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August 31, 2017

Tom Allen

Bloomington, Indiana

Ohio State - 49, Indiana - 21

COACH ALLEN: We just played a great football team. There's no other way to put it. Coached in the SEC and that's the kind of team we oozed to play about every week. Especially the elite ones.

So the speed that they have and the size that they have is pretty special. So hats off to them.

Disappointed in the finish. Very proud of our start to the game and most of the third quarter. But there's no consolation in that. So very disappointed the way that we finished, especially defensively. Definitely some things we've got to address with our guys.

But really proud and excited for our program; the way they responded. The fans, the way they came out today, was special for us. I really feel like that there's something to build off of for sure. I'm disappointed that we didn't finish better to give them something to go home with.

But as I just told our team, a BreakThrough is a mindset; it's a culture change; it's an expectation. For me, we didn't finish for sure. But I'm really proud of the way everyone has gotten on board with us and supported us, and we're going to learn from this one and we're going to press on. Got a long season ahead of us and got a big game next week.

So, questions?

Q. You talked about being disappointed on the defensive side with the way you finished. What do you feel like went wrong late third, early fourth quarter?
COACH ALLEN: I think from a schematic standpoint they were doing some things that put you some (ph) basically you address one thing and it exposes another. We had a couple busts in assignments that, as I said all along, you make one mistake and it's a big play, and they are so fast, it's hard to catch them. So we couldn't afford to do that.

We're still not where we need to be depth-wise. It is what it is. We have to recruit better. We take out our No. 1s -- that there's not big of a drop off and right now there's too big of a dropoff. I felt like especially in some of those big plays in that third quarter, it shouldn't have happened. It should have been catches and tackle. But that's the part that frustrates me, giving up those kind of plays, because those, in my opinion, those are avoidable.

Q. Not being able to run the ball and throwing 65 times, - how much of that was a factor in how good Ohio State's line is?
COACH ALLEN: Talking to their guys, they think they got five first-round draft picks over there, eventually. That's not normal.

They are pretty elite up front, for sure. Made it tough. Yeah, you've got to run the football and obviously we didn't want to throw it that many times but at the same time, it's kind of what they forced us to do.

I think that, you know, we know we have to run the football and that's going to be a huge priority for us. But it was -- there wasn't the same matchups up front that you like to have each week. But they are a great football team.

Q. What can you tell us about Westbrook?
COACH ALLEN: Well, he'll have the MRI in the morning. That's all I know. We'll find out then. I've learned to try not to jump to conclusions. But we'll see. We'll see tomorrow.

Q. Is it a shoulder?
COACH ALLEN: No. It's his knee.

Q. You touched on this third quarter. What was it offensively you all could not regain that rhythm, especially pacing?
COACH ALLEN: Well, you know, it's like anything. When you're trying to get in rhythm as a tempo offense, you have to get first downs. When you don't get first downs, that affects the ability to do that, you know, and so in order for us to counter their size and their athleticism up front, we needed to go fast. And when you don't get first downs, you can't go fast.

So that makes it challenging, you know. But I thought our offense did a lot of great things. I thought Richard played extremely well. So we've got to get some key stops. We can't give up those big plays. I'm a defensive coach. That's on us.

Q. What was the day like for you going through the walk? This is your first game here at IU.
COACH ALLEN: It brought tears to my eyes to be honest with you. As I was walking through, just so appreciative of the support of the people here and just seeing so many faces, family, friends, people I've known for a long, long time.

So that was special, for sure. I really appreciate our fans showing up the way they did. I encourage them to continue to support this football team, and the guys that give so much for us. That was very, very unique for me and I'll cherish that one for a long time.

Q. You were pretty animated after they scored their sixth touchdown. Did something set you off? Is it a matchup problem? Effort problem?
COACH ALLEN: Yeah, it was effort, to me. The individual that gave that up, even the way he took the field, I got after him when I saw that. I almost took him out if I'd of had time. I should have called timeout and take him out because I didn't like his body language, and he gave up a play.

