Every Sunday at 9 a.m., AllHoosiers.com’s site publisher Terry Hutchens will look back at the previous day’s game with his Terry’s Takes daily feature.
The first thing that needs to be said to keep this in context is that it was only Indiana State.
Do I expect Indiana to be able to put up 455 yards per game on the ground on a regular basis? No.
Do I expect the Indiana defense to limit teams to 170 yards of total defense on a regular basis? No.
Do I expect to have that feeling that I had Saturday afternoon in Memorial Stadium that there was no way Indiana would lose that game, on a regular basis? Probably not.
But there was still plenty to take away from what we saw Saturday against the Sycamores:
Here is my stream of consciousness:
1. The statistic that jumped out at me more than any other one on Saturday was that on all four of Indiana’s scoring drives the Hoosiers did not attempt a single pass. There were 27 plays and 27 runs. Go back into Indiana history and tell me if that has ever happened before. I supposed it could have in the Bill Mallory/Anthony Thompson era but I doubt it. My guess is that was an unprecedented performance.
2. I liked the way the running backs ran north and south. Tevin Coleman likes to talk about running with velocity. I thought Indiana ran with velocity. Indiana’s backs were hitting the holes hard and the offensive line was getting a great push off the ball. It has been a long time since I was that confident in short yardage situations that Indiana could run and get the first down.
3. That’s the key. If Indiana can get to where it becomes less predictable on third-and-short to where it can run the ball and get first downs, that will be a huge win for the offense.
4. The offensive line was good all day. Kevin Wilson pointed out that the tight ends deserved credit for some of those blocks, too. I thought overall the line push was solid. That just looked like the way a Big Ten offensive line should manhandle an opponent like Indiana State.
5. I thought Nate Sudfeld was tentative. Maybe it had something to do with the fact Indiana State was dropping eight and playing nickel and taking everything away. They were basically daring IU to run the ball and the Hoosiers obliged to the tune of 455 yards on the ground. But Sudfeld didn’t seem to be staying with his reads long enough and too many times was he off and running.
6. That’s another thing. When IU has one quarterback at this point, I really don’t think you want Sudfeld running as much as he did on Saturday. Keeping No. 7 healthy has to be Job One for IU.
8. I thought J-Shun Harris did some good things, too. Mis-judging that first punt was not one of them though I think that was to be expected. That punter was booming them in warmups and also had a 58-yard punt in the game. But that one was extremely short and took Harris off guard. He should have let it bounce and gotten away from it but he was a freshman playing his first game and got caught up in the moment. He can get a pass there.
9. I have concerns in the kicking game with Aaron Del Grosso. There’s no doubt he’s your kickoff specialist. All five of his kicks Saturday went into the end zone. But is he your placekicker? He has been up and down in terms of consistency in camp. Having his one and only field goal attempt Saturday hit the right upright and bounce back was not the start he needed for his confidence. My guess is we see Griffin Oakes get a chance at kicking field goals before too long.
10. Another thought on that topic is that it likely will just allow Kevin Wilson to go for it even more on fourth down if he doesn’t have complete confidence in his kicker.
11. There was a lot to like on defense. I’m not sure it was the 3-4 or what but IU really got after it. I thought IU had decent pressure all day and four sacks is definitely a good start.
12. On the first drive for Indiana State, the Sycamores gained 51 yards. IU missed three or four tackles on that drive and it looked like ‘Here we go again.’ But the Hoosiers quickly righted the ship and the end result was a much better cohesive defensive looked. Still, it was only Indiana State. I’m looking forward to seeing how this defense looks against a more formidable opponent.
14. I thought the secondary had a couple of calls that could have gone either way in terms of pass interference. For the most part, I thought IU got the benefit of the doubt on a couple of calls.
15. I thought Indiana missed a couple of opportunities to get turnovers. When that opportunity presents itself, you have to take advantage of it. That may have been one of the rare negatives on that side of the ball.
17. You had to like the way some of the young defenders looked. Tegray Scales, Greg Gooch, Tony Fields, Kiante Walton on the true freshman side and a guy like Chase Dutra, who is a redshirt freshman. Nice start for a lot of guys.
18. That game could have been a shutout. Indiana State scored on two short fields and also had the missed field goal on the first drive but I thought IU held them in check most of the day.
19. I thought there were a lot more positives than negatives to come out of Game One and that’s really important. Clearly a step in the right direction.
20. And it appeared that Indiana got out of the game without any significant injuries. That’s also a huge plus heading into the second game.
That is my first Terry’s Takes for 2014. We’ll do this every Sunday after IU football games this season at 9 a.m. Check out my Daily Feature for Monday at 9 a.m. which will be a Monday Morning Quarterback look at IU-Indiana State.
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch