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Big Ten Media Days: Full Q&A from Indiana football head coach Tom Allen



Everything Indiana football head coach Tom Allen said during his podium Q&A at Big Ten Media Days on Thursday. (Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports)

Indiana football head coach Tom Allen took to the podium on Thursday morning to kick off day two of Big Ten Media Days.

Allen spoke to reporters and discussed Indiana’s season-opener against Ohio State and how that impacts fall camp, adding new staff members to the program, ‘explosiveness’ to the offense and overall toughness.

Below is the full Q&A from Indiana football head coach Tom Allen.

COACH ALLEN: I would like to welcome Commissioner Petitti to the Big Ten. The short time we’ve worked together, I’ve been very impressed and looking forward to his leadership in the conference.

I’m honored and blessed to be representing Indiana University here today, and I’m very, very proud to be an Indiana Hoosier.

I’d like to begin by honoring the memory of Vi Taliaferro. Last month we lost a very special member of our Bloomington community. In 2001 the Big Ten created the George and Vi Taliaferro Fellowship in honor of this amazing couple.

One of the players we brought here today his name is Aaron Casey, a linebacker. He wears No. 44 in honor of George Taliaferro. We decided to come up with a new tradition of selecting a player each year that will wear that number that best represents the work ethic, dedication, integrity and perseverance that George Taliaferro displayed.

And Aaron Casey is a perfect representation of this honor. Aaron’s a graduate with a degree in financial management. All-Big Ten linebacker. One of the best returning players in that position in our conference and has become one of our best players and one of our best leaders. So excited to have him here today.

Also Noah Pierre, a very versatile defensive back is with us. Noah is a special, special young man. Came to Indiana, had to earn his stripes the hard way. Took a few years to play on special teams and probably not play as much as he wanted on defense, but, man, he stayed the course. Tremendous perseverance and grit, and was rewarded a couple seasons ago to have that opportunity. He’s been a starter ever since.

Also a graduate with a degree in kinesiology, awesome, awesome young man.

And also running back Jaylin Lucas is here with us today. As a true freshman he became an All-American, first team, as a kick returner. As was also mentioned, the Big Ten Return Specialist of the Year. As special as he is on the football field he’s even better off. A 3.2 GPA, a tremendous worker, leader, humble and a great representation for our program.

I’m extremely excited for the upcoming season. Our word for 2023 is “toughness.” We define that as a mental and physical strength to persevere.

We had eight games last season that were decided in the fourth quarter. So for the past seven months we’ve been building our toughness and developing this football team to be able to finish in those opportunities.

We have a strong nucleus returning, and we had great success in the portal. We’ve been very focused on identifying young men across this country that were the best football players that fit our culture, that wanted to be at Indiana.

Obviously a compressed window to figure that out. So therefore we focused a lot on guys we already knew, had recruited previously or coached — may have coached at a previous school or had a chance to be able to get to know a coach on that staff that was with them every single day. I think that’s very, very important.

Also really excited about the three new staff members we have on the field. Bob Bostad, our new offensive line coach, brings tremendous experience in identifying and developing offensive linemen in the Big Ten Conference, as well as Matt Guerrieri who will be coaching our safeties and co-defensive coordinator who will be calling our defense.

And finally Anthony Tucker, our new wide receivers coach that brings tremendous experience, once again focused on identifying and developing players at his position.

So excited about this program. Obviously have a challenging schedule ahead of us. Very excited about the future. Gotta build it, keep growing every single day.

Q. Is it difficult to build confidence with such a young team when your first game of the season is against a powerhouse like Ohio State?

COACH ALLEN: You know what, I’ve been blessed here. I’ve been head coach for seven years. Five of those seven years we’ve opened with a Big Ten opponent. Very familiar with this process. My first season was the Ohio State Buckeyes back in 2017. So, challenging, yes, but I would say it forces you to grow up real fast.

So the urgency that the offseason is impacted by this reality of who you play September 2nd to open the season, I think it helps you. It helps you grow. It helps you have that attention to detail at a high level.

Everybody’s excited about the start of the season, but I think when it’s that kind of opponent it all gets raised to another level. Our team knows that. We understand that. There’s an urgency that our staff has because of it, and fall camp is affected by that in a very positive way.

So it’s a challenge we embrace, without question.

