rushel Shell (98 yards) and Syracuse’s Terrel Hunt (156 yards) have severely gashed the Terps the past two weeks. The Hoosiers boast one of the top backs in the Big Ten and maybe the country in Coleman. His combination of size and speed could give Maryland issues.
Defensive Quinton Jefferson is now gone for the season, but Keith Bowers should be able to fill in just fine in his place. The linebackers look to be healthy for the first time in a while, aside from Cavon Walker being lost for the season. Having a healthy unit with starters Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil, Cole Farrand, L.A. Goree, and Matt Robinson all should play against the Hoosiers. Being able to use guys like Yannick Ngakoue and Jalen Brooks on the second unit is a huge boost to the depth. All of these guys are pretty sound tacklers, and that should go a long way in slowing down Coleman.
In terms of the passing game, Maryland is going to have to find a way to generate a pass rush. The Terps are tied for eighth in the Big Ten with eight sacks through four games. Maryland only had one sack against the Orange, courtesy of defensive end Andre Monroe. The Terps are going to have to find their groove against opposing offensive lines. It’s only going to get tougher with conference starting. Some of the nation’s best offensive linemen come from Big Ten teams. Generating a tough pass rush could be the difference in coming away from Saturday’s game with a win.