Indiana O-Line On to Idaho, Working to Get Better

Indiana offensive line coach Darren Hiller addressed the media Wednesday, and he expects better play from the Hoosiers' O-line come Saturday.
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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana offensive line coach Darren Hiller was straight to the point when asked about what he liked and didn't like in the Hoosiers' first game at Iowa.

"I'm on to Idaho," Hiller said Wednesday. "We got our hands full. We got a good football team coming here. Today's Wednesday, we had a good day of practice and we're just trying to get better."

The message was received.

Hiller, along with the rest of Indiana's players and coaches, wasn't pleased with the performance at Iowa City as the Hoosiers were never competitive in  a 34-6 loss.

Nothing went right for Indiana on the offensive side of the ball last Saturday. The run game couldn't get established, quarterback Michael Penix Jr. was under pressure and didn't look comfortable, and there were too many penalties that left Indiana behind the chains.

"Just watching the film, we just didn't block good enough. Just call it what you want. We didn't sustain our blocks. We were working with the right people most of the time but just not able to stay on them," head coach Tom Allen said Monday. "To me, it was receivers, it was tight ends, O-line. It's everybody; quarterback carrying out his fakes. All the little things you've got to do. To me, that wasn't to our standard. We have to get better and it's being addressed and will be addressed."

Indiana was expecting Luke Haggard to be a starter on Saturday, but he got dinged up during the week and couldn't play.

The Hoosiers were also without Zach Carpenter, a transfer from Michigan who Indiana was adding to the depth of the O-Line this season.

"Next man up mentality," Hiller said. "You gotta go with the guys that are ready to play and we'll have five of them out there on Saturday. They'll be the five that we put out there and they'll be the best five to help us win the football game."

Hiller said the biggest strides for a football team usually show up from game one to game two, so he expects to see a much better performance this Saturday.

"We got to be able to run the football better and we got to be able to protect the quarterback better," Hiller said.

He also said every day is a competition for a starting spot on the offensive line. As of Wednesday, Hiller didn't know which five he was going to roll out there at Memorial Stadium.

On Indiana's depth chart for Idaho, there were some changes to the offensive line spots compared to the week one depth chart. Caleb Jones and Mike Katic are listed on the left side, Dylan Powell is the top spot for center, and Tim Weaver and Matthew Bedford are on the right side.

Weaver was a guy who got his first start at Iowa, and Hiller believes he plays hard, but he needs to work on fundamentals to get better.

It's all about finding the right combinations along the offensive line, and that's the ongoing goal for the Hoosiers. Hiller said he wants to see more consistency across the board and more leadership from the older players, which he believes the best way to show that is to be consistent on the field and in practice.

"You have to get the best five out there and whoever those best five are, whatever combination it is, we're going to figure it out and that's who we're going to go with," Allen said.

As for Idaho, they had no problem in their week one matchup against Simon Fraser, winning the game 68-0.

"They're a good football team. They play extremely hard. They have big people, they're physical on defense, they run really well," Hiller said. "We know we'll have our hands full, so it's the next opponent. It's the next one up."

  • WATCH SECOND MIKE & MICAH PODCAST: Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr. threw three interceptions for the first time in his career in the 34-6 loss to Iowa, and he talked about what went wrong during Tuesday night's Mike & Micah podcast live from Yogi's Bar & Grill in Bloomington. CLICK HERE
  • HOOSIERS OUT OF TOP 25: Indiana was ranked No. 17 in the Associated Press preseason poll but fell out of the rankings quickly after a 34-6 loss to Iowa. Here are this week's top-25 rankings. CLICK HERE
  • BIG TEN POWER RANKINGS: Ohio State remains No. 1 in the Big Ten power rankings, but there was a lot of shuffling right behind them after several interesting and impressive crossover victories. CLICK HERE
  • TOM BREW COLUMN: The most disturbing thing about No. 17 Indiana's ugly 34-6 loss against No. 18 Iowa was a simple lack of execution in all three phases of the game. That was a clear issue, but it's also something that can be fixed, and this loss is just that – just one loss. CLICK HERE