Listen: Indiana football head coach Tom Allen previews 2023 season

Q. The wide receiver group seems to be more diverse in body types and skill set and stuff like that. Is that something that Coach Tucker brought in? Is it something that you discussed with the coaching staff to change the room to make it a little bit more dynamic?

COACH ALLEN: I think that it was something that we as a staff collectively identified trying to create explosive plays. You go and you think about the game of football, and there’s two real — stats are stats, but there are two that really matter, and that to me is can you protect the football on offense, can you create takeaways on defense, so that turnover ratio is one; and then explosive play ratio, how many can you create on offense, how many can you prevent on defense.

We’re not creating enough on offense, and it’s hard to drive a football 75 yards on the defenses in the Big Ten. So wanted to get some more receiver body types to help create more explosive plays. That was by design, and even in the portal mindset, to go after that as well even as we’re recruiting guys in our current roster.

So definitely by design as the staff to be able to try to create more explosion by our offense.

Q. Regarding Ohio State and opening with a Big Ten opponent as often as you have, I guess what have you learned from those experiences in terms of how you build week one prep when you’ve done this so many times before, having to start with not just a Power Five opponent but a conference opponent?

COACH ALLEN: I think that, like I said, just fast-forwards everything. It just causes you — I get it, certain opportunities you have a chance to slowly build up to a game like that.

We don’t have that luxury, and so everything is geared around that. So I think once you get through that process and you have a chance to prepare for that type of an opponent and that situation and knowing it’s going to happen, because you know you think about this, our sport, we don’t have any preseason games and you have two scrimmages that you have against your own teammates, and then you have — we do a mock game the week before. So that’s just simulating situations, but you’re not playing somebody else.

So to be able to have it where you go from that to having to play such a high-level opponent immediately, it’s challenging. When you have some young guys, you have new guys, you’ve got to mold them together because the best team wins on game day.

So just trying to build that best team. So as we go through you’ve got more probably focused on game-lag situations than ever before and that window of time.

But like I said, once you get through that and you have that opportunity, man, it really allows you, I think, to have an advantage weeks two, three and four.

Q. In terms of the quarterback position, when you eventually do name a starter, how important is it to you and your coaches that the starter is a dual-threat quarterback? We saw how Dexter Williams opened up the offense with his ability to run last year towards the end of the season. When you name a starter, how important is it that they can also threaten in the ground game?

COACH ALLEN: Well, I just think, I’m a defensive coach by trade, and I just know what gives us trouble — anytime a quarterback can extend plays. It’s usually those when it’s not scripted, when they can be able to create, elongate, put pressure on your secondary, be able to beat you with his legs. You have to account for him in your pressure, whether you’ve got a spy, or whatever you need to do.

Moving forward that’s what we want to have at that position to be able to extend those plays. I think it’s a variable for sure.

But at the same time once you pick who that individual is, you’ve got to make sure you’re building everything around them so they can be at their best and be able to be comfortable. Obviously whoever is going to be is going to be a younger guy that’s going to have to grow up really fast.

But I think that ability to extend plays, I think, we’ve seen that at the NFL level how valuable that can be. You keep that guy healthy, it’s obviously an extra weapon that’s very effective.

Q. I’m curious, you mentioned with your defensive background, now you’re bringing in a new position coach that’s going to call the defense for you. What goes into that decision for you?

COACH ALLEN: For me, I chose to call it a year ago because I felt that was best for our program at that time, but I’ve not called it obviously with all the different things that are going on and with the portal and the NIL and just the complexities you now deal with, even at a high level in that position.

I felt very strongly as we went through that process — and I’m glad I did it — but obviously feel like in order for us to get better and move forward, I wanted to bring somebody in to be able to call that. I’m really excited about Matt. I’ve known him for a long time. And Coach Kets (phonetic) is the one that brought him up from a GA to position coach to his coordinator there in their program for many years. Very close with them. And that was a big influence on me.

But I feel like it’s important for me to become the best head coach I can be, the best game-day manager of the entire game, both sides of the football and special teams, for me not to be focused on calling the defense.

I’m excited about that. I think it makes us better. I’m excited about what he’s brought to our program. But this is a situation where he came to learn what we do. We have a system we believe in and we’ll make sure we stick with that, which we will, because our players believe in it. It fits our personnel, what we do.

