The offensive line didn’t need this. Seriously, you get burned by Ball State and you need all your guys ready to rumble.
Instead, word comes that offensive tackle Josh Hager needs knee surgery. It could end his season, although coach Kevin Wilson didn’t give up hope for a return.
“We’ll wait until they do the procedure,” he said.
With Hager out until further notice, senior right guard Justin Pagan will move to right tackle. Redshirt freshman Cody Evers will take over at right guard. Also figure Wilson will tap into the freshman class yet again with Bernard Taylor, Peyton Eckert and David Kaminski.
The defense took a hit with linebacker Leon Beckum out indefinitely with his own knee injury. This one won’t require surgery, but it’s a big loss because Beckum had gone from a walk-on to a starting mainstay. He led IU in tackles for loss last season.
“We’re gonna see if it’s going to be two, four or six weeks,” Wilson said. “Some guys heal quick … Will that pertain to him, I don’t know.”
Filling the linebacker void will be a pair of juniors, Lee Rose and Griffen Dahlstrom. It might mean using more freshmen -- Zack Shaw and Mike Replogle.
The Hoosiers already have played 10 freshmen, so it’s a good thing the class was a good one. It’s the final legacy from former coach Bill Lynch.
Here’s a shocker – tailback Darius Willis will miss Saturday’s Virginia game because of an injury. Specifically it’s his ankle, which has bothered him before. Wilson indicated it might be three more weeks before coaches will know if he can play. Figure he won’t play. So maybe next next season. Maybe.
As far as defensive end Darius Johnson, who didn’t make the trip to Indy for the Ball State game, all Wilson would say was he’s back at practice. As far as why one of the key starter missed a game, it remains a mystery. It’s either and injury or some violation of team rules. Anyway, it looks like he’ll play against Virginia and IU will need him.
IU gets to open its Big Ten basketball season with Ohio State on Dec. 31. That game will be on ESPN2. The good news – it’s at Assembly Hall.
It also will host Michigan on Jan. 5. That game will be on ESPN. It returns to ESPN on Jan. 15 when it plays at Ohio State.
The Hoosiers will play at Wisconsin on Jan. 26 (televised by ESPN2) and on ESPN when they host Michigan State on Feb. 28. They will be on CBS at Iowa on Feb. 19.
We know this because the Big Ten has released the TV schedule for league games on ESPN and CBS. The rest of the schedule will be announced soon.