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Tuesday, April 23
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

COLUMN: Indiana football’s offense desperately needs balance

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Halfway through its season, Indiana resides with a 3-3 record, perfectly average. However, how the Hoosiers have gotten to this point is far from average and has been a concern since week one.  

While there have been plenty of concerns, consistency is Indiana’s most prevalent issue. Most problematic of all, the Hoosiers have found a way to be inconsistent in different ways in different times. 

To put it simply, the Hoosiers just can’t put together a complete game. I’m no expert, but as far as I know, only playing one good half of football severely decreases a team’s chances of winning. 

In three of the Hoosiers’ non-conference contests, they were outscored by opponents 58-20 in the first half. I don’t have to be an expert to tell you how bad that is. 

In those three games, the Hoosiers outscored their opponents 72-39 in the second half and earned a record of 2-1. I’m not quite sure how, but they did it. 

Recognizing this problem, one would think the team would have a stronger emphasis to start games strong. And that’s exactly what Indiana did. 

In their three Big Ten matchups, the Hoosiers have outscored opponents 47-41 in the first half, albeit the six points in favor of Indiana came in week one. This is a much-needed correction. 

[Related: COLUMN: Indiana football flirts with an all-time upset, lets it slip through the cracks]

Indiana, a proven second half team, surely went on to have big second halves and win, right? Not in the slightest. 

The Hoosiers were outscored 45-7 in the second half against Big Ten opponents, and those seven points came in week one against now-No. 24 Illinois. Indiana has a 1-2 record in conference play. 

Like many other things with this Indiana team, such as the offensive line hardly blocking or the run game presenting a minimal threat to opponents, winning isn’t an option if this model is sustained.  

The Hoosiers don’t need to play perfectly — no one does. Inconsistency can be managed too. 

However, it’s much harder to manage inconsistency when it’s as extreme as Indiana’s is — and as predictable as Indiana’s is. 

The bottom line is if the Hoosiers have a bowl game on their minds, going an entire half scoreless isn’t going to get them to six wins — especially with the schedule they have remaining. 

How can this be fixed? I have a couple suggestions for what it’s worth. 

Indiana’s offense needs to slow down. Yes, offensive coordinator Walt Bell’s no-huddle can be effective at times, but it just can’t be maintained throughout a game. 

The Hoosiers run the quickest offense in the Football Bowl Subdivision with 3.23 plays per minute. All this does is give the defense more chances to score when it doesn’t work.  

While easier said than done, the offense needs to be more balanced. Most teams know Indiana is throwing the ball, which makes game planning against Indiana easy. 

If the run game can become a threat, not only would the team be more consistent, but the no-huddle would also be more effective.  

Saturday’s game against Maryland seems to be a make-or-break game for Indiana. One of their few winnable games remaining, the Hoosiers need to capitalize.  

Follow reporters Garrett Newman (@GarrettNewman20) and Jacob Spudich (@spudichjacob) and columnist Will Foley (@foles24) for updates throughout the Indiana football season. 
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