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The Journal Gazette

Friday, September 22, 2017 9:20 pm

IU honoring late coach with jersey Saturday

BEN PORTNOY | For The Journal Gazette

While Indiana (1-1) will be focused on their Week 3 matchup against Georgia Southern (0-2), the game holds a much broader meaning to the program as the Hoosiers will debut their “Hep’s Rock” primeknit alternate jerseys Saturday in honor the 10-year anniversary of former coach Terry Hoeppner’s passing and the 2007 Insight Bowl team.

“Looking forward to that and the opportunity to represent our program and recognize all that Coach Hep means to our program and his family,” coach Tom Allen said in his Monday news conference.

Hoeppner, a Woodburn native, led the Hoosier football team from 2005-07 after spending 18 years at Miami of Ohio, the last six as coach for the RedHawks. Hoeppner, whose legacy still stands in Memorial Stadium through the iconic Hep’s Rock, passed away in 2007 from brain cancer.

IU plays host to Georgia Southern at 3 p.m. Saturday.

Georgia Southern offensive coordinator Bryan Cook is the mastermind of the triple option offense the Eagles run. Cook, a former quarterbacks coach at Georgia Tech, helped the Yellow Jackets rush for more than 3,000 yards in 2016 before taking the job at Georgia Southern this year.

“They run it out of the shotgun which is different than some but creates similar challenges,” Allen said of Georgia Southern’s offense.

Though it’s a unique look, 2017 has not been kind to the Eagles offense with 19 points through their first two games, averaging 202.5 yards per game.

“It’s really just making sure somebody’s on the quarterback and the pitch,” Indiana defensive back Jonathan Crawford said of defending the triple option. “That’s the bottom line. Make sure somebody’s always hat is on a hat.”

Allen and his staff began introducing basic concepts of defending the triple option during the summer and also gained an extra week of preparation because of the cancellation of the Florida International game last Saturday.

“You can’t just do it in a couple days,” Allen said of learning to defend the triple option. “So we’ve been working on them in the spring and then little bit into fall camp and with a created bye week we got a chance to get some extra reps against that style last week as well.”

Defensively, Georgia Southern has not been much better than their offense. Opponents are averaging 404.5 yards and 31.5 points per game.

Following an impressive showing against Virginia, redshirt freshman quarterback Peyton Ramsey figures to get a solid number of snaps despite fifth-year senior Richard Lagow remaining the team’s starter on this week’s depth chart.

“It’s easy ‘cause we don’t care who gets the credit at all,” Lagow said of a two-quarterback system. “It’s simple, the whole philosophy that Coach Allen has instilled in us, doesn’t matter if Peyton plays 95 snaps and I come in for one play to take a knee and end the game and we win, cool. I’m just as happy.”