QB Kellen Lewis (PHOTO: IU Athletics)

2007 Statistics

Coach: Bill Lynch
7-6, 1 year
2007 Record: 7-6
at Western Michigan WON 37-27
at Iowa WON 38-20
at Michigan State LOST 27-52
at Wisconsin LOST 3-33
at Northwestern LOST 28-31
Oklahoma State LOST 33-49


2007 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2008 Outlook

The emotional nature of Indiana’s 2007 season made their first winning record since 1994 (and subsequently, their first bowl appearance since 1993) that much more special. Conjuring the spiritual guidance of recently passed coach Terry Hoeppner, former OC Bill Lynch evidently took his mentor’s lessons to the next level.

The lessons for this year have been compounded by the installation of the no-huddle wrinkle for their spread attack. Statistically a run-first offense, QB Kellen Lewis has the elusive ground style needed to pull defenders out of their comfort zone(s). Coaches will be looking for him to make more short passes to whoever has the biggest mismatch. Already strong in his decision-making, Lewis’s junior year should bring more firepower and therefore more wins. Only five foes held IU under 30 points in ’07, a number that will shrink even more.

If the defensive improvements that have steadily been found each incremental season can continue, the fact that the Hoosier defense is now close to as good as their offense will go the farthest toward increasing the ‘W’ total. The front seven seem poised for a special showing, and if the CB play is consistently strong, look out.

The schedule is an easy one, considering there won’t be Ohio State or Michigan with which to deal. The first four are here in Bloomington, but Ball State and Western Kentucky will reveal whether Indiana has risen to their given BCS level, or if the Hoosiers are still wallowing in the same mediocrity that had plagued the program over the past decade. The second half of their slate looks more challenging, but nothing that this Indiana squad can’t handle.

This is a set of foes that can be ridden to a ten-win season. Don’t be surprised if/when Indiana breaks through, and a season like this will be looked back upon as the stepping-stone to a new winning era. Hoeppner built the foundation, and all that coach Lynch has to do now is keep that momentum going. In this era of parity, it should be the Hoosier’s turn next to ride their current, well-procured talent levels into the polls.

Projected 2008 record: 7-5
QB - 4 DL - 2.5
RB - 3 LB - 3
WR - 3.5 DB - 2.5
OL - 3 ..
2007 Statistical Rankings
Total Off:
Sacks Allow:
Total Def:

Passing: Kellen Lewis, 265-442-10, 3043 yds., 28 TD

Rushing: Kellen Lewis, 147 att., 736 yds., 9 TD

Receiving: Ray Fisher, 52 rec., 482 yds., 4 TD

Scoring: Austin Starr, 21-23 FG, 48-48 PAT, 111 pts.

Punting: None

Kicking: Austin Starr, 21-23 FG, 48-48 PAT, 111 pts.

Tackles: Austin Thomas, 112 tot., 64 solo

Sacks: Greg Middleton, 16 sacks

Interceptions: Chris Phillips, 3 for 58 yds., 1 TD

Kickoff returns: Marcus Thigpen, 18 ret., 22.9 avg., 0 TD

Punt returns: None


DB Austin Thomas (PHOTO: IU Athletics)


OFFENSE: Josiah Sears-FB, Nick Sexton-TE, Ben Wyss-C, John Sandberg-OG, Charlie Emerson-OT, James Hardy-WR (NFL)
DEFENSE: Joe Kremer-DT, Adam McClurg-MLB, Tracy Porter-CB, Leslie Majors-CB, Michael Hines-P

Bill Lynch got his QB back from off-season suspension just in time to fine-tune the offense with its chosen field general in place. The new variations on the spread will be a no-huddle wrinkle that takes time to master. This is especially vital since junior Kellen Lewis missed spring ball entirely. The hurry-up aspect now means shorter passes based on how foes match up when they initially come to the line of scrimmage. Lewis’s happy feet will come in handy; laterally developing read plays can feature his excellent decision making skills while he buys time. As a soph, Lewis had 28 TDs and just 10 INTs, so expectations in his junior year are big. Ben Chappell is nothing special on paper, but he proved in Lewis’s absence this spring that he can run this offense rather well.

The two returning backs both have increased roles in the new offense. That is, if Thigpen and Payton can hold off the wanna-be’s. McCray is fast but needs to prove durability after an early injury had him sidelined for most of 2007. The big-fast combination runner is true frosh Darius Willis, and many think he just has to show some of that sprinter’s speed in pads at this level to become the next great Golden Eagle runner. Single-back sets are popular here, so a player of Willis’s stature helps in QB protection and on other blocking assignments.

WR Ray Fisher already is the underneath receiver that will thrive in this new look. Means is a solid hunk of receiver for those laterally developing plays that need outside blocking. Turner and Walker-Roby look like legitimate deep threats to replace ‘go to’ guy James Hardy. There will be no problem finding targets. The tight ends (really, the entire receiving corps) will be bolstered by Max Dedmond’s presence; Dedmond is equally skilled at blocking and catching, so he can stay in more often and not telegraph the play call.

Injuries took their toll along the line this off-season. LT Saffold suffered a hamstring pull that has him still playing less than 100%, and RT Mike Stark’s back injury means he won’t be the prime starter for which he’s been groomed. Saxon has shoulder troubles, but his consistency is already established and his return to full strength is imminent. The real key is new soph Alex Perry taking over at center; his bulked up look has the ex-OT poised to command this line. Worries include whether the injury bug will mean guys shifting here and there to compensate, thus keeping the line from gelling. In a no-huddle spread, the OL has to know its job, or else the entire rhythm of the offensive flow will suffer.