I think he was a great complement to that. Brought some ideas, for sure. But I also want the ability and flexibility to be in that offensive meeting time as well, making sure all three phases is being where we need to be to be our best on game day.

Q. You mentioned hiring Bob Bostad this offseason. How confident are you that he can bring significant change to that group this upcoming season? And with having so many guys that similar personnel as last year, what do you think it will take for those guys to kind of improve in the upcoming season?

COACH ALLEN: It was a huge focus, for sure. Bob has been a tremendous track record in our conference. I already feel like we’ve gotten better, certain things that he’s brought.

And getting Matt Bedford back is huge. Losing him week one was a big blow to us; he was our best offensive lineman. He’s back now 100 percent which is exciting. I’m very excited for him. I think the whole group needs to be able to mesh with them. He’s been with them all spring, being able to bring in his thoughts and ideas, the toughness he brings, the attention to detail, the way he coaches them, and just the relentlessness of the way he approaches offensive line play.

It’s a huge part of our team. I know that. We know that. We understand that. It’s been something we addressed obviously and those guys have to step up. Got several guys that play a lot of football at that position for us. I’m excited for that group to lead us on our way on offense.

Q. Another year where the starting quarterback for week one is kind of up in the air, but regardless, you have guys like Jaylin Lucas who kind of broke out at the end of the year. How do you see yourself implementing more plays and getting those guys more touches?

COACH ALLEN: It’s going to be by design without question. Getting Cam Camper back, losing him last year was the big blow as well. Having him back healthy will be huge to take some pressure off a young quarterback.

And the backfield as well. Josh Henderson, excited about him; Christian Turner, another player we brought in through the portal; that I think we have a very, very strong running back room and have flexibility, some different body types there, different body types at receiver, as was already mentioned, to be able to create those explosive plays and take some pressure off us having to drive the football.

But we want to do a good job of having a system where our guys feel comfortable and, whoever that quarterback is, that they can maximize their strengths.

At the end of the day, it’s being able to take your roster, maximizing those guys’ skill sets where they can play their best football and be very, very productive.

At the end of the day, we’ve got to score points, score touchdowns in the score zone. We’ve got to do a great job of staying on the field and playing team football.

Q. Landscape of college football seems to be changing hourly, but one of the big things was the elimination of divisions in the Big Ten. How does that, one, give you the opportunity to play new opponents, and, two, what was your first reaction to that news?

COACH ALLEN: I think when you look at bringing in UCLA and USC, that’s exciting, that’s awesome. 2024, UCLA comes to us; 2025, we go out to California and play USC. Last time we played the Trojans, O.J. Simpson was the tailback.

Bottom line is new opportunities, great time to be in this conference. You’re going to see equitable schedules where teams are going to be playing teams more equally across the conference, which I think is a great thing, that excites me as well, and playing some different teams on a more consistent basis.

But you look at it, though, there’s a lot of great football teams in this conference. Everybody’s schedule is going to be tough, and I’m excited for the future of the Big Ten Conference. Have an awesome day. LEO.

SEE ALSO: Key storylines to follow at Big Ten Media Days for Indiana football

Make sure to follow Hoosier Illustrated on Twitter @Indiana_FRN and YouTube to stay up to date on all of the news, updates and coverage of Indiana University athletics. 


‘I want to see us execute better’: Tom Allen looking for critical step in development as Indiana football wraps up non-conf play



Tom Allen, Indiana football
Tom Allen has made it clear about his message to the rest of the Indiana football program this week; it's about execution. (Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports)

Tom Allen’s word for 2023 was ‘toughness’ — being both mentally and physically tough. It was meant to translate into being prepared for a full game and winning the fourth quarter, two aspects that have failed the Indiana football program over the last two seasons. Three games into the season this year and that same trend is rearing its ugly head.

In Indiana’s 21-14 loss to Louisville on Saturday, it may have hit its peak in both aspects. As Indiana went into the half down 21-0, it was a clear example of lack of focus coming into the matchup. Fast forward to a key 4th-and-goal with under five minutes to go, and it was a clear example of lack of toughness and execution that translated into getting stopped for no gain at the 1/2 yard line.

