The future of Indiana football is making its first appearance at Beaver Stadium on Saturday.
Debuting in year three of the Bill Lynch era is the pistol offense, a shotgun-I-formation hybrid that uses the run to set up the pass.
The quarterback typically stands two yards behind the center, with the running back two yards behind the quarterback.
Before Lynch took over for the late Terry Hoeppner, Indiana ran a more traditional spread option, where the linemen placed their forearms on their hips. With the pistol, the linemen's hands are on the dirt, giving them the feeling they're blocking downhill and the mindset they're a rush-based offense.
"I'm sure they're not gonna hesitate to try to run right between the tackles after they saw what Ohio State did to us last week," Penn State linebacker Josh Hull said.
Don Fischer, the play-by-play voice of Indiana football, said Indiana uses the pistol about 90 percent of the time, with the other 10 percent being a more traditional spread look depending on down and distance.
The idea behind the pistol is for the running back to be able to see holes open by the time he receives the handoff, Fischer said.
"It's definitely awkward," said senior defensive end Jerome Hayes. "You can barely see the running back. He's smaller than the quarterback is for Indiana, so it's gonna be challenging, something we haven't seen, but we're doing a really good job of practicing against it."
Hoosiers quarterback Ben Chappell stands 6-foot-3, while running backs Darius Willis and Demetrius McCray are six feet and 5-foot-11, respectively.
Chappell, more of a traditional, drop-back passer, doesn't have the mobility one would expect to run a spread offense. However Fischer said he's the perfect quarterback for the pistol.
Indiana does have a package for wide receiver Mitchell Evans to line up at quarterback, Fischer said, emulating the Wildcat look the Nittany Lion defense has seen this year.
Penn State has never lost to Indiana in 12 meetings, and the offensive numbers for points and yardage from last year to this year are similar.
"It's gonna be a key for us to focus in on what we have to focus in on and try to contain that good offense," Hayes said.
Virginia had the most success defending the pistol, holding the Hoosiers to just seven points Oct. 10.
Dave Koehn, the play-by-play voice of Virginia football, said Cavaliers' coach Al Groh is one of the best defensive minds in football.
"He didn't seem to make too big a fuss of them being drastically different from what they've seen before," Koehn said.