Three things to watch for in Indiana's spring game
When: Friday, 6:30 p.m. ET
WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
-Richard Lagow vs. Danny Cameron
The quarterback battle is a two-horse race in Bloomington, at least while Zander Diamont is out. That means we’ll get a chance to see the highly touted JUCO transfer face off with the rising underclassman. The two split snaps throughout the spring and will likely split snaps on Friday. Taking over for Nate Sudfeld, the program’s all-time leading passer, isn’t an easy thing to do in Kevin Wilson’s fast-paced, spread offense.
At 6-6, Lagow has the look of a Power Five starter, and his 4,500 yards and 38 TDs at Cisco College in Texas proved that he can be successful. Getting up to speed is the biggest thing holding him back from running away with the starting job. Cameron has the benefit of a full two years of learning Wilson’s system and he could look more comfortable early on.
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This battle won’t be resolved by the conclusion of the spring game, and frankly, it could continue well into fall camp. But it’ll be the best chance for one of them to give themselves a leg up heading into the summer.
-Tom Allen’s new-look defense
Indiana’s modern college offense lacked a modern college defense that could keep up. Under Allen, the Hoosiers could have that. The former South Florida defensive coordinator implemented his 4-2-5 defense, which will look different than the 3-4 that served as the base for the B1G’s worst unit in 2015.
With the likes of Rashard Fant and Chase Dutra (he’ll be out this spring with a foot injury) back, the IU secondary should have the experience necessary to operate in Allen’s new defense. The big question mark is still up front. IU was pummeled for 373 rushing yards in the Pinstripe Bowl.
Without Darius Latham, Nick Mangieri and Adarius Rayner, there are plenty of spots available on the defensive line. Ralph Green, Shawn Heffern and Nate Hoff have the most experience, but there will be no shortage of opportunities for IU’s young defensive linemen to earn more snaps.
-Indiana’s suddenly loaded receiving corps
Remember when IU’s leading returning receiver entering 2015 had seven catches for 114 yards? Well, a lot has changed since then.
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For starters, that receiver was Simmie Cobbs, who was one of the breakout players in the B1G last year. As Nate Sudfeld’s go-to target, he averaged 103 yards in his final seven games en route to a 1,000-yard season. Ricky Jones is also back after he exploded on to the scene and finished sixth in the B1G in receiving. IU’s do-it-all speedster and touchdown receptions leader Mitchell Paige is back, too. IU’s three top weapons from 2015 are expected to be in action Friday night, which will probably puts IU’s new quarterbacks at ease.
Don’t forget that the Hoosiers will return former All-B1G freshman J-Shun Harris, who missed 2015 with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Harris might not suit up on Friday, but the guy once considered IU’s top target will have to fight to get looks when he returns to full strength. For IU, that’s not a bad problem to have.