The Indiana Hoosiers are looking for someone to step into the massive shoes left by the departure of Tevin Coleman to the NFL. The star running back was one of the most dynamic and explosive playmakers in the country last season and he provided much of the offensive punch for the Hoosiers’ attack. Can former UAB Blazers running back Jordan Howard fill the void?
Coleman enjoyed a special season in 2014, ranking No. 2 in the nation in rushing behind only Melvin Gordon of the Wisconsin Badgers. He finished the year with 2,036 yards rushing, averaging 169.67 yards per game and 7.54 yards per carry with 15 touchdowns. His big-play ability was a huge component of the Indiana offense especially as they dealt with injuries at quarterback.
That will be an extremely difficult act to follow but that’s exactly what Howard will try to do. Before the UAB program was shut down and forced Howard to transfer to Indiana, he displayed a work-horse ability to carry the football. He averaged over 25 carries per game and 5.19 yards per carry in 2014, racking up 1,587 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns. While he doesn’t have the rare electric playmaking ability of Coleman, he’s proven himself capable of being a featured back with success.
The challenge for him will be making the jump from Conference USA to the Big Ten. The caliber of player that Howard will be playing against will undoubtedly be higher at Indiana but he will benefit from playing behind a very underrated offensive line up front. The group that helped spring Coleman last season returns largely intact this fall and will be a huge benefit to the new running back in Bloomington.
If the Hoosiers hope to finally break through and make it to a bowl game in 2015, they will need someone to pick up the slack in the running game. Will Jordan Howard prove to be the man to answer the call?