After just one week, the Hoosiers are heading back to camp.
Due to a quirk in the schedule, Indiana's week one win over Towson will be followed with a 16-day layoff before the Hoosiers take on Western Kentucky on Sept. 18. So what will IU do with so much time off?
Head coach Bill Lynch gave his squad last weekend off to provide a break for the Hoosiers, but this week he plans on polishing the team's fundamentals. Lynch isn't wild about the early bye week, but he went into the season with a plan. He hoped the Hoosiers would blow out the Tigers early to give the coaching staff an opportunity to play a lot of different players and get a handle on how his team reacts in a game situation.
IU did just that, taking a huge early lead and allowing Lynch to yank his starters midway through the third quarter. Indiana played 70 different players in the game, and Lynch says that fact alone made the Towson game worthwhile because more players will be paying attention in film sessions because they will be seeing film of themselves instead of just the first string. Lynch believes that experience will help his team in the long run.
Another positive is that WR Tandon Doss will have more time to recover from the groin injury suffered in practice in late August. Doss missed the Towson game and likely would have missed a week two matchup, but he is expected to be ready to go by the Western Kentucky game.
More than anything, the Hoosiers took care of business the way they were expected to vs. a Football Championship Subdivision squad. Unlike last season, which saw the Hoosiers squeak out a win over Eastern Kentucky, IU crushed an overmatched Towson squad and built confidence for the future. Sure, the defense made a pair of bad mistakes and the offensive line was up and down, but again, those errors were expected, considering the changes on defense and the inexperience of the O-line in terms of playing with one another.
In typical Lynch fashion, he's just trying to spin the early time off in the most positive way he can.
"Up until now, with summer school going 10 days into camp and move-out day and all the other things going on, there wasn't a real routine to camp," said Lynch the day after the Towson game. "But I think our guys handled that pretty well, including playing on a Thursday night, which is different during the first week of class where their minds are going from one syllabus to the other then coming over here to practice. All in all, it was a good week and I'm glad where we're at, and I know we're going to get better. I really am happy we have an off week where we can work on some things before the grind of 11 straight weeks begins."
--Indiana allowed a pair of big plays in the first half, giving up a 42-yard run to Towson QB Chris Hart on fourth-and-one that led to a score, and allowing Hart to throw a 64-yard TD pass to Hakeem Moore on the Tigers' next possession. The first play was caused by overpursuit on defense, while the long TD pass was triggered by a lack of communication in the secondary. Neither mistake was surprising. Indiana played fast and overpursued, but that seems to be more a case of IU being amped to play coupled with Hart's quickness, which made the Hoosiers' defense look bad. With three quarters of the secondary either new or playing new positions, the long TD pass wasn't unexpected. Lynch and the staff believes they will clean up those mistakes during the bye week, and IU's first-string defense played pretty well outside of those two miscues.
--Two stats stood out for IU's offense. The rebuilt offensive line didn't give up a sack, and the Hoosiers scored points on all six of their trips to the red zone, including scoring three touchdowns. The lack of sacks allowed was a huge confidence-builder, and the red-zone success will put a swagger in the step of an Indiana squad that struggled inside the 20 a season ago.
GAME BALL GOES TO: RB Darius Willis -- Willis ran for 102 yards on 14 carries, and his 49-yard TD run in the first quarter, which included a swan dive past a defender from the 4-yard line into the end zone, showed he is fully healthy. But Willis' other runs were just as important. He showed his power on a 15-yard run in the second quarter that saw him bowl over at least two defenders, and his agility and balance allowed him to turn what should have been a loss in the backfield due to a breakdown in blocking into a 4-yard gain. Head coach Bill Lynch said that second run showed the impact Willis will have on IU's offense as long as he stays healthy.
KEEP AN EYE ON: TE Ted Bolser -- Bolser enjoyed a stellar debut, making four catches for 68 yards, including scoring a touchdown on his first career catch. Bolser has the speed of a wide receiver and is a huge target, and QB Ben Chappell seems to have developed a rapport with the redshirt freshman. Bolser figures to be a bigger part of the offense going forward and will provide balance in the middle of the field.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I didn't even know what to do. Some people told me to throw my hands up, some people told me to jump into the stands, but I had the jitters, that's for sure." -- TE Ted Bolser on scoring his first career touchdown.
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