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Friday, April 11, 2014
Spring game preview: Indiana

By Brian Bennett

Ten league squads wrap up spring practice this weekend, and we’re taking a look at each spring game or scrimmage. Next up: Indiana.

When: 3 p.m. ET Saturday

Where: Memorial Stadium

Admission: Free. Fans are asked to enter the East side of the stadium and to sit in the East stands. Gates 4, 5 and 6 will be open. There will be a youth clinic from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. for kids 12 and a pre-game tailgate party from 1:30 to 2:45 p.m., with free food for the first 3,000 fans in attendance or while supplies last.

TV: Streamed live on BTN2Go.com.

Weather forecast: Mostly sunny, with a high near 76.

What to watch for: Coach Kevin Wilson will have the seniors draft teams this afternoon, though he said some players could end up playing for both the Crimson and Cream squads at times. This won't actually be the end of Indiana's spring session, as the Hoosiers will have one more practice next week.

IU has the kind of explosive offense that can make the spring game fun, and since Nate Sudfeld and Tre Roberson still are virtually even, both teams in the game are guaranteed to have a good quarterback. Wilson is looking for some wide receivers to step forward and replace the production of departed top targets Cody Latimer, Kofi Hughes and Ted Bolser. Shane Wynn has moved from slot to the outside this spring and will be one of the go-to guys, but most everyone else is unproven and still needs to learn how to make the tough, competitive catches. The tight end position has been hampered by injuries this spring.

But scoring and moving the ball shouldn't be a problem for the Hoosiers. Fans want to know if the defense, which has struggled mightily for three years under Wilson, has made any strides. There's a new boss on that side of the ball in Brian Knorr, who will use a 3-4 base that incorporates several different looks and fronts. Ten starters are back on defense, though safeties Mark Murphy and Antonio Allen have been held out of contact work this spring, creating reps for youngsters there. The Indiana defense has some beef up front and improving group of linebackers, but it still has a whole lot to prove.

That's why this is one instance where a low-scoring spring game might actually provide some optimism, because if the Hoosiers can stop their own offense, that's saying something.