While this is an obvious issue for Tom Allen, it’s even more of a concern since it was harped on all offseason and emphasized during fall camp with Ohio State coming to town in week one.

“I would say with our inability to play 60 minutes of really good football on Saturday, disappointed in that,” Allen said on Monday. “Felt like that we were on track to get to where we wanted to be from what we stated as our goal from playing a team like that (Ohio State) in Week 1. Didn’t feel like we fully maximized that.”

There were two weeks between Indiana’s week one matchup against Ohio State and when it took on Louisville at Lucas Oil Stadium last weekend. There was ample time for preparation and, according to Allen, good practice time leading up to the week three game.

Trending: ‘They didn’t flinch’: Mentality of young Indiana football secondary showed major growth throughout Louisville matchup

“I thought we had a good week of preparation last week. So I’m not going to sit here and say — I talked it out with our players and say, well, what do we need to do now to be able to make sure that preparation translates and shows up on game day in the first quarter,” Allen said. “And that’s what I want to be able to do.”

While there was a lull in the first half against Louisville, it was the second half against Ohio State and the second quarter against Indiana State.

The lack of execution has been there in every game thus far, just in different areas. In the last two weeks, however, in-game adjustments have been on display in certain ways. But, at the end of the day Indiana can’t continue to play from behind or play reactionary football.

“Starts with the coaches: Can they see things in the moment, in the heat of the battle, whether they are sideline adjustments or halftime adjustments. Those are very critical,” Allen said. “I don’t think you can be a really good football team without having those. So we showed we can be able to do that. The starting fast and starting well is very, very important. So what you don’t want is you don’t want, I think as teams doing this long enough and you guys have covered football, you see teams develop a personality throughout the season and so you don’t want to get in that kind of a, hey, this is — we’re a team that starts slow. That’s not what you want.

“To me, we’ve got to nip that right out of the gate here. Obviously happened this past game, doesn’t necessarily feel that way the first two games, but again, we had a lull in the second one but didn’t start that way.”

Related: Early breakdown and initial thoughts on Akron

Indiana wraps up true non-conference play with a matchup against Akron on Saturday night. His message hasn’t wavered since day one of the 2023 season.

It’s all about execution.

“So to me, it’s about executing and executing at a high level of confidence, and being able to play at the speed I want us to play at from the opening quarter on,” Allen said. “That’s going to be the emphasis, and like I said, we’ll know more next weekend where we feel after the first few games.

“It’s an important week for that to be the case and obviously every week is a big week to get better, and that’s what we’re going to emphasize at such a high level this week in how our guys respond. To be able to come back and prepare at the level that they have to prepare at to be their best.”

Saturday, and beyond, will show if all of the talk comes to fruition, or if it’s just that. If it’s just talk.

“I want us to be a team that plays well early and is able to make good adjustments and then finish strong,” Allen emphasized. ” … I do want to see us, you know, I want to see us execute better. I mean, it’s not a complicated part in regards to that. Obviously you play who you play and your schedule is what it is and we have to continue to grow as a football team. To me, the jury is still out to see if that’s fully going to manifest itself.”

SEE ALSO: Indiana Football Week 4 Stock Report: Who’s trending up? Who’s trending down?

Make sure to follow Hoosier Illustrated on Twitter @Indiana_FRN, Facebook and YouTube to stay up to date on all of the news, updates and coverage of Indiana University athletics. You can also listen to the Talking’ Bout the Hoosiers podcast on Spotify.

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Big Ten Notebook: ‘Blackout’ uniforms, Kyle Monangai vs. Michigan’s D and Two Primetime Matchups




kyle monangai
We're heading into the meat of the Big Ten schedule in Week 4, with some really interesting conference matchups on the schedule. (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)

The non-conference portion of the season isn’t completely done just yet, but a majority of the schedule in Week 4 involves Big Ten action. Finally, we’ve hit the meat of the schedule.

We don’t waste any time with some of the marquee matchups, either. Action starts Friday night with a Big Ten West showdown between Wisconsin and Purdue. The Boilermakers are trying to end a 16-game losing streak to the Badgers.

On paper, Rutgers-Michigan may not sound appealing, but both teams enter with 3-0 records. Can the Scarlet Knights pull off an unthinkable upset?

At night, we’ve got two ranked matchups featuring Iowa and Penn State and Ohio State and Notre Dame. It should be an incredibly fun night across the league.

