Spring football is underway in Bloomington, Indiana, with Tom Allen beginning his third spring as the head coach of the Indiana Hoosiers. After two straight seasons of falling just shy of bowl eligibility, Allen and the Hoosiers are working to get over that last hurdle. This spring the goal will be to continue working on what has and checking off boxes on a number of areas that could use some improvement.
5 Storylines to Watch During Indiana’s Spring Practice
1. A quarterback battle royale?
At first glance, you may think two-year starter Peyton Ramsey has little to worry about. After completing 66.0 of his passes for 2,875 yards and 19 touchdowns last season, that's a fair assumption to make, although it may be misguided. Michael Penix is continuing to recover from a torn ACL and the with Utah transfer and former four-star recruit Jack Tuttle getting in the mix, there could be some competition. It is unknown if Tuttle will be eligible to play this fall until the NCAA rules on his status, but the competition begins now.
2. Rebuilding the offensive line
Regardless of who ends up being the quarterback for the Hoosiers, another question is who will be protecting him? Indiana lost three starters to graduation, which leaves a handful of jobs up for grabs beginning this spring. One name to watch might be early enrollee Matt Bedford, who could take advantage of the practice time to start building his case for a starting job in the future. The good news in Bloomington is the offensive line position is fairly deep, relatively speaking.
3. New offensive coordinator Kalen DeBoer gets to work
Indiana added DeBoer to take on the role of offensive coordinator this season with the hope he brings the same kind of improvement he previously brought to Fresno State. Given how Indiana performed through the air last season, the Hoosiers and DeBoer feel like a good fit but the combination of a quarterback battle and a new offensive coordinator is certainly something to keep an eye on in Bloomington.
4. Big concerns on the defensive line
Similar to the offensive line, the defensive line loses a good amount of talent this season and there will be competition for starting jobs beginning this spring. However, the defensive line may not be quite as deep as the offensive line. There are some good young pieces that could step up, however, including redshirt freshmen Jonathan King and Gavin McCabe.
5. Start focusing on third-down defense now
Indiana was one of four teams in the Big Ten that allowed opponents to convert at least 40 percent of their third downs last season. The only defenses that fared worse on third down in the conference belonged to Nebraska, Illinois, and Rutgers. Setting the tone to tighten things up with a reworked defensive line and taking some of the pressure off of a solid secondary should begin now for the Hoosiers. A slight improvement could end up being what it takes to lift Indiana from back-to-back 5-7 seasons to a bowl trip at the end of the upcoming campaign.
— Written by Kevin McGuire, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. McGuire also contributes to College Football Talk and The Comeback as well as hosts the No 2-Minute Warning Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @KevinOnCFB and Like him on Facebook.