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Indiana Hoosiers Football Preview: Does 2015 tell us anything heading towards 2016?

Kevin Wilson knew that 2015 was a key year to his tenure in charge of the Indiana Hoosiers football program. With a fan base turning out in better numbers than ever before, improved facilities and improved recruiting all the pieces were there for the Hoosiers to make a leap.

Did that happen in 2015? We’ll let the good, the bad and the ugly be the judge of just how things went down for Wilson and Co. before we look ahead to the 2016 season in the coming days.

 

The Good

In many respects the 2015 season was a make or break one for Kevin Wilson, as he entered his fifth year at the helm. Getting to .500 was the minimum goal or Wilson was likely on his way out thanks to a renewed push to make football relevant in Bloomington, Ind. once again.

One may not call 6-6 relevant, but for a Hoosiers program lacking any real history in football it certainly would’ve been about as relevant as possible. It was exactly what happened to Wilson and the Hoosiers football program, and it meant the first bowl game appearance since the Insight Bowl in 2007.

If that isn’t good news, it’s hard to say what else you would’ve wanted from this program.

 

The Bad

My god…that defense. If we had a category for “the awful” that may apply better to the 2015 Hoosiers defense. They gave up a Big Ten worst 37.6 points per game, good enough for a paltry 117th nationally as well.

However, what else is new under Kevin Wilson’s tenure as a head coach? After all, he’s gone through defensive coordinators like water as of late. But, the 3-4 defense that was installed by Brian Knorr simply never took off.

The numbers were bad across the board for a defense that wasn’t exactly lacking in terms of experience or increased recruiting numbers. Instead, his team gave up 195.6 rushing yards per game (13th in B1G), 313.8 passing yards (14th in B1G) and 509.5 total yards (14th in B1G) of offense last year alone.

One can’t get much worse than that grouping of numbers on the defensive side of the ball.

The Ugly

This has nothing to do with anything this team did or didn’t do in 2015, rather the ugliest thing of the Hoosiers season was the way it lost to the Duke Blue Devils in the Pinstripe Bowl to kick off the Big Ten portion of bowl season.

While the record books will tell you it was a 44-41 loss to Duke, it should’ve been anything but a loss. That’s because a field goal that was called no good was about as clearly good as possible upon replay.

It’s just too bad the rule book doesn’t allow for replay on those calls, and it doesn’t appear those calls will be allowed to be replayed in 2016 either.

What is Means for 2016

There seems to be more confidence out of this program, and that comes with an ability to finally plug and play when losing key parts to previous season’s successes. However, that will certainly be challenged in 2016 with the departures of quarterback Nate Sudfeld, star offensive tackle Jason Spriggs and leading rusher Jordan Howard to name just a few.

With the bowl game monkey off the back of Wilson and the coaching staff, the hope now is to build off that experience and turn this team in to a consistent bowl team for the first time in program history. It will be a challenge given the division they are in and the players lost, but if 2015 was any example this team knows exactly how to plug and play just about anywhere on the field.

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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