TOWSON PREVIEW: Two Days and Counting

Indiana might be well positioned for an easy win Thursday night against Towson in its season opener, but there are still things to be concerned about if you're the IU staff. Hoosier Nation continues its day-by-day preview of the match-up with Two Days and Counting...

What exactly will Indiana learn about itself against Towson? – The good news for the Hoosiers is that they'll come out of Thursday's season opener with a win. The bad news is that they might not know a whole lot more about themselves than they do today. Coach Bill Lynch's team will be taking a squad that was among the worst in the FCS (formerly I-AA) a season ago, and there's not much reason to believe they'll be much better this season. The Tigers yielded 36.5 points/game a year ago while going just 2-9. Unlike Indiana there weren't many near misses for Coach Rob Ambrose's team, which suffered seven losses by at least 28 points.

That should allow Indiana to win its season opener for the seventh straight season, but Towson won't necessarily allow the IU coaching staff to answer some critical questions for the 2010 season. Is Matt Ernest ready to be a starting Big Ten cornerback? Can Fred Jones, Darius Johnson and/or Kevin Bush pressure the quarterback? Are Jeff Thomas and Chad Sherer ready to assume starting roles at linebacker? All of those will likely still be up in the air come Friday morning.

Adding to issue is the fact the Hoosiers have 16 days off before they return to the field against Western Kentucky. By that time, most D-I programs have two games under their belt and have learned some things about themselves based on the results and opponents. Indiana, meanwhile, won't be that far along based on its opening opponent and the 16-day break.

How much of a concern is Tandon Doss' groin injury – Indiana shouldn't have too many concerns or issues on the field, but off the field there's obviously some concern about the health of its biggest offensive playmaker, Tandon Doss. The 6'3" junior has been sidelined as of late with a groin injury, and Lynch ruled Doss out of the opener earlier this week.

It makes sense in this type of game with a 16-day break to follow that IU be especially cautious with Doss. After all, by the time the Big Ten season rolls around IU will need him, Darius Willis, Ben Chappell, and the rest of the critical offensive weapons to be at full strength if it expects to make some noise. This will also give some players such as Duwyce Wilson, Jamonne Chester and possibly Kofi Hughes an opportunity to get some much needed playing time and help them gain some experience that could pay off as the season wears on.

But anytime you're dealing with a groin injury, there's also always a concern that it could linger moving forward. The ailment is obviously serious enough that there wasn't much hesitation whatsoever to sit Doss this weekend.

Coming Up
On Sunday – Five Numbers to Note
On Monday – Four Names to Know
On Tuesday – Three Key Match-Ups
On Wednesday – Two Big Concerns
On Thursday – One Bold Prediction Top Stories