The Indiana Football Spring Game Guide

The annual Cream & Crimson Indiana University football spring game is on Saturday, April 14th at noon.

Due to the weather forecast, the game will be played indoors in the Mellencamp Pavilion and will be closed to the public.  The game will be available for live streaming on BTN2Go.

IU assistant coaches Brandon Shelby and Mike Hart will serve as the head coaches for the Cream and Crimson teams, respectively.  The teams were selected via a draft and a supplemental free agency process.  Below you can see Tom Allen’s preview, the roster for each team along with Shelby and Hart’s thoughts, and our analysis on the key things to look for as the Hoosiers wrap-up their spring session.

TOM ALLEN’S SPRING OVERVIEW AND GAME PREVIEW

IU Head Coach Tom Allen discusses what the team accomplished during the spring and shares his thoughts on Saturday’s game.  He also goes in depth on graduate transfer quarterback Brandon Dawkins and the quarterback competition.

THE CREAM TEAM

The Cream squad will be led by freshman quarterback Michael Penix.  Some of the other notable names on the Cream team to look for include Ricky Brookins (RB), Andre Brown, Jr. (DB), Harry Crider (OL), Bryant Fitzgerald (DB), J-Shun Harris II (WR), Reakown Jones (LB), Brandon Knight (OL), Mike Majette (RB), Michael McGinnis (LB), Whop Philyor (WR), Ryan Watercutter (TE).

You can watch coach Brandon Shelby’s preview of the contest here:

You can see the complete Cream roster here.

THE CRIMSON TEAM

The Crimson team will be led by redshirt sophomore quarterback Peyton Ramsey.  Some of the other notable names on the Crimson team to look for include Marcelino Ball (DB), Mike Barwick, Jr. (DL), Jonathan Crawford (DB), Coy Cronk (OL), Cole Gest (RB), Donovan Hale (WR), Nick Linder (OL), Wes Martin (OL), A’Shon Riggins (DB), Jacob Robinson (DL), Nile Sykes (DL), Luke Timian (WR), Ronnie Walker, Jr. (RB), Kiante Walton (LB) and Nick Westbrook (WR).

Note – Morgan Ellison (RB) is also on the Crimson roster but is not expected to play with a leg injury.

You can watch coach Mike Hart’s preview of the contest here:

You can see the complete Crimson roster here.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

QUARTERBACKS:  It is generally the most important position on the field and this time it also happens to be the most intriguing positional battle.  It was already going to be fun to watch before the Hoosiers added Dawkins.  Now it is anyone’s guess between Dawkins, Ramsey and Penix.  The true freshman Penix is the one that we are the most excited to see.  He put up amazing numbers in high school.  Now we’ll get our first glimpse into whether that will translate to the next level.

RUNNING BACKS:  Indiana has loads of talent coming back with Ellison, Gest and Majette leading the way.  As the highest rated recruit in IU’s 2018 class, Walker will be interesting to watch on Saturday.  Can he break through as a freshman?  Coupled with running quarterbacks and a veteran line, IU looks primed to put up big numbers on the ground.

WIDE RECEIVERS:  There will be big shoes to fill with Simmie Cobbs headed to the NFL, but Indiana has a lot of skilled receivers coming back.  Westbrook, Philyor, Timian, Harris, and Hale are the expected leaders.  Westbrook will be the most intriguing to watch on Saturday, as he is coming off an injury.  If he can return to his 2016 form he should emerge as the top target.

TIGHT ENDS:  Ian Thomas leaves a big hole to fill.  The overall competition will be interesting on Saturday to see if anyone shines. Look for Austin Dorris, Peyton Hendershot, and Shaun Bonner to compete with Watercutter.  Does any of them have the speed to be a deep threat down the seam?  We may not see it on Saturday, but with running quarterbacks, a reliable safety valve will also be important.  Watercutter seems primed for that role with his good hands.

OFFENSIVE LINE:  Indiana has 14 offensive linemen returning from last year’s team.  The big question is whether this unit can go from experienced to dominant.  With talented running backs, and quarterbacks with good legs, the Hoosiers will need this O-line to clear the paths, especially against the Big Ten East.  The starters will be split-up on Saturday, so it may be difficult to evaluate the group collectively.

DEFENSIVE LINE:  This will be an interesting position to watch.  IU had big losses on the D-line, but also has a good core of experienced guys in Robinson, Barwick and Sykes.  Can anyone beyond these three guys make a splash against IU’s experienced offensive line?  The Hoosiers will be looking for depth.

LINEBACKERS:  The Hoosiers will have to replace two NFL-combine caliber starters in Tegray Scales and Chris Covington.  With this position being so key to Tom Allen’s defense, this is the number one question mark on the defense.  Who is going to have the speed and skills to step-up and get into the backfield and protect the sidelines?  Keep an eye on McGinnis, Jones, and Walton.  Tom Allen’s son Thomas will also play for the Crimson team.

DEFENSIVE BACKS/HUSKY:  Similar to the D-line, there is a mix of big losses and quality returning talent here.  The most interesting player to watch on Saturday will be Marcelino Ball.  The ultra-athletic Ball played a big role as a freshman before missing most of his second season due to injury.  He has three years of eligibility remaining.  Crawford, Riggins, Brown and Raheem Layne form a good core, but Indiana will need to find depth.  Fitzgerald will be another name to watch after a frustrating NCAA situation cost him an entire season.

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Main photo credit – USA Today Sports

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