Indiana received devastating injury news over the weekend to an already suspect offensive line.
Starting offensive tackle Matthew Bedford is out for the season, head coach Tom Allen announced on Monday at a press conference. The Cordova, Tenn. product was injured in the first half of IU’s Friday night season opening win against Illinois.
“I feel for him and he’s an amazing young man,” Allen said. “He has got an unbelievable attitude about it. And in talking with him, he’s going to have a great recovery and come back and play his final season a year from now.”
Bedford has been a starter on the offensive line since his 2019 freshman season. He has appeared in 29 games with 28 starts since his arrival in Bloomington. He has started eight times at right guard, left tackle, and right tackle, and three at left guard.
Coming out of the halftime locker room, Bedford tested his injury on the sideline. He had a noticeable limp and eventually the realization hit on the field he could not play. But Bedford never left the sideline and stayed in his uniform with full pads the entire game. He could be seen on the sideline encouraging his teammates throughout the second half.
“Reality is is that it’s part of this game, you know, and you hate it for him and for our team,” Allen said. “But next man up, you know. And that’s what happens.”
Bedford started at tackle in 2019 after veteran Coy Cronk went down with an early season injury. Allen admitted on Monday that they didn’t believe Bedford was ready at the time, but he filled in admirably and hasn’t left the starting lineup since. On Friday night it was another player without experience at the FBS level who filled in for Bedford.
Division Two transfer Parker Hanna played right tackle after Bedford’s injury. Allen says his expectation is that Hanna will retain that starting spot on Saturday when Indiana faces Idaho.
“I thought he (Hanna) did a lot of positive things without question. He’s very smart. He’s played a lot of football. Not at this level. But the good news is he got a chance to play 44 snaps against a really good (Illinois) defensive line and a good scheme.”
Allen said no other injuries suffered during the game were season-ending. Defensive veterans Cam Jones and Devon Matthews both left the game with injuries, although Jones returned.
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