To me, that's the kind of thing that, you know, you control. You know, each young man controls that. So I'll be very animated on things like that.

Q. Special teams performance, looked like Haydon had a good game -- all three of his extra points but what needs to improve for going forward in the season?
COACH ALLEN: You know, we need to do a better job on our kickoff returns. But their speed, the way they kick it schematically is a sky-type kick, and they want to let their speed get down there and they are there in a hurry. That's one we have to work on for sure.

I thought the mechanics on our punt team, there was a couple situations where we didn't have personnel out there together. That's something we've got to make sure we get corrected but there were some positives for sure.

I thought Haydon, that's his first game, ever, in his life of playing football. You know, so he's played Aussie Rules, which is totally different. He was nervous for sure but I thought he did some good things. He's got a lot of talent.

Q. Simmy missing all of last year -- some catches --
COACH ALLEN: Yeah, he's way better than he was before. He's come back very motivated. Coach Heard, is I think the best receivers coach in the country, and everywhere we've been together, he's produced to that level. I think that, you know, Simmy has responded. He needed a guy like that to motivate him, to show him how it's supposed to be and hats off to him for responding. Yeah, he's a grown man and he did some great things with some really good athletes.

Q. Your thoughts on --
COACH ALLEN: Yeah, he just needs to keep being who he is. That's a big part of our offense and he's a matchup problem for sure. Proud of him. You know, I don't know how many catches he had tonight, I haven't seen every stat but he didn't have very many last year. We said it all along; that he was going to be a big part of what we wanted. Proud of the way he caught the football.

Q. The interception in the red zone early but bounced back, how important is it for him to get back out there?
COACH ALLEN: Absolutely. That's part of it. You're going to play quarterback, I told him over the summer that the head coach and the quarterback have to have the same mindset. You know, they are going to get too much of the blame when things go bad and too much of the credit when things go good, and that's part of those positions. Those positions demand that and you have to be able to take it.

So you make a mistake, you've got to flush it. It was a tipped ball that he threw and had it not been tipped, it would have been a touchdown. That was a pretty critical point in the game. He's learned. That's part of his growth is to be able to make a mistake and flush it, because he's got to protect the football. We did have that fumble later on, have to work on that. Obviously our plan was to get the ball out fast and we were able to do that most of the time.

Q. The pressure tonight, just the one sack --
COACH ALLEN: You know, biggest thing is it's more, you know, what they were doing in the routes, you know, because you've got to be able -- to get pressure, there's certain things you have to do coverage-wise, and there's matchup problems with that, with the speed. You know, and so we try to do quite a bit of dropping where we covered with eight, just because that's something that I feel like with the quarterback like that that's not an accurate quarterback, that's what you try to do.

And so didn't really expect us to get a bunch of sacks on because of the way we approached it but we just wanted to -- and even the ones that he got were just caught underneath and it wasn't like they just ran down the field on us. We were just trying to -- it's a matter of, it's a chess match and if you're going to pressure, you're going to play certain coverages behind that.

Q. You guys went for a couple fourth downs, which might have been in field goal range. What was Griffin Oakes' range tonight?
COACH ALLEN: Well, you know, based on what direction you're going; he's in the mid-40s range. He's at about 50 yards before but tough into the wind. I knew field goals weren't going to beat this team. So we were very -- we were going to be aggressive. You know, that was our approach.

Q. What did you like about your team in the first two and a half quarters?
COACH ALLEN: They played Indiana Football. That's what I would say. We're going to build off of that. We played a great football team that more than likely will be playing in the Final Four. So that's what I would predict.

So bottom line is that for two and a half quarters, went toe-to-toe with them. We're leading them, and weren't able to finish. So that's on me. So we can talk about BreakThrough and I'm not going to quit talking about it because BreakThrough is not one game. BreakThrough is a mindset and BreakThrough is a culture and BreakThrough is an expectation, and that's where we're headed to.

Bottom line is, great opportunity tonight, we didn't take full advantage of it. Hats off to Ohio State for being a great football team. We're going to learn from this game, come back next week and be better.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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