Indiana HC Tom Allen Previews UConn

On Monday afternoon, Indiana head coach Tom Allen held his weekly game-week press conference ahead of this weekend’s match-up with the Huskies. Here’s a full breakdown:

TURNING THE PAGE FROM THE 51-10 LOSS TO OHIO STATE: “After watching the film, just very, very disappointed in the way that we played. I stated very clearly a week ago at this time what the expectations were for us, where we are and what we want to be able to do on game day. We didn’t match those. Have a lot of respect for Ohio State and how good of a football team they are, but it was really about us and our lack of execution and just doing things that we need to do to win football games. Pretty clearly very disappointed in that. As we talked to our players today, it’s about evaluating where you are at, the film, learn from it and pressing forward, which is what we are going to do. Because of our poor play, no players of the game were selected in all three phases.”

HALL OF FAME WEEKEND: This weekend is the IU Hall of Fame inductions and two former players will be recognized during the game on Saturday, LB Donnie Thomas and K Chris Gartner, who will serve as the Hoosiers honorary captain.

‘DON’T LET THE OHIO STATE LOSS BECOME 2-LOSSES’: “I think it’s extremely important. It’s why you have leaders and stress how critical their role is in a program, when you have something like this happen and not allow it to linger and not have one loss effect how you perform the next week. When things happen a certain way and I was pretty ticked off on Sunday when I came in after watching the film on Saturday night and not liking what I saw, the edge that creates in you, I don’t ever want that to go away because those things, they bother you, especially when you invest so much and work so hard and have expectations. Let this make us a better football team. Regardless what happens on game day, you have to go play again next week. Bottom line is our leaders need to step up and lead and I expect them to.”

BIG PLAYS ALLOWED AGAINST OHIO STATE DUE TO MISSED TACKLES: “There were 11-plays where missed tackles occurred, which led to 166-yards, one was a 65-yard run after contact, most were out of the backfield.”

ON QB MICHAEL PENIX JR. & HIS AVAILABILITY ON SATURDAY: “To be fair, I’ll probably know some more at the end of day today [Monday]. There’s no question that I think it will be a day-to-day thing this week, hopefully not for the rest of the season. For this Saturday’s game, we definitely aren’t going to know for several more days, it will probably eventually be a game-time decision to figure out if he can go or not.”

DOES SATURDAY BEING A NON-CONFERENCE GAME, WITH AN IMPORTANT MATCH-UP WITH MICHIGAN STATE IN BIG TEN PLAY NEXT WEEK, EFFECT QB MICHAEL PENIX’S AVAILABILITY THIS WEEK AND HIS TIMELINE FOR RECOVERY?: “We just tell our guys to work as hard as they can to get back as soon as you can. He is a very young quarterback, so getting him reps is very important. To me, it’s a matter of if he is able to go, then he needs to go whether it’s a non-conference or conference opponent because of where we are at with his development. It may be a little different if he was a multi-year starter, but he does need to play as much as possible. Once we know that, we’ll make that decision.”

RUN GAME STRUGGLES & THE OFFENSIVE LINE: “It’s always been a challenge to run against Ohio State. I thought they’ve played the run well this year with some changes, so I knew it was going to be challenging. For us, it’s physicality at the point of attack as a whole group. Sometimes it’s a matter of schematically and decision-making wise, to just run the football more, RB Stevie Scott III had 6-carries, so to give him more opportunities. Bottom line, physicality, execution of our assignments has got to continue and find creative ways to take the pressure off. We had nine 3rd and longs, which makes it difficult to convert. Running the ball on 1st and 2nd down to have the threat to do it on 3rd makes a difference. It’s something we know is a huge issue, is a huge focus and something we will work tirelessly to fix.”

MISSED TACKLES THIS YEAR HAS BEEN A MAJOR ISSUE, WHAT IS THE CAUSE THIS SEASON TO HAVE IT STILL OCCUR THREE GAMES IN?: “I feel like we have to do a better job of structurally getting more guys to the football. We’ll make some of those adjustments this week to get more hats around the football earlier to take away space. We just need to get more hats to the ball to take away the pressure of one guy making that one miss that will create a bigger play. That will be a major objective for us. It’s definitely working on tackling circuits. As you work with your scout teams, we need to increase the intensity of those reps.”

ONLY 2 TAKEAWAYS IN THREE GAMES: “It’s not good enough, it’s not our standard. Takeaways, tackling and effort; two of those three aren’t getting done. I’m not happy about it at all and we need to get it fixed. It goes back to just tackling the football, playing with that swarming, confident mentality. I’m just as frustrated as you are. You just keep fighting. They come in bunches, but 2 is not enough.”

LOOKING AHEAD TO UCONN: “I played against them when I was at South Florida. I would compare them body type wise to Virginia, that’s who they kind of remind me of. They have a lot of good length, lot of good looking players. They are an improved football team, there’s no doubt, I know they struggled last year, but just watching the two games, they went up against Illinois, went up 10-0 right out of the gate. They have a quarterback, Jack Zergiotis, who I think is who we are going to see, I thought he played really well against Illinois. Their two back runs hard and big offensive linemen that look like guys that we are used to seeing, they have big guys. Like I said, we played them when I was at South Florida, we saw them in person how big they were, so similar, good length. On defense, linebackers, secondary, they’ve had some NFL guys recently. Coach Edsall is a great football coach. He has a lot of pride in what he built there before he left and now that he’s back. They will be a very well coached football team that will play extremely hard and body type wise I compare them to when we played Virginia.”

PUNTING UNIT STRUGGLED AGAINST OHIO STATE, HOW DO YOU GET THAT FIXED?: “Very disappointed in that, we spend so much time on special teams, especially punt team and we had one blocked. We worked on it in practice this morning. The message is we rely on them to help us provide a winning edge to our football team. When you get a punt blocked, you don’t win many games when that happens. Was really a turning point in the game momentum wise. The snap wasn’t on point, the alignment wasn’t on point. It was a complete team loss.”

HOW CONCERNED ARE YOU ABOUT THE LEADERSHIP ON THIS TEAM AND HOW THEY HANDLE ADVERSITY COMING OFF OF SATURDAY & THE DISAPPOINTMENT THIS WAS FOR THE ENTIRE PROGRAM?: “I wouldn’t use the word concerned, I would say I’m looking forward to seeing how we respond. I’m excited to see what this will make us into because when you have strong leadership, which I believe we do, then adversity only strengthens you. It can do one of two things, it can make you or break you. I’m looking forward to seeing this team respond, both the coaches and the players. That to me is what I expect to happen, but it has to be the case. The leaders have to understand, you take it personal. You work so hard, invest so much into this, you’re ticked because that’s not how we want to play this game the way that we did and that’s not how we want this team to be known. When you have that level of care factor with guys, then you see a positive response. When you are a confident person and things don’t go the way you want them to go, you don’t hang your head, sulk and feel sorry for yourself and start doubting yourself, you bow up and you fight and that’s what I expect our leaders to do. Address the things that didn’t go well, figure out why and then give our guys the support, resources and energy to get it fixed. I’m looking forward to seeing us respond in the right way.”

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