Former Indiana football head coach Tom Allen didn’t go far when it came to his next job, staying in the Big Ten with Penn State. While the success over the past three seasons in Bloomington wasn’t what anyone expected, there’s no denying the ability Allen has shown throughout his career as a coordinator.
Because of that, it was seemingly a no-brainer for the Nittany Lions to go after Allen.
“When he was the defensive coordinator at Indiana, they were the most improved defense in the country. That was telling,” Franklin said. ” … This is a football guy who is still heavily involved in what’s going on from a scheme and fundamental perspective. That was obvious.”
Not only is Allen proven as a coordinator, he’s been able to put together very effective game plans when focusing solely on the defensive unit. But, what’s even better for Allen is he won’t be starting from scratch at Penn State as it finished the 2023 season with the top-rated defense in the nation.
So, it’s more about maintaining what is already in place, says Big Ten analyst Adam Breneman.
“Throughout Tom Allen’s career — even before he was a head coach — he’s been known as a coordinator who can create instant success and improvement in a defense,” Breneman said. “The reality is at Penn State he doesn’t even have to do that. He just has to maintain and sustain what (former defensive coordinator) Manny Diaz and James Franklin has built the last few years in Happy Valley. I really like this hire by James Franklin. I think this hire will pay dividends in the hunt for a Big Ten title and the battle for a National Championship.”
Tom Allen echoes that sentiment.
“You want to be at a place where expectations are high,” Allen said. “You look at what they were able to accomplish this past season, it’s pretty impressive. That doesn’t happen very often. You want to go to places where the expectations, where the standards are high. That’s what’s been set here. Hats off to Coach Diaz and what he did, and obviously the whole staff, they did a great job, and great chemistry, and attention to detail, and a lot of great people in that room. It didn’t happen by accident … I want to be able to build off what they’ve had here, and I love the fact that there’s a standard expectation to come play great defense at Penn State. That’s been going on a long time before any of us got here, so that said, that’s that positive pressure that you all want to be in to allow yourself to be driven towards greatness, which is what I want to chase after every day.”
Penn State has been a staple near the top of the Big Ten over the past few years — but unfortunately has been unable to get over the hump of beating Ohio State and Michigan.
Now, with a division less Big Ten, this move could be extremely beneficial moving froward.
“I think this is absolutely a home run hire for Penn State,” Breneman added. “First, Tom Allen doesn’t just have head coaching experience, he has head coaching experience in the Big Ten. He knows opponents’ tendencies. He knows personnel. He knows the coaching staffs in the Big Ten conference.”
Indiana and Penn State do not play in 2024 — so the next time the two program could see each other would be in 2025 when IU travels to Penn State.
SEE ALSO: ‘You don’t control the clock and the timing of things’: Tom Allen explains decision to jump back into coaching so quickly after Indiana departure
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