So, let’s dive into this week’s notebook, shall we?

Enough with the ‘Blackout’ uniforms

It’s 2023, I get it. In today’s world of college football, presenting multiple uniform options for student-athletes to wear on gameday can prove to be beneficial for a program. But can we please put up the “Stop” sign when it comes to the “Blackout” uniforms? Particularly for those teams that don’t utilize black as part of the school colors.

Indiana revealed new “Blackout” uniforms for this weekend’s game against Akron. If you just take a look at them, they’re really sleek. It’s a nice addition to the wardrobe for the Hoosiers. But … I still can’t get over the fact that black isn’t part of IU’s traditional colors. For that reason, I’m out.

This isn’t just a gripe about Indiana, either. Minnesota also recently revealed “Dark Mode” uniforms, steering away from the usual maroon and gold for a game. Personally, I couldn’t have hated it more. But head coach P.J. Fleck provided an explanation behind the decision to move forward with it.

“Our traditional colors are maroon and gold,” Fleck said. “Always will be, always will be, always will be. No one is taking that away. …

“Everything we do is about the players that are on that field,” Fleck said. “The student-athletes love it. Our student-body loves it. The young people love it. And I get it but that’s why we do something a little different every week for everyone.”

Can Kyle Monangai give Michigan’s defense trouble?

Don’t look now, Big Ten fans, but Rutgers actually leads the conference with its rushing attack. The Scarlet Knights boast an impressive 210.7 yards per game average. Kyle Monangai leads the league through three weeks with 357 yards and five touchdowns, racking up over six yards per carry.

But that success came against Northwestern, Temple and Virginia Tech. That’s not exactly a “Murderer’s Row” of opposition. It does present an interesting matchup against a Michigan defense that’s viewed as one of the best in the country.

So, can Monangai carry some of that early-season success into Big Ten play? Obviously, the offensive line is going to have a big role in that. Michigan’s defensive line is nasty and won’t be as easily moved as some of the other Scarlet Knight foes.

Michigan’s defense allowed East Carolina to hit 103 yards on the ground, the only time it’s surrendered triple digits in the rushing attack. To use an old coaching cliche, Saturday’s game between Michigan and Rutgers will feature “good on good.”

We just aren’t quite sure how good Rutgers’ rushing attack is just yet.

Ohio State-Notre Dame comes down to defense

Sam Hartman and Audric Estime. Kyle McCord and Marvin Harrison Jr. Those are the names that will receive a lot of attention heading into Saturday’s top-10 showdown between Ohio State and Notre Dame. A lot of the attention is going to be on the offense in South Bend.

Call me crazy, but this feels like a game where the defenses might be the bigger story by the time the clock hits zero in the fourth quarter. Don’t forget, last year’s contest was a 21-10 decision in Columbus.

That’s not to say this year’s meeting will also be a low-scoring affair, but there are some things to keep an eye on between the Buckeyes and Fighting Irish.

Ohio State has recorded just five sacks through three games, with nobody having more than one at this point — one of the lowest totals in the conference. The Buckeyes have collected 17 tackles for loss and forced five turnovers, putting them in the middle of the road in the Big Ten.

While the starts aren’t great, the Buckeyes have looked pretty good on that side of the football. The 6.7 points per game allowed speaks to that, too. Notre Dame is a different animal, though, and if Ohio State can’t get pressure on Hartman, he could pick apart the Buckeyes secondary.

Why Iowa-Penn State has potential to get out of hand

The last five meetings between Penn State Iowa have been pretty epic. Throw out the 2020 game (a 41-21 win for the Hawkeyes), and the other four have been decided by six points or less. History tells us these coaches know each other pretty well and we’ll witness a dog fight on Saturday night.

For college football fans, I certainly hope so. But make no mistake, this game has potential to get out of hand, particularly in the second half. Penn State’s success on both sides of the football is a big reason why.

Yes, the Nittany Lions struggled last weekend against Illinois. Drew Allar completed less than 50% of his passes  and Penn State’s rushing attack was less-than-ideal against an Illini defense that has struggled. It was also PSU’s first conference game in enemy territory. Franklin and the Lions get Iowa in a “Whiteout.”

