Indiana is among the Big Ten's deepest teams at the offensive skill positions, but a young, talented offensive line returning four starters might have been the unit's biggest reason for optimism.
Make that three returning starters.
The Hoosiers' line has suffered a significant blow as right guard Dan Feeney will miss the entire 2013 season after suffering a right foot injury in last week's scrimmage. Head coach Kevin Wilson said Tuesday that Feeney has a Lisfranc fracture and will undergo surgery.
Feeney and tackle Jason Spriggs both set team freshman records in 2012 by starting all 12 games. Feeney, an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection, didn't allow a sack in 935 snaps and finished second on the team in knockdowns with 54.
Indiana still has good depth up front and likely will turn to sophomore Jake Reed to fill Feeney's spot. But Feeney and Spriggs had been pegged by many to lead the line this fall. Feeney's absence could sting.
The 6-4, 310-pound Feeney has a redshirt year available and will retain three years of eligibility.