Notes from Tom Allen’s Weekly Radio Show (September 14)

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Indiana head coach Tom Allen returned Wednesday night for his third episode of “Inside IU Football” hosted by Don Fischer. This week, Allen discusses IU’s 2-0 start to the season capped off by the Hoosiers’ win over Idaho, whose players have impressed him so far, and why he thinks IU is moving in the right direction then. that the calendar becomes more difficult.

As usual, all footnotes and quotes are by Allen unless otherwise noted.

On Indiana’s 35-22 win over Idaho:

  • Fischer alludes to Allen not being too happy with IU’s performance on the post-game radio show… Allen replies, “I just didn’t like the way we started. Obviously the first half wasn’t close to being acceptable. But we had a bit of a tough talk at halftime and the boys responded.”
  • Re: 30 minutes weather delay — “It’s just an excuse because both teams are playing on the same pitch and everyone’s in the same boat. But it’s definitely disrupting your schedule, no doubt .” … Allen said the team had a meteorologist, who was “completely wrong” about the forecast. The meteorologist said there would be splashes during the warm-ups, but when it kicked off, the weather would be fine.
  • Allen said he didn’t think the team reacted well to the weather, especially offensively… “We missed a few field goals, which we never do, and Charles (Campbell) is great. Which just showed that we were out of sync.”
  • Allen said the team never had practices in the rain before the season, so they experienced it for the first time on Saturday… Tried to run multiple balls throughout the game to keep it as dry as possible, but obviously it was very difficult with the constant heavy rain… Both teams had 16 balls to use throughout the match
  • “The only positive thing is that they responded and did some really good things in the second half”
  • Allen agrees this year’s Idaho team is much better than the one IU played last season
  • Fischer said he spoke to an anonymous player who thought “the team was kind of looking past Idaho”…Allen said it pissed him off because all week he had tried to pounce on the team if he felt the team was overlooking Idaho at all…”It’s human nature, I get that”…Allen jokes that he tried to build Idaho as much as possible, “but sometimes guys just don’t believe you”

On the talk from the locker room at half-time:

  • “At the end of the day, it was just about playing Indiana football. Running, protecting football on offense, running calls, finishing practices”
  • Allen said he was very “lively” at half-time, and “not happy”… “But at the same time, you just have to play shit”… “I thought it was more mental than anything else”
  • Allen said while watching the film, the first half effort was not the issue. It was the concentration that was a bit lacking. …”It was some of our best guys that weren’t 100% locked in”
  • “The half-time call was 100 per cent focused and just run and play the game it’s supposed to be played”

On Indiana’s offensive performance:

  • Re: Connor Bazelak’s performance — Allen said Bazelak’s lone interception “just slipped out of his hands” and was a knockdown… Allen agrees with Fischer that Bazelak looked like a completely different QB in the second half… “The first half was very unusual, it’s not what he looked like before when I saw him play in person”… Putting Bazelak in a rhythm was key to his turnaround
  • Re: Indiana restoring the racing game – “Going into the game this was one of our focal points and something we really worked hard on. I felt really good about this improvement”… Get Shaun Shivers and Josh Henderson was a positive, and to throw the ball the way IU wants, he also needs to be able to run the ball effectively… Allen notes that IU had six explosive plays to run the ball
  • Re: Shaun Shivers – ‘He’s got vertical speed, and that’s what stood out to me in the (pre-season) scrums’…”He’s a great lad and he’s worked so hard, and he is delighted to have him with us and for him to have a great game.”
  • Re: Josh Henderson, Jaylin Lucas – “Josh is taller (than Shivers) and also very proud of himself. He’s such a solid guy in every way”… Allen notes that Henderson scored his first college TD against the ‘Idaho. (Jaylin) had a big kickoff return for us. You can kind of see his speed”
  • Re: Offensive lineplay – Allen said he “absolutely” thinks offensive lineplay has improved against Idaho… Fischer asks about redshirt freshman tackle Josh Sales – Allen said the plan for the sales was for him to play either tackle points, along with Kahlil Benson and Tim Weaver; “Josh is key for us going forward”… Asked about Parker Hanna, Allen said “the execution part was unsurprising. He’s a really, really smart guy and understands what we’re doing”
  • Allen praises AJ Barner for his continued explosiveness and great playing ability
  • Re: Donaven McCulley’s Wildcat TD – “He’s a big, physical guy, which he does really, really well”