K Austin Starr (PHOTO: IU Athletics)


Returning Starters in bold
QB Kellen Lewis-Jr (6-1, 185) Ben Chappell-So (6-3, 232)
RB Marcus Thigpen-Sr (5-9, 199) Bryan Payton-Jr (5-9, 205)
WR Terrance Turner-So (6-3, 200) Collin Taylor-Jr (6-0, 198)
WR Andrew Means-Jr (6-0, 215) Matt Ernest-Fr (6-2, 187)
WR Ray Fisher-Jr (5-9, 172) Brandon Walker-Roby-Sr (5-11, 195)
TE Troy Wagner-Jr (6-5, 255) Max Dedmond-Fr (6-5, 240)
OT Rodger Saffold-Jr (6-5, 306) Andrew McDonald-Fr (6-5, 280)
OG Pete Saxon-Jr (6-6, 310) Jarrod Smith-So (6-4, 300)
C Alex Perry-So (6-7, 300) Dan Rutigliano-Fr (6-3, 300)
OG Cody Faulkner-So (6-5, 315) Dennis Zeigler-Fr (6-7, 350)
OT Mike Stark-So (6-7, 300) James Brewer-So (6-8, 340)
K Austin Starr-Sr (6-3, 204) Nick Ford-So (5-9, 205)



The defense has been consistently iffy, which is to say that the last three years has seen mixed results. Optimistically, only two teams went over the 40-point mark in ’07 (three did it in ’06 and six in ’05); the average points allowed per game went down from 32 to 28. Most important is how the run stopping numbers have steadily gotten better under co-coordinators Brian George (DL) and Joe Palcic (CBs), as well as the pass efficiency defense also gaining momentum. The play is being kept in front of the Hoosier defenders, and it’s working for better results. The nation’s sack leader is back, and Greg Middleton is a sure first round pick with his tireless engine and open field tackling ability. One-third of his efforts will again be TFLs/sacks (only one TFL wasn’t a sack in ’07) since bookend Jammie Kilrew is just as dangerous. Greg Brown is sandwiched between these two, both position-wise and in his tackle total from last year. Mack will have to hold off the Burrus brothers, and Keith has nice numbers to assure him reps (Kevin is more 300+ girth inside). Marando is the other key reserve, and the entire DL rotation should keep those steady improvements coming. If the run stuffing can match the pressure on opposing QBs, this can be an elite line.

Matt Mayberry is the new MLB stud. His athleticism is refreshing, so now we wonder if his work ethic can match that of ex-MLB Adam McClurg. Geno Johnson is an all-around type, but as an ex-safety, he seems best suited for coverage. The all-around tag fits junior Will Patterson, too, who has a nose for the ball. This corps is deep (Darius Johnson, no relation to Geno) and should be expandable to help wherever needed.

The corners appear secured, but coverage schemes will be evaluated weekly in an effort to get the two best Hoosiers the start. If Chris Phillips can even partially match his amazing stat line as a reserve (12 tackles, one sack, three INTs, four passes broken up, and three forced fumbles), Indiana will make even more strides. Having to replace both starters on the outside doesn’t have coaches panicked any more with Phillips emerging. That will mean Donnell Jones gets lots of attention until he can earn respect. This is a double-edged sword since yards will be gained against him, but Jones’s upside will kick in eventually with this St. Pete native’s raw talent. Depth here is good, as is the depth found behind incumbents Polk (free) and Thomas (strong). Thomas and Polk are why the defensive pass efficiency rating excelled, and ex-WR Polk has more to prove after his initial year in the Indiana secondary means he hasn’t shown his entire worth (really, it was Polk’s second spring on this side of the ball, but his first real game reps at FS were in 2007). Ex-kicker Kleinsmith has nickel written all over him. This defense can be special with so many returning starters.


DE Greg Middleton (PHOTO: IU Athletics)


Returning Starters in bold
DE Jammie Kirlew-Jr (6-3, 266) Ryan Marando-Sr (6-2, 251)
DT Greg Brown-Sr (6-2, 300) Keith Burrus-Jr (6-3, 285)
NT Deonte Mack-So (6-3, 282) Kevin Burrus-Jr (6-2, 312)
DE Greg Middleton-Jr (6-3, 275) Fred Jones-Fr (6-4, 265)
SLB Geno Johnson-Sr (6-2, 220) Darius Johnson-Fr (6-0, 235)
MLB Matt Mayberry-Jr (6-2, 236) Tyler Replogle-So (6-2, 235)
BUCK William Patterson-Jr (6-1, 235) Justin Carrington-Jr (6-0, 225)
CB Richard Council-So (6-1, 188) Chris Adkins-Fr (6-1, 185)
CB Chris Phillips-Sr (6-0, 195) Donnell Jones-Fr (5-10, 205)
SS Austin Thomas-Jr (6-2, 200) Brandon Mosley-Sr (5-8, 204)
FS Nick Polk-Jr (6-0, 215) Joe Kleinsmith-Sr (5-11, 195)
P Chris Hagerup-Fr (6-5, 207) Joe Kleinsmith-Sr (5-11, 195)




Austin Starr will continue to fulfill his namesake – going 21-for-23 gets the job done. Foes beware: new punter Hagerup is also a decent QB to go with his huge leg. Fisher and Thigpen as return men assure at least one will eventually come back to the house.