November 1, 2012
Behind Enemy Lines
Coming off their first Big Ten win since 2010, the Indiana Football team is feeling pretty good about themselves heading into the match-up this weekend against the Hawkeyes. To learn more about what the Iowa Football team will be facing against the high scoring Hoosiers, we go Behind Enemy Lines with Matt Weaver from Peegs.com.
1. How big was Saturday's win for the program under Coach Wilson?
WEAVER: It was big because it was the program's first conference win since 2010, as well as being the first Big Ten win for Coach Wilson. It was also a confidence booster for the players and it was validation that their hard work is paying off. There is no doubt that Illinois is struggling this year, but for an Indiana team that had been close in recent weeks but was unable to get over the hump getting a victory against a conference foe was huge. Playing teams close is encouraging when you are rebuilding a program, but at some point you need the tangible results to show the players and the fans that the team is close to taking that next step.
2. Talk about the situation at quarterback with Cameron Coffman and Nate Sudfeld? Who will play more and what do both of them bring to the table?
WEAVER: Ever since Tre Roberson went down in the second game against UMass junior college transfer Cam Coffman has been the starter and the guy who has taken most of the snaps. He is listed as the starter on the depth chart for this week so it looks like he still has his job, but at the weekly press conference Coach Wilson never said he would be the guy so it will be interesting to see who does lead the offense out on the field for their first possession. Coffman has played more every week until last week when he was pulled after a bad interception early against Illinois. It would not surprise me if he once again got most of the playing time, just like it would not be surprising to see Sudfeld be the guy this week.
Coffman does not really do anything that blows you away, but he is usually a steady player that makes very few mistakes and does what is asked of him. He knows the offense and he is good about finding the open receiver, but he lacks arm strength and that makes it tough for IU to take shots downfield. Sudfeld is a big guy with a good arm who can make about every throw you need a quarterback to make. What is most impressive is how he never seems to be rattled even though he is a true freshman with very little experience. Both guys have some mobility, but neither one is anywhere near Tre Roberson when it comes to making plays with their legs. They can escape pressure and get positive yards, but they aren't going to get out of the pocket and go 40 or 50 yards for a score like Tre could.
3. Indiana seems to be bringing an aggressive approach defensively. Talk about their defensive style and some of the key players to watch.
WEAVER: The last few weeks they have done a much better job of getting pressure on the quarterback. They don't have the type of defensive line that allows them to just rush four all game, but they do have a guy in defensive tackle Adam Replogle who can get in the backfield. He is having a very good year and will need to play well on Saturday to help slow down the Iowa rushing attack.
At linebacker the key player is middle linebacker David Cooper. He is second on the team in tackles, and he is tied for the team lead in tackles for loss with seven. He is a junior college transfer and his play has really picked up of late after he got off to somewhat of a slow start.
In the secondary the guy to watch is safety Greg Heban. Heban is a great story because he came to IU as a baseball player and ended up walking onto the football team. He played corner his first two years and started out as the nickel back this year before being moved to safety when IU had a few injuries there. He leads the team in tackles, interceptions and passes broken-up. He is well known for how hard he works in practice, and he is probably the heart and soul of the defense. He just has a nose for the ball and always seems to make one or two big plays every week.
4. The Hoosiers have scored a lot of points this year. Who are some of the players that Iowa fans should be aware of this weekend?
WEAVER: At running back the key player is junior Stephen Houston. He has really become a weapon as a runner and as a receiver out of the backfield. He doesn't always have big rushing totals, but he always seems to find the end zone. He has scored at least once in every game this year, and he has scored in nine straight games overall which is the longest active streak in the nation. He is a big back who has enough speed to go 70 or 80 yards for a score.
At receiver the main guys to watch are junior Kofi Hughes and sophomores Cody Latimer and Shane Wynn. Hughes and Latimer are bigger, more physical receivers with good speed who are very good at making tough catches down the field even when well covered. Wynn is a small wideout at around 5'7, 160, but he is very fast and very elusive and if he gets into the open he most likely isn't getting caught from behind.
Ted Bolser is a good receiver at tight end. He can create some match-up problems for a defense because he is tough for a linebacker to cover because of his speed and tough for a safety to cover because of his size. He hasn't put up huge numbers this year, but he could have a big game if the defense loses track of him.
5. Indiana has made some big plays on special teams this year in the return game and beyond. Talk about their special teams play and the impact players there.
WEAVER: They have devoted a good deal of time in practice to special teams play and it seems to be paying off. The coverage units have shown improvement as the season has gone on, and they have the top kick returner in the conference in Tevin Coleman. The freshmen running back is a big guy with outstanding speed. He is averaging nearly 27 yards per return, and he has taken one back 96-yards for a touchdown against Northwestern.
The one area where IU has not had a ton of success is punt returns. The returner is wide receiver Nick Stoner, who might be the fastest guy on the team, but he has only returned eight punts all year for an average of 5.4 yards per return. More often than not Stoner signals for a fair catch when he is punted to.
The kicker is junior Mitch Ewald and he has been really solid. He has a good leg and he is very accurate. The punter is redshirt freshman Eric Toth, who is actually the back-up. The starting punter, Mitchell Voss, suffered a broken ankle against Michigan State when he was roughed on a punt. Toth has come in and really punted the ball better than Voss was.
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