Blake Powers vs. Kellen Lewis - Both will obviously be wearing IU uniforms, but it's a good bet both will see action in Saturday's game against Southern Illinois. With the two splitting time with the No. 1 unit during the week, their performances against SIU could go a long way in determining who winds up becoming the permanent starter beginning the next week against UConn.
If you doubt the staff would be willing to go with a rotation this weekend, look at last week's contest against Ball State. With Powers sidelined due to injury, the Hoosier coaching staff had pre-determined they were going to rotate Graeme McFarland and Lewis against the Cardinals. McFarland played the game's first two series, and Lewis was set to enter for the Hoosiers' third possession. McFarland's injury coincided with Lewis' entry and resulted in the redshirt freshman playing the rest of the way, but Terry Hoeppner made it clear this week that the staff didn't originally envision Lewis playing as much as he did.
With that said, a quarterback rotation likely isn't a long-term solution. Hoeppner had a pair of talented quarterbacks at the same time during his Miami (Ohio) days in Ryan Hawk and Ben Roethlisberger, whom split some time early during their redshirt freshman seasons. But Hoeppner eventually settled on Roethlisberger, who wound up leading Miami (Ohio) to some of the most successful seasons in program history.
Indications are the two quarterbacks are on very equal footing as the weekend approaches. They've been splitting reps with the 1s, and both obviously covet the chance to be the regular starter. A big effort on Saturday could make one of the two the clear cut No. 1 the rest of the way this season.
SIU DE Lorenzo Wims vs. IU Offensive Line-Whether it's Kellen Lewis or Blake Powers under center, IU is still going to want to throw the ball against the Salukis. SIU's best defense against that might be its pass rush, led by the Ft. Wayne native Wims.
Wims led SIU with seven sacks a year ago as a back-up, and he's undoubtedly the team's best pass rusher. He's also had this game circled on his calendar for some time. Wims said he was recruited by IU as a sophomore, but the Hoosier staff backed off afterwards. Once he decided to transfer from Ball State following the 2004 season, he said he talked to the Hoosier staff about coming to Bloomington, but those plans fell through. There's little doubt Wims would like to prove to IU that it made a mistake – twice.
SIU was off last weekend, and Wims actually traveled to Muncie to watch the Indiana-Ball State game in person. He came away from that contest saying that the Indiana offense hasn't played against a defensive unit that has the speed that SIU does.
"Let me put it to you this way: we're on scholarship and they're on scholarship," Wims told the Southern Illinoisan earlier this week. "I played at Ball State. They (the Hoosiers) played Western Michigan the week before. Neither one of those teams are nearly as fast as our defense. They haven't faced anyone nearly as fast as us yet. So it's going to be pretty interesting."
Wims isn't lacking in confidence, and a quick start for him and the rest of the SIU defense will only add to that. Indiana, meanwhile, needs to establish itself early offensively, and controlling Wims is a big part of that.
What's coming up:
On Monday – Five Numbers to Note
On Tuesday - Four Players to Know
On Wednesday – Three Big Concerns
On Thursday – Two Key Match-Ups
On Friday – One Bold Prediction
On Saturday – Hoosier Gameday
Two Days and Counting...
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