Welcome to our inaugural Game Tape Rewind series where we breakdown specific topics on the Indiana Hoosiers. Our first film study takes a deeper dive into the Hoosiers 52-point shutout win over the Eastern Illinois Panthers. There were a number of themes from Saturday’s contest that were worth taking a deeper look into the game film.

1. Peyton Ramsey Eyes Down the Panthers’ Secondary

We start with Peyton Ramsey’s first play of the game. After QB Michael Penix built a comfortable lead for the Hoosiers, Peyton Ramsey was tagged in and he immediately got credited with this 64-yard pass to RB Ronnie Walker Jr.

Specifically we highlighted Ramsey’s usage of his eyes to lock down the secondary. Often times, a quarterback’s eyes focused in a certain direction is enough lock down a secondary without the QB even needing to move. As Ramsey cycles through his progressions from the left side of the field all the way to the right, he uses his eyes to immobilize the Eastern Illinois safety. Just a brief moment of hesitation is enough for the speedy Walker to blow by the EIU secondary into the end-zone.

2. Offensive and Defensive Lines Make an Impression

The offensive line had a productive day up front as they did not give up a sack and led the way for the Hoosiers to rush for 114 yards. Here are some clips of how effective the Indiana front line was against the Panther defense.

This first clip was a simple screen pass from Michael Penix to Stevie Scott for a decent gain. During the play, the left side of the line invites the defenders up field so they can be out of the play the other way. The key block comes from Left Tackle Coy Cronk pulling to the outside and sealing the edge. Scott is able to stay in his path and have plenty of running room while Left Guard Harry Crider is pulling out in front as well looking for any extra defenders to clean up Scott’s lane. Near the end of the play, there is blocking from the receiving core with Donavan Hale driving his defender to the sideline and out of bounds letting Scott gain some extra yardage.

On this scoring play, Indiana completed a pass from Ramsey to a wide open Donavan Hale for the touchdown. Eastern Illinois brought a three-man rush up front with a blitz from the linebacker position. Indiana’s offensive line has no problem picking this up as Ramsey had no one within five yards of him by the time he made the throw.

Coy Cronk remained engaged with his man the entire play while Harry Crider picked up the blitz immediately. Center Hunter Littlejohn and Right Guard Simon Stepaniak worked together on double teaming the nose guard and Right Tackle Caleb Jones held his own against his defender as well. Jones’ matchup rushed hard and then tried to swat the ball down. Jones moved his feet quickly and did not let the defender wreck the play. This was a simple pass protection but it displayed the teamwork and awareness the offensive line had during the day.

On the other side, Indiana’s defensive line brought pressure to the Panther backfield and caused disruption on many occasions. Here are some noteworthy clips on the Indiana defensive front’s performance.

Sometimes defensive fronts have to be creative to get penetration up front. On this play, Defensive Tackle Jerome Johnson slants towards the weak side into the B-gap. DE Alfred Bryant twists around Johnson coming off into the A-gap. This stunt has to be performed with perfect timing or both players can collide and the play becomes rendered ineffective. Johnson takes on multiple defenders while Bryant is able to come through the line untouched creating the initial contact on the quarterback. Other players then swarm on the ball carrier and it ends with a sack.

This play is all about establishing the line of scrimmage up front and playing your responsibility. It is a speed option to the left where the quarterback can run it or pitch to the tailback. Indiana’s Shamar Jones engages his blocker and drives him back to behind the line of scrimmage. Jones stays flat to the line while fighting off the blocker, keeping an eye on the ball carrier and blocking his running lane. Linebacker James Miller keys the run and fills a wide open gap untouched, wrapping the quarterback’s legs up and bringing the play to an end.

3. Nick Westbrook’s Quiet Day

One of the more interesting stat-lines from the day was Nick Westbrook, specifically his lack of any production for the entire game. We specifically wanted to look at the film to see what happened to Westbrook against Eastern Illinois.

In this clip, Westbrook runs a cross route through the middle of the field. You can see that the Eastern Illinois defense pays a lot of respect to him as he is in double or triple coverage through this entire route. The play doesn’t open for Penix, but the attention captured by Westbrook can help create openings elsewhere.

These two clips above show the decision-making Indiana quarterbacks had to go through on Saturday. It’s not that Westbrook had less than ideal routes or that he was heavily covered on every single play. Really the Hoosiers had their choice of options to throw to when going through the progressions. There always seemed to be at least one more option better than Westbrook.

In the first clip, Westbrook is wide-open but a quick Whop Philyor created enough separation for the deep-bombing Penix to choose to fire in that direction. The Hoosiers were rewarded as a result of Philyor’s impressive catch. The second clip shows Westbrook in the deep route, but a dashing TJ Ivy was able to create more space in that period of time. Penix overthrows Ivy just slightly; however, it was clearly the safer and easier option in that scenario.

Lastly, as the game transitioned to Peyton Ramsey and eventually Jack Tuttle, Westbrook sat in favor of some of the younger receiver stars like David Ellis and Miles Marshall. With Westbrook having historical concerns about health, it makes sense to preserve Indiana’s top receiving core for as much as possible. Indiana fans should be excited for the upcoming wide receiver pipeline, especially considering Indiana’s highest rated recruit hasn’t even arrived on campus yet.

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Featured Photo: IndianaHQ

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