On Indiana’s defensive performance:

  • “The last touchdown made me want to vomit. It should have been a routine game”… “It was just frustrating for me because it should have been the opposite outcome”
  • Allen said the way IU does things schematically is unconventional, and newcomers to LB and DL “don’t 100% get those things, so we just have to keep working on that.”
  • Allen notes that Idaho only averaged 2.0 yards per carry, but he still thinks IU can play at a higher level… “I still have a standard for what I want to do. what it looks like and we haven’t been up to it. But at the same time, there has been progress”
  • “I thought the kids were playing really hard, and for me that’s a really big deal, because that’s a variable you can control. And if they can keep doing that, the tackling will keep getting better. every week”
  • Allen said the defensive performance was ‘just okay, but we can do better’
  • Re: True freshman bull Dasan McCullough – Allen said McCullough is “doing fine” after suffering a minor injury late against Idaho…”He’s a special player…he’s got great focus and he’s got great attention to detail in practice, far more than a true traditional freshman would have “…Allen reiterates that he tries not to put too much on so soon, but his talent and potential are evident
  • Allen said he thinks Aaron Casey played the best game of his career against Idaho… “I’m so proud to have a guy like him”… “I always thought that he had a lot of talent and he’s one of our most athletic linebackers”… “Just so proud of the way he stayed the course, made his way to the special teams”… “That’s just a first class person”…”He stayed the course, and he’s being rewarded for it”

On Indiana’s special teams performances:

  • “Great punting, and that’s important. All those things were very valuable for us”
  • “Cover units were very good for us. Everyone’s a little scared to throw it at DJ Matthews…Allen notes that IU led the nation last year in blocked punts
  • “Beyond the two missed field goals, I found our special teams excellent”
  • Re: Jaylin Lucas’ kickoff return – ‘He can roll. He’s our fastest player on the whole team’…’It’s a way for us to give him some touches’…Allen said said Lucas and Omar Cooper were the two kick-starters for IU going forward, both real freshmen

On Indiana’s next game against Western Kentucky:

  • Allen notes that WKU has a new QB and OC transfer this season, but the core of the team is back… “It’s kind of the opposite of Idaho”
  • Allen said the team understands how good a WKU team is and is preparing as such
  • Fischer notes that the WKU uses the transfer portal as much as any program in the country… The new starting QB won a national championship in D2
  • Re: Opening the playbook as the season progresses – Allen said the team is working on plays in practice that they haven’t used in games yet, so players are ready to do certain things when the time comes

Fan Questions:

  • Are you impressed by McCullough’s play? — “Impressed, no doubt. New, he was a good player, but you never know how someone’s going to adapt from high school to college.” ‘is just the way football is’… Allen praises McCullough for how hard he studies film and quickly corrects his mistakes
  • Defensive tweaks to scramble QBs? — Allen said IU’s defense will “absolutely” make the necessary adjustments to contain scrambling QBs. The coaching staff had a meeting on Wednesday to discuss QB races
  • Are you satisfied with the defensive game? — “In a way, I’ve been encouraged by the depth of our D-line and the guys we have there. But at the same time, I want to see us improve”… “I would say I am not satisfied. It is absolutely necessary to have the ingredients and the people to succeed in this position”
  • How important is the return of DJ Matthews? – Allen said Matthews was the guy who made the most big plays in training before the season… ‘It was just a great reminder of how much we missed him the year before’… ‘He wants the ball. He’s got that edge about him in those situations”…”He plays way bigger than his size…He just has really, really good ball skills”…Allen jokes that Matthews doesn’t weigh the 170 pounds he’s listed as
  • Why did Cam Camper switch from JUCO to IU? – Camper started at JUCO because he was still small at the time and needed to develop as a player… Allen said he was immediately impressed with Camper’s JUCO movie. “He’s got this chip on his shoulder. He felt like he was overlooked.”…Allen said Indiana is the only Big Ten school that can’t sign players who weren’t qualified at the leaving high school, regardless of their JUCO status
  • Main areas of improvement – ‘We need to start games better’… Allen said he wants to see a full four-quarter game

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