Penn State’s defense has played fearlessly this season. The Nittany Lions have racked up 10 sacks, led by Coziah Izzard with two. They’ve also forced seven turnovers through three games. How is Iowa’s offense — one without leading pass-catcher and star tight end Luke Lachey — going to move the football?

Simply put, there’s a good chance Iowa’s defense is on the field for way too long Saturday. It might be capable of keeping the Hawkeyes in the game through the first half, but don’t be surprised if Allar in the Lions start picking apart the defense in the second half and pull away for a big win.

Quick Hits

  • In addition to losing Luke Lachey for the season, Iowa will also be without running backs Jaziun Patterson and Kaleb Johnson for Saturday’s game against Penn State
  • Nebraska has lost two of its top three running backs to injuries for the season: Gabe Ervin Jr. and Rahmir Johnson.
  • Weird stat alert: Entering Week 3, Wisconsin’s defense had not forced a single turnover. Purdue’s offense had not turned the ball over at all. Last Saturday, the Badgers forced six turnovers in a win over Georgia Southern. The Boilermakers lost four turnovers in a 35-20 defeat to Syracuse.
  • Four teams in the Big Ten West have already lost two games (Illinois, Nebraska, Northwestern and Purdue). The Big Ten East has lost a total of three games thus far.
  • Maryland has posted comeback wins in consecutive weeks after trailing both Charlotte and Virginia 14-0 early. The Terps are searching for their second 4-0 start in three seasons.

Make sure to follow Hoosier Illustrated on Twitter @Indiana_FRN, Facebook and YouTube to stay up to date on all of the news, updates and coverage of Indiana University athletics. You can also listen to the Talking’ Bout the Hoosiers podcast on Spotify.

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Indiana Football Week 4 Stock Report: Who’s trending up? Who’s trending down?



Indiana football QB Tayven Jackson
Taking a look at who from the Indiana football program has raised their stock and lowered their stock heading into week four. (Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports)

Indiana football moved to 1-2 on the season following its 21-14 loss to Louisville in week three. Now, it looks ahead to a week four matchup against Akron to close out non-conference play.

It was the first start for Tayven Jackson following his official winning of the starting quarterback job, but yet again there were questions about the play-calling.

After week three of the season for Indiana, who is trending up? Who’s trending down? We take a look at some players and position groups here. 


Tayven Jackson: There’s no question that following the game on Saturday, you came away impressed with the way Jackson played. While he had his ups-and-downs, his play only got better as the game went on and you could see his confidence continue to grow with each positive possession.

After a slow first half that saw multiple throws miss high, including his first interception of the season, the second half was nearly perfect. He would lead Indiana on a 13-play, 97-yard drive that resulted in a touchdown and then an eight-play, 89-yard drive.

Jackson finished 24-of-34 for 299 yards passing with one touchdown and one interception.

“I think there’s no question, you could see him growing up throughout. There’s things that happen that you don’t always see, especially in the first half, just mistakes being young, the clock, different formations, checks, seeing guys in motion, things like that. But those will continue to get better and better,” IU head coach Tom Allen said. “But I just love the fact that he just makes plays. He’s able to create, extend plays, eyes downfield, finding receivers. Those are things you can’t teach. That’s just instinctual things that he has.”

“Tayven’s ability to make reads in the throw game was impressive. He’s obviously — they are loading the box and trying to stop the run and make the young quarterback make plays, and he was able to do that. He created several out of nothing. I always talk about, that’s kind of like a key quality you’re looking for in a quarterback is, hey, can he make something out of nothing. When something breaks down can he extend the play long enough to get his eyes down the field, which he’s able to do that, and either beat you with his legs or beat you with his arm.”

Jackson is now up to 559 passing yards on 71.7 percent passing with one touchdown and one interception. The best part of his skillset is his ability to move in and out of the pocket and get out of trouble without taking a sack. He’s been sacked just once this season.

Another standout skillset of Jackson’s that Tom Allen emphasized this week was his leadership ability.

“He’s a verbal guy,” Allen said. “I would say since I’ve been here, he has the potential to be the best verbal leader we’ve had at that position in all my years here, and I expect him to be that way.”

Jaylin Lucas: Jaylin Lucas was terrific — once again — but this time did it in the receiving game. All offseason the coaches talked about the potential Lucas had as a pass catcher and while they showed it in bits through the first two games, it wasn’t until this past week that you could really see the potential.

