June 20, 2006

Can Hoosiers take the next step in 2006?

The Indiana football team heads into the 2006 once again brimming with confidence. With enthusiastic Head Coach Terry Hoeppner at the helm, it's become one of the defining characteristics of the IU program. But outsiders repeatedly ask the same question -- how long can the Hoosiers sustain that confidence and enthusiasm under Hoeppner before a lack of victories dampens their resolve?

Last season in their first year under Hoeppner, the Hoosiers showed that enthusiasm and confidence can go a long way as they busted out of the gates to a 4-1 start. People around Indiana suddenly began taking a longer look at Memorial Stadium on Saturdays, but just as the fan support was beginning to blossom the Hoosiers hit the Big Ten season like a brick wall.

Injuries, a lack of depth, and a persistent disparity in talent level led the Hoosiers to limp through the end of their season by losing their last six games and finish just short of bowl eligibility. While the seniors were disappointed with their finish, they were able to take pride in the fact that they were able to lay the foundation for winning football at IU.

But can the Hoosiers take another step forward this year?

Ask any member of the team or the coaching staff and they will quickly tell you yes, but the challenges the team will face this year are multi-faceted. Despite an additional 12th game and what seems to be a manageable non-conference schedule, the Hoosiers head into this fall with several big question marks clouding their future. Today we take a look at some of the biggest issues the Hoosiers will have to overcome in order to take the next step in their program development this season.

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