April 18, 2007

Spring Answers: Part Two

We kicked off spring ball by pos

We kicked off spring ball by posting
a series of questions
that we felt the Hoosiers needed to answer over the ensuing three weeks, so the
natural step now that the spring festivities are concluded is to see if
these questions were answered.

Today's edition will refer to
Part Two of the
set. Yesterday's was a response to
Part One.

6) Thigpen still the guy

In hindsight this wasn't much of a question. It appeared the job belonged to Marcus
Thigpen from the start of the spring, as he never really left the starting
unit. Thigpen and the other IU running backs didn't have a real strong spring -
the first team only accounted for 47 rushing yards in the final game. But some
of that has to do with the limited contact rule placed on the quarterbacks, as Kellen
Lewis was downable by touch, not tackle in all of the scrimmages. That kept
the sophomore QB from scrambling and keeping the ball on handoff option plays,
and it also forced a couple of sacks that likely wouldn't have happened if Lewis
wasn't confined by the no-tackle rule. Ultimately, the offense only had one
rusher in the backfield, when there will be two this fall. That could have
allowed the defense to zero in solely on Thigpen. In hindsight, the only
movement on the running back depth chart came from Justin Carrington,
who converted to the linebacker unit, where he saw second-team reps and gave the
LBs a full rotation. The other notable was Trea Burgess. The walk-on
running back led all rushers in yardage during the spring game with the limited
carries he received on the second team. Burgess replaced Carrington as fourth on
the depth chart, but he is certainly a guy to keep an eye on this fall, as IU
has had good luck in the recent past with walk-ons (Josiah Sears) at
the running backs position.

7) Running game picking up ground?

Consequently, the Hoosiers' ground game didn't really light it up this
spring. As mentioned before, Kellen Lewis was downable by touch and that really
hurt IU's rushing yardage total in each of the scrimmages. Lewis provides
the offense with a second rusher on the field, so it was tough to evaluate
Indiana's ability to run the ball with the way in which the defense could down
the quarterbacks. On the QB option handoff plays that the offense likes to run,
Lewis was never as a result much of a threat to keep the ball. As for some
forecast to this fall, it'd be quite a sight to see the coaching staff implement
some plays that used Lewis as a second rusher.

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