Lucas led all receivers in the game with 10 receptions — on 12 targets — for 98 yards and one touchdown. He lined up in the backfield, was used in screens, jet sweeps, short routes and his touchdown as a wide receiver lined up in the slot.

“We worked hard on that this off-season, for him in that role. I just continue to see that being a focus for him, getting the ball in space, try to do a good job with that,” Allen said. “As with all of our guys, you try to maximize an individual’s talent, what he can do. Getting him the ball in space is important, whether it’s hand it to him or throwing it to him. Like I said, he works really hard on that and we’re going to continue to emphasize that.”

Lucas is up to 15 receptions on the season — leading Indiana — for 138 yards. In total, he has 44 touches for 279 yards and three touchdowns.

Secondary: If you were to take just one half of the Louisville game, this group would be nowhere near trending up. But, likely it’s a two-half game and this unit did a phenomenal job after halftime.

Louisville quarterback Jake Plummer had six of his eight first-half completions go at least 13 yards. He would have 202 passing yards in the first half, including a 43-yard completion over top of the IU defense, as well as an 85-yard touchdown pass as well.

Related: ‘They didn’t flinch’: Mentality of young Indiana football secondary showed major growth throughout Louisville matchup

In the second half, however, it was entirely different. Plummer had just 36 passing yards after halftime, inducing an interception. Jamari Thrash, who had four receptions for 159 yards in the first half, had just one target and zero receptions in the second half.

“There was mistakes, there was a big explosive play that was in there, but they didn’t flinch. So it goes back to mentality, they’re young guys so it’s my job first to get them ready so the stakes don’t happen,” Indiana co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Matt Guerrieri said. “But I am pleased with them from a mentality standpoint of responding, taking the coaching, applying that so that’s a positive sign.”


Walt Bell: There has to be serious concern over the development and progression that Walt Bell is making with this offense in year two. There are enough playmakers and now a clear talent in Tayven Jackson at the quarterback position and there are still more and more questions about the play-calling every week.

While no game should come down to one play, the 4th-and-goal play call in the fourth quarter was as head-scratching as they come. With the ball on the half yard line, you decide to give it to your running back lined up six yards in the backfield. No quarterback sneak or bootleg roll out.

“Could have run a quarterback sneak, run your base power play, whatever. We obviously chose to run, not to sneak,” Allen said. “Obviously since it didn’t work, you want to run the other one. We scored previously on the other one. Yeah, didn’t work, so … You obviously wish you would have done something else. I think that’s how we all would think the same exact way.”

Bell will likely have an ‘easier’ time calling Saturday’s game against Akron, so there won’t be any real answers to come from the script, but moving into week five, Bell’s ability to get this offense rolling to start the game and make it consistent throughout will be critical.

Offensive line: While the offense line hasn’t been bad by any means — and much more effective this year through three weeks than most of what it showed in the past two years — there are some concerns moving forward.

First and foremost are injuries. Matthew Bedford was dinged up last week and didn’t start. He came into the game in the second half after Max Longman went to the locker room with a lower body injury.

While it was mostly a clean game, there were two offsides penalties from the offensive line as well as a bad snap that caused a loss of 13 yards when Zach Carpenter’s snap went way over Tayven Jackson’s head.

The offensive line needs a nice bounce back week against Akron, and likely will see that. But, it needs to stay healthy moving into week four.


Tom Allen: The talk from Allen coming out of week three has been the increased and heightened emphasis of putting together a full 60-minute game. The loss to Louisville was exactly the opposite; a tale of two halves.

“I want to see us come out and play with the confidence that we played with in the second half from the get-go and so to me, it was a noticeable difference without question … Our inability to play 60 minutes of really good football on Saturday, disappointed in that,” Allen said. “Felt like that we were on track to get to where we wanted to be from what we stated as our goal from playing a team like that in Week 1. Didn’t feel like we fully maximized that.

“I want to see us execute better. I mean, it’s not a complicated part in regards to that.”

Whether it’s penalties, mental mistakes, clock mismanagement or poor play-calling, Tom Allen needs to get things in order and have a clean game on Saturday in that manner.

SEE ALSO: Indiana Football vs Akron: Key players, notes and opening spread

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