IU Football For Dummies

New to the site? New to IU football? Here's a basic form of what you need to know for the season.

OK, so you're an Indiana student. You're an IU basketball fan who has just casually followed IU football over the years. You're new to the site and you aren't sure what to expect for this football season.

If any or all of the above apply to you, this story is for you. It's not for the die-hard football fans who have been covering Terry Hutchens' thorough coverage all spring and summer.

This is IU Football For Dummies.

With the first game just around the corner -- it's at noon Saturday against Indiana State at Memorial Stadium -- I figured it was a good time to get some of you up to speed on this year's team and what you should expect for the coming season.

1. OFFENSIVE TALENT: First and foremost, Indiana has a lot of talent at the offensive skill positions, and I mean top-tier talent. Quarterback Nate Sudfeld, running back Tevin Coleman and wide receiver Shane Wynn are just as good, if not better, than every other player at their position in the conference. And I'm not just saying that.

With Tre Roberson's transfer to Illinois State, the quarterback job is all Sudfeld's, and that should be a major factor for the coming season. Sudfeld will put up big numbers. He just needs to cut down on the interceptions if Indiana is to win more games and make a bowl game.

Coleman very well may be the most versatile and talented running back in the Big Ten. He's big -- he's now benching over 400 pounds -- and he's explosive. He had a big season last year, and he missed the last three games due to injury.

I wouldn't be surprised if Coleman is one of the top five or 10 running backs in college football this season, and again, I'm not just saying that. He's one of the most talented running backs IU has had in a long, long time.

Things may be a little tougher for Wynn early on than they are for Sudfeld and Coleman, but he should also be in for a big year. At just 5-foot-7, he may struggle early as the outside receiver and No. 1 target, but I expect him to grow into that role as the season goes along. He's been in the slot all three seasons at Indiana, and he benefited greatly from having Cody Latimer and Kofi Hughes on the outside last season.

But know Wynn's name, and don't hold his slight stature against him. He's a talented kid, and he's the leader of that group now.

They're not as flashy, but Indiana also has tons of experience on the offensive line, and that's very important. Skill guys aren't worth much if nobody's blocking for them.

2. DEFENSE SHOULD BE BETTER: If you've been around IU football for any length of time, you've heard that headline before. And I won't claim the Hoosiers will be known for their defense by any stretch, nor will I claim the defense will be one of the best in the Big Ten.

But with Brian Knorr bringing in a 3-4 system that will allow IU to do some different things defensively, I do think it will be better, even if only modestly. Considering the talent the Hoosiers have on the offensive side of the ball, modest improvements may be enough to equal two or three more wins.

IU's talented class including Darius Latham, Antonio Allen and others is a year older, and that year of experience is important on the defensive side of the ball. Allen is healthy, and Latham is pushing Adarius Rayner for the top spot up front.

I'm sure there will still be a few big plays and a few big numbers given up by the defense, but it should look much better at times. That's something to look forward to.

3. BOWL GAME IS WITHIN REACH: Indiana hasn't made a bowl game in Kevin Wilson's short tenure at IU, but the Hoosiers have gotten better each season, and I think that will continue this year. IU won five games a year ago, meaning it came one short of a bowl game. I expect the Hoosiers to make a bowl this year, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them win seven games for a two-game improvement.

I hope you liked this feature. If you did, head to our premium forum and let me know, or find me on Twitter (@Justin_Albers). Thanks for reading.

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