For the primary time in 2023, sport week has arrived for Indiana soccer.
The Hoosiers take the sphere at Memorial Stadium on Saturday in opposition to No. 3 Ohio State. After 4 weeks of fall camp, IU strikes into game-prep mode to tackle one of many high groups within the nation.
Head coach Tom Allen, co-defensive coordinator Matt Guerrieri, and offensive coordinator Walt Bell met with the media Monday for his or her first weekly press convention of the season to debate their squad and the upcoming battle with OSU.
Listed here are a couple of notable issues they mentioned.
Working again rotation
Indiana’s operating backs, together with large receivers, are one of many extra gifted teams on the staff.
It helps that the operating again room accommodates All-American returner Jaylin Lucas, maybe probably the most dynamic playmaker the Hoosiers have. Josh Henderson completed third on the staff in receiving final season, and led IU with eight mixed speeding and receiving touchdowns. Wake Forest switch Christian Turner steps into the backfield image after Shaun Shivers graduated.
Bell was requested Monday how the rotation of these three gamers might play out, with Lucas seeing time at slot receiver and potential formations with two operating backs on the sphere collectively. However Bell advised Indiana’s backfield may need one other title to look at.
“The factor with Jaylin is, he’s a man who can actually play everywhere in the soccer area. Josh has actually good ball abilities. Christian has performed loads of actually priceless reps. Trent Howland is a giant, thick bodily child. So that you’ve bought three or 4 guys there that you simply really feel actually comfy with,” Bell stated. “(We) really feel actually good about all 4 of these backs. For us, (the rotation is) simply sport plan-driven, formation-driven. What can we do to create house touches for (Lucas)? How can we ensure that … not solely he’s getting the ball, however when he does possess the ball, it’s in the best spots, so he will be at his finest? However we’re enthusiastic about all 4 of these guys, and excited for Saturday.”
Howland — 6-foot-3, 240 kilos — is Indiana’s largest operating again, by a large margin. He’s constructed like a linebacker, and he runs like one — he’s a bruiser. This was evident in camp, nevertheless it was unclear if IU would make use of him this yr with all the opposite expertise within the room. However given Bell’s reply, it’s not onerous to see the Hoosiers utilizing Howland in short-yardage conditions.
Making ready for 2 quarterbacks
Indiana shouldn’t be the one staff taking part in at Memorial Stadium on Saturday with a publicly unresolved quarterback competitors.
The Hoosiers named their beginning quarterback internally, however usually are not asserting their resolution earlier than the sport. However Ohio State has additionally but to announce who will begin at quarterback.
Buckeyes junior Kyle McCord and redshirt freshman Devin Brown have been battling for the beginning job relationship again to spring ball — equally as Brendan Sorsby and Tayven Jackson have at IU. OSU’s uncertainty at quarterback creates challenges for Indiana’s protection in making ready for the sport.
And Allen stated the Hoosiers are planning as if each McCord and Brown will play.
“The unknown to me, when you concentrate on quarterback-wise, we’ve had — I feel it’s not very many occasions we’ve had a quarterback that we don’t actually know quite a bit about. It’s important to return to highschool movie for each of those guys. So I feel that makes it distinctive,” Allen stated. “They’re additionally totally different quarterbacks as effectively. They’ve totally different talent units. Each can throw the ball extraordinarily effectively, and one’s extra athletic than the opposite one is. From a operating perspective, each can elude issues. That creates challenges with out query, however we’re making ready for that. We’re making ready for each.”
Guerrieri joined IU within the offseason after spending 2022 as an analyst with the Buckeyes, so he has some extra familiarity with their system. And that’s a base data he’s leaning on as he and the defensive workers construct a sport plan for McCord, Brown, or each.
However Guerrieri stated that as a result of the coaches had a complete offseason to consider this sport, preparation for the quarterback potentialities gained’t take away from different issues IU must concentrate on.
“Holistically, you understand how a system has functioned for quite a few years. And then you definately attempt to finest guess what you see on movie, what these guys who do finest and the way these issues might be featured from that standpoint,” Guerrieri stated. “Different occasions in a gameplan week when we’ve a shorter period of time and you’ve got two drastically several types of gamers, you possibly can say, ‘What’s the plan for this versus the plan for that,’ and it generally these packages should be tighter due to that. You possibly can’t simply smear possibly your complete protection over every part from that standpoint. However in a gap sport, it’s, ‘What’s the general method? What’s the flavour of every particular person participant?’ And also you finest assault from there. You’ve got loads of time in the summertime to plan these issues.”
And right here’s the kicker
IU’s most distinguished place battle was clearly at quarterback.
However one other place left up within the air has been kicker. After Charles Campbell transferred to Tennessee, the Hoosiers want a brand new beginning placekicker for the primary time since 2020.
And all through fall camp, redshirt sophomore Chris Freeman and true freshman Nico Radicic have competed for the job. Freeman was IU’s kickoff specialist final season, and Allen confirmed Monday he might be in that function once more. Radicic was not in Bloomington for spring ball, however the Coppell, Tex. native is an acclaimed prospect — he was rated because the No. 3 kicker within the class of 2023 by 247Sports.
Allen stated the Hoosiers now have beginning placekicker, and the gamers know the choice. However, identical to with quarterback, he declined to publicly title a starter earlier than the Ohio State sport.
And Allen didn’t shut down the potential for utilizing a number of placekickers relying on the sphere purpose distance and sport scenario.
“The sphere objectives themselves is the place we’re nonetheless form of working by. I feel it might be a scenario the place it’s distance-driven primarily based on sure elements of the sphere, totally different areas the place guys are higher at, even places, hashes, and possibly extra most likely distance than something,” Allen stated. “I be ok with the a number of choices we’ve. Each Chris and Nico have actually executed effectively. I really feel like these guys have put themselves in place to be prepared when referred to as upon. We’ll most likely let the scenario dictate that.”
The Every day Hoosier –“The place Indiana followers assemble once they’re not at Meeting”