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Eyeing IU

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Previewing Indiana's spring game

Indiana has almost finished up its spring, as the Hoosiers play their annual Cream and Crimson spring game on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.

Here are a few things to watch:

Battle at quarterback: Much of the offseason intrigue surrounds the competition between juniors Nate Sudfeld and Tre Roberson, and it seems neither has an edge going into the spring game. It's not likely to determine much, but it is a game-type situation in which a quarterback can demonstrate chemistry and leadership skills. Indiana coach Kevin Wilson still hopes for somebody to gain separation and lay firm claim to the job.

Turnover at skill positions: While the quarterback battle is this spring's headliner, it's more important that the Hoosiers develop new playmakers on the perimeter and give whoever wins the quarterback job a greater number of reliable targets. Senior Shane Wynn is a proven playmaker after catching 46 passes last season, including 11 touchdowns. Sophomore Caleb Cornett has made a run this spring at senior Isaiah Roundtree for the slot job. Freshman Dominique Booth and senior Nick Stoner have been battling for the outside position opposite Wynn.

Making the move: The Hoosiers shifted from a 4-3 to a 3-4 under new defensive coordinator Brian Knorr this spring, and several guys are learning new positions. Junior Nick Mangieri has fit well at outside linebacker after playing as a traditional defensive end last season in the 4-3. Also, sophomore Ralph Green III may have proven himself the right nose tackle for the conversion, and sophomore Darius Latham has had a great spring at either spot on the line. Senior linebacker David Cooper, who led the Hoosiers with 85 tackles last season, is still adjusting to the physicality of playing inside in the new base fronts.

Tracking the trenches: It will be interesting to see how much success the new defensive schemes have in slowing ball carriers and getting penetration on running downs. One of the main strengths of the team figures to be an offensive line replete with talent and experience. Can Knorr's troops win a fair share of those battles up front? The majority of the Hoosiers' spring game will be an offense vs. defense scrimmage, so there should be plenty of chances to monitor this subplot.

Answers at kicker: Wilson is an aggressive coach. He likes to gamble on fourth downs, but the loss of Mitch Ewald still leaves Indiana with a big void at kicker. Redshirt freshman Aaron Del Grosso walked on during preseason camp last year and sat out. Redshirt freshman Griffin Oakes followed that exact same path, but one of those two is likely to be lining up for field goals in the fall.

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