IU football returns key offensive contributors
By Evan Hoopfer
Ohio State, Nebraska and Northwestern averaged more points per game than the Hoosiers. IU’s offense was proficient in total yards, with only Nebraska averaging more per game.
IU was far and away the best passing team in the conference, averaging 311.2 yards per game through the air, 38 more yards per game than Penn State, which averaged the second most in the conference.
Looking forward to this year, will the prolific numbers continue, or will IU’s offensive production fall back to the middle of the pack?
Looking at the amount of production coming back to the program this year, evidence suggests the Hoosier offense will carry on just fine.
As mentioned earlier, IU’s offense was fourth in points per game in the conference. With the three teams who were ahead of the Hoosiers, IU has the most production coming back this year.
As far as passing goes, junior Cam Coffman, sophomore Tre Roberson and sophomore Nate Sudfeld all saw time at quarterback last year. All are returning.
On the ground IU returns 99.9 percent of its production. The only player not on the roster this year who recorded any yardage last year is running back David Blackwell, who amassed one yard.
Comparing figures with other prolific conference opponents, Ohio State is returning 98.7 percent of its rushing yardage, Northwestern 94 percent and Nebraska returns the least amount with 71.1 percent coming back.
IU is getting back many key components in its passing game as well. The Hoosiers return junior wide receiver Cody Latimer, who was named to the Biletnikoff Award watch list earlier this week, the award given annually to the nation’s top
Junior Shane Wynn, who led the team with 68 receptions, will lace up his cleats once again for the cream and crimson this fall. So will seniors Kofi Hughes and Ted Bolser. Bolser is on the preseason watch list for the Mackey Award, given to the country’s best tight end.
IU returns 95 percent of its total receiving yards from last year. This figure is once again the best among the conference’s top four offenses last season.
This does not mean the Hoosiers are guaranteed to have the conference’s best offense. Many variables affect offenses and are impossible to measure through this
However, as far as returning key skill position players go, IU is in the driver’s seat in that category.
Each of the four teams examined are bringing back their primary and secondary quarterbacks. So IU has no experience advantage there.
However, in total rushing and receiving yards coming back this year, the Hoosiers will be one of the most seasoned Big Ten teams.
IU loses 3.51 percent of skill player yardage production to graduation. This is the most impressive figure out of the four teams examined. Northwestern loses 6.94 percent, Ohio State loses 7.14 percent and Nebraska has the most to replace, losing 27.93 percent of receiving and rushing yard production.
Whether IU’s offense will be as formidable as it was last year is yet to be seen. But one thing will is certain, IU’s skill position players have all been there before.