Written by Sammy Jacobs (@Hoosier_Huddle)
Indiana head coach Tom Allen met with the media for his weekly in-season press conference. Below are the notes and quotes from his press conference ahead of Indiana’s trip to Michigan State for the Old Brass Spittoon.
– Indiana’s game at Ohio State has been scheduled for Noon on Saturday, November 21st and will be televised on Fox.
– Michael Penix is one of eight quarterbacks on the Davey O’Brien Foundation Great 8 list and one of eight Manning Award “Stars of the Week.” Penix is also an addition to the O’Brien Award Midseason Watch List.
– Covid Numbers and Non-Partipants will be announced Saturday.
Tom Allen Quotes:
“Good afternoon. Appreciate you guys being here. Once again, really proud of our football team and the way that they prepared. Thought that was the key for us. Just having a sense of urgency in the way that we practice, the way that we met and all the little things you need to do to be able to play your best football in that moment. Obviously, a very historic win, huge for our program and hard for us to beat Michigan over the years. It really took all of us and everybody, coaches really proud of our staff, their hard work, all they sacrificed to make this possible and really, hats off again to our offensive staff, good plan and then helping our players execute that plan. Nick Sheridan did a tremendous job there and Darren Hiller up front with the offensive line, which really after going back and watching the film the job that they did was really critical to our success and the receivers catching the ball. Tight ends, they are blocking and catching. Running backs ran hard, both of them Sampson James and Stevie Scott III. So, just a collective group effort. Michael Penix Jr. played well as we all know and saw. I thought it was neat when I gave him the game ball afterwards, the first thing he did was defer it to the offensive line, which I thought was just awesome. Understanding that you are only as good as the people around you and that was a neat thing to see. And then defensively, continue to get takeaways. Forced seven three-and-outs, which are very critical to just to get off the field. Third downs for both sides of the ball were critical. We felt like stopping the run was critical. Able to do that. But to get off field on third downs, defensively was big and stayed on the field on third downs for office was huge. And so, still feel like, though, made mistakes, gave up some passes that we should not have. I did not feel good about that and got to get that cleaned up coverage wise. And then, even offensively just continuing to communicate better up front, and they gave us a lot of looks and they play extremely hard, move and attacking. And so, we just got to continue to learn and get better. That to me is the key and I thought special teams wise as well just going back and watching just, Haydon Whitehead punted the ball extremely well did miss an opportunity to pin him inside the five, which is disappointing. We got to do a better job in that. That is how you really can take games over and make it hard on them. Our kickoff cover unit was really solid and just got to continue to clean up the little things. Really disappointed in in the mistake there that Jamar Johnson made and he was man about it. Had some discussions yesterday but got to learn from it. Cannot happen. Must be fixed immediately. And he will be held accountable. He understands that. So, got to have more discipline than that. But, did eliminate a lot of those penalties that we had before. And so, it just felt like it was a really good solid day for us from start to finish and just really excited the way we finished. Defense with the interception, offense being able to run the clock out. Running the football is big. So, but as always is the case, big win for sure but it is in the it is in the rearview mirror for us and now we got all or focus, hundred percent focus on Michigan State. Ton of respect for them and opportunity for us to play for the Brass Spittoon, which is a trophy game for us here that we have placed a high value on and not been able to obtain that trophy since I have been the head coach here. And so, just really excited about our opportunity to play a very tough, hard-nosed, hard-playing football team that we know is going to be playing their best football. They did against Michigan. They did a great job against them and was obviously a different football team in that game. And so, just know that their staff is going to have them ready to play. A lot of respect for the job that they do and the fact that they are going to have their guys playing at high level. So, bottom line is that we have to stay focused on the task at hand. You have to do a tremendous job of staying in the moment of what we are trying to do, which is to play our best football on Saturday at noon in East Lansing.”
