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           ***** NCAA Football Preview - Indiana Hoosiers *****
 
 By Mike Castiglione, Associate College Football Editor
 
 Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
 
 2012 SEASON IN REVIEW: Coming off a one-win season, the Hoosiers had nowhere
 to go but up in 2012. Although they did not exactly shake the Big Ten
 landscape, they did manage to improve to 4-8, headlined by back-to-back wins
 over Illinois (31-17) and Iowa (24-21).
 
 Still, the feeling around Bloomington was that a a few more wins were left on
 the table. There was a one-point loss at Navy, a two-point loss to Ball State,
 a three-point setback to Ohio State, and a four-point loss to Michigan State.
 However, by the time the season ended with three straight lopsided losses, the
 only thing that mattered was that Indiana's bowl bid came up short.
 
 The Hoosiers were certainly entertaining to watch throughout the year, as they
 led the Big Ten in total offense (442 ypg). However, they also ranked dead-
 last in total defense (463.5 ypg allowed) and in those aforementioned narrow
 defeats, the four opponents combined to average 39 points.
 
 Heading into 2013, the Hoosiers' main focus is tightening up defensively so
 they don't have to get into weekly shootouts.
 
 2013 ANALYSIS:
 
 OFFENSE: That the IU offense took a leap forward in 2012 is hardly a shock,
 considering head coach Kevin Wilson was previously the offensive coordinator
 of a high-powered Oklahoma offense from 2006-10. However, he doesn't quite
 have the luxury of a top-flight quarterback like a program such as the
 Sooners' tends to attract.
 
 "We're unsettled at quarterback," Wilson said at Big Ten Media Day. "Got
 three guys in a dead heat. It's not because I don't think we've got a good
 player. We've got three guys that are all very unique, can manage us. Haven't
 seen someone separate through spring. I don't know if anyone had any
 particularly horrible days."
 
 Cameron Coffman would seem to be the favorite, considering he made 10 starts
 last season. Tre Roberson also gained some experience last year as a freshman
 and entered camp healthy, while Wilson has praised incoming freshman Nate
 Sudfeld's skill set.
 
 The backfield figures to be somewhat of a rotation, led by junior Stephen
 Houston, who is back after rushing for a team-high 749 yards (4.7 ypc) and 12
 touchdowns. Talented sophomore Tevin Coleman pushed Houston in camp and
 appears ready to carve out a larger role behind a strong offensive line unit.
 Senior Kofi Hughes (43 receptions for 639 yards) and juniors Cody Latimer (51
 for 805) and Shane Wynn (67 for 648) headline a deep receiving corps.
 
 DEFENSE: While IU's defense certainly endured its fair share of struggles in
 2012, the unit does return nine starters. Coach Wilson and his staff are
 hoping that continuity leads to more production on the field in 2013.
 
 Replacing defensive tackles Adam Repogle and Larry Black won't be easy, but
 juco transfers Jordan Heiderman and Christopher Cormier will get a long look,
 as will highly-regarded recruit Darius Latham.
 
 Middle linebacker David Cooper (86 tackles, 9.0 TFL) is the heart and soul of
 the defense, but there are question marks elsewhere. Outside linebacker
 Griffen Dahlstrom showed flashes last year as a junior (48 tackles, 7.0 for
 loss), although he lacked consistency. The secondary is deep and experienced,
 albeit not terribly productive.
 
 SPECIAL TEAMS: Redshirt senior kicker Mitch Ewald is back after converting 15-
 of-20 field goals. He was 5-of-7 from 40-49 yards, with a long of 46 yards.
 Tevin Coleman sparked the kick return game with an average of 23.6 yards,
 including a 96-yard TD. He may give up that job though, if he ends up with a
 larger role on offense.
 
 OUTLOOK: While there are certainly more than a few unknowns with the roster
 heading into the season, the real question facing the Hoosiers is, can the
 defense catch up to the offense? Count coach Wilson as someone who thinks that
 will happen.
 
 "We're getting more physical. We have a lot of kids now that are going into
 their third year of playing because we played 16 freshmen two years ago, 11
 freshmen last year," he said. "We've got 19 starters back. ... We've got a lot
 of guys back."
 
 So, is a bowl game in the cards? The team will likely put enough points on the
 board to notch the necessary six wins. The schedule features eight home games,
 which includes the likes of Navy, Bowling Green, Minnesota, Illinois and
 Purdue. While they may not be quite ready to contend for the Leaders Division
 crown, the Hoosiers figure to take another step forward in 2013.
 
 
 
 08/20 10:49:34 ET