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Spring Game Preview: 3 to watch on Offense

Peegs.com looks at three things to watch for on the offensive side of the ball for Indiana in tonight's Cream & Crimson Spring Game.

The Indiana football team will finish up spring practice tonight with the Cream & Crimson Spring Game inside Memorial Stadium. Peegs.com looks at three things on the offensive side of the ball to keep an eye on when the Hoosiers hit the field at 7:00 p.m. tonight.

Richard Lagow and the QBs

2016 was certainly a mixed bag for IU quarterback Richard Lagow when it came to his performance on the field. The Texas native definitely showed that he can make plays at this level as he threw for 3,362 yards and 19 touchdowns, but he also displayed that he has work to do as he finished the season with 17 interceptions. If the new offensive staff can get Lagow to eliminate the mistakes that led to so many turnovers last fall he should have a very good senior season in 2017 with the weapons he will have around him at wide receiver, running back and tight end. And then behind Lagow which quarterback will step up and show that he is the clear number two at that spot. Will it be redshirt sophomore Austin King, or redshirt freshman Peyton Ramsey? They each bring a different skill-set to the position. King can really throw the ball and is more of a pocket-passer, while Ramsey is more of a dual-threat QB that can make plays with his legs as well as his arm. Lagow is more than likely the starter for the Hoosiers in 2017, but injuries happen so it will be important to have someone behind him that can step in and make plays if called upon to do so.

Offensive Line

The play of the O-line in 2016 was a bit inconsistent, which contributed to a good deal of the inconsistency that plagued the offense last fall. In defense of the offensive line, they did lose an All-American in Dan Feeney for almost half the season, and they were without another talented lineman in Dimitric Camiel for nearly the entire season. With the teams being split up the starting offensive line will not be on the field at the same time tonight, so it will be tough to get a read on how the unit looks as a whole, but what will be interesting to watch is who stands out when it comes to the unknown guys like Grayson Stover, Mackenzie Nworah, Hunter Littlejohn and Ryan Smith. Even guys like Delroy Baker and Simon Stepaniak are still a bit of a mystery even though they played some late last season. IU has a pretty good idea of what they have in Coy Cronk, Wes Martin and Brandon Knight, but after those three the staff will be looking for some others to establish themselves as guys that can be counted on.

Skill Positions

The Hoosiers return a number of skill guys that have a good deal of experience at receiver, running back and tight end. At wideout the guy who most will be watching tonight is redshirt junior Simmie Cobbs. The Illinois native is back after missing basically the entire 2016 season with an ankle injury. The reports out of spring ball on Cobbs have been very promising. With him and Nick Westbrook on the outside the Hoosiers have two big, athletic targets to throw the ball to. Question is who steps up at that third receiver position. Is it former walk-on Luke Timian? Is it redshirt sophomore and former Carmel H.S. standout Isaac James? Or could it be talented redshirt freshman Taysir Mack? At running back Camion Patrick has been limited this spring which has given the other backs a chance to show new RB coach Mike Hart what they can do. Mike Majette has game experience, and so does Devonte Williams. Cole Gest played early last fall before getting hurt and missing the majority of the season. How has the year off helped him as a player? Could former walk-ons Ricky Brookins or Alex Rodriguez be the guy that is in the mix to be one the top backs this fall. At tight end senior Ian Thomas has gotten good reviews for his play this spring. Can he be the receiving threat that the IU offense has been missing at tight end the last few seasons? Is Shaun Bonner ready to make an impact after redshirting last fall? How big of a jump does Austin Dorris make as a player after getting a little bit of playing time last fall? It will be interesting to see who shines at the skill spots for IU tonight. The one thing we won't know until tonight is who might not be suiting up in the spring game because they got banged up earlier in the spring. 

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