On the Performance of the Offensive Line:
“Well, it does begin in the run game and you know we always get caught up in the numbers and I thought we ran the ball effectively, and definitely we needed to there at the end. Stevie Scott III had 97 yards rushing and I thought Sampson James ran really hard. It is a great one-two punch, those two guys just both unselfish. And I thought our offensive line got better. That to me is the key. We had a good week in preparation with them and challenge them and I have been hard on them and calling them out. Then first couple weeks especially week one. And just to allow no sacks. There is still pressures and we got to do better. But I just felt like that they strained harder, longer than we have in the past and stayed on their blocks and executed better, communicated better. Time creates that and also it is leadership. It is leadership in that room from Harry Crider, one of our captains that has been here for many years and thought he did a great job getting his teammates ready. Coach Hiller is the leader of that room and has the charge to be able to capture that room and get those guys to play at a high level. So, I just think it is a continual growth process. We are definitely not where we need to be, yet but I definitely thought we saw progress. Gave us time to throw the football and then gave us enough creases to be able to allow our backs to be effective and get first downs. We converted two fourth downs, one there at the very end to seal the win and then leading to the last touchdown, as well. So, both two huge opportunities there for us so that is why we gave our offensive line. They were the players of the game for offense was the entire offensive line. And that is an awesome thing and our guys respect them for that and I know that that is pretty cool.”
On Finishing Off Michigan:
“It was pretty gratifying. There was five minutes to go in the game when Devon Matthews got that interception. They had all of their timeouts so basically, we knew defensively you have to be ready because you may have to go out there again. What a testament to our offensive line, running backs, tight ends, and our offensive staff in that moment. You do not want to throw football. You want to run the ball to keep the clock the moving and make them use those timeouts. We got to that third and short which resulted in a first down, then eventually a fourth and one which I knew I wanted to go for. We got past the 50-yard-line and knew that if we converted the fourth down that would be the game. Just to be able to do that in that type of game, in that setting, was an awesome feeling. It was a great testament to where our program is headed. It is the weight room, it is the mentality, toughness, grit, the fight and it is the finish. To me that is what you have to have to win games like that, games that have eluded us for so long.”
Defensive Coordinator Kane Wommack Quotes
On Michigan State:
“Thinking about Michigan State, it is interesting because their offensive coordinator, Jay Johnson, was my offensive coordinator at Southern Miss whenever I was first there before Larry Fedora took over going into my junior season. Then their offensive line coach, Chris Kapilovic, was my offensive line coach. I worked under him as a graduate assistant, working with the offensive line at Southern Miss so I know those guys well. Kap taught me the game offensively in terms of offensive line play. I probably would not be the defensive coordinator that I am without him, understanding what offenses are trying to do, how to attack things and all that stuff. I did text him last night and said you should not have taught me anything because I will try to use it against you as best I can. Schematically they do a really good job. They try to move people around and spread you out in ways to get the ball in the run game and in their passing game to their playmakers. It is about building a program for them and as they are moving forward, I think you see some guys that are really talented and that can make play out of their backfield. They have already proven this against Michigan, the team we played Saturday, that they can make plays down field. Very impressed with what they do. Obviously, I know those guys, what they do schematically and they have both been successful in their own right at a lot of different places. It will be intriguing to see how they continue to grow their offense. You are always alert for new things that they are going to bring week to week in a new system.”
Quarterback Michael Penix Quotes
On What Offensive Improvements Still Need to be Made:
“We have been having a great season so far but the season is not over. We still have games that we are looking forward to like Michigan State this weekend. This is a great program so we have to come with a positive mindset and keep that 1-0 mindset that we have had. We have to look forward and make sure we prepare the same way we did before.”
On Michigan State:
“As the starting quarterback, when there is a big win you are one that is getting a lot of the recognition so for me the main role, I have is showing the team that we cannot be complacent. We have accomplished some great things but I have to make sure the team knows that we still have a season ahead of us. We have to make sure that we stay focused and locked in. I can tell them that but I also have to lead by example. I have to make sure they are following me and following what Coach Allen talks about like staying positive and keeping that 1-0 mindset.”