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October 13, 2018

Tom Allen

Bloomington, Indiana

Iowa 42, Indiana - 16

TOM ALLEN: Disappointed in how we performed, absolutely, but just weren't good enough today, and that's all on me. It's my responsibility to get our team ready to compete and play at the highest level, and based on how we performed throughout the game, it wasn't to our standard. I'm the head coach. It's on me.

Q. With the offense kind of bogging down and not a lot of plays down the field, what was the coaching staff's thoughts about possibly bringing in Michael Penix maybe to get things kick-started?
TOM ALLEN: Yeah, we had those discussions but decided to stay with Peyton and not make that move. So that's probably something we'll continue to look at and evaluate everything that we're doing, make sure we're giving ourselves the best chance to win on game day. That's part of it. A lot more to it than that.

Q. Missed tackles today, maybe more than ever before --
TOM ALLEN: Yeah, since I've been here. You know, I'm really disappointed in that. Golly, that's -- we take so much pride in that, work so hard in that. Yeah, just -- those guys are big and physical and we kind of bounced off them a few times, and that's disappointing for sure.

But I think our youth showed a lot, and that's -- it takes time to get guys grown and physically strong, and we've got to get stronger and we've got to get bigger and we've got to get better. But yeah, some of it was running your feet and finishing, but big quarterback, big touchdowns, big thick backs. I talked about that just a few minutes ago to our team, about getting in that weight room and getting stronger because I think it showed up today.

Q. Two unsportsmanlike penalties on the bench today. What did you say to the referees --
TOM ALLEN: Well, here's the thing. Honestly, the first one was on one of our assistants and he was yelling at one of our players, and the officials said he didn't know if he was yelling at him or them, and I just said, seriously? That's how it is? And so literally he was yelling at our corner about his technique, and he just got burned. And so he wasn't looking for the football. That's how the first one was explained to me.

And then the other one was literally I stepped on the field about maybe one step, and he was eyeing us like a hawk and he chose to throw it. I wasn't even looking at him. But that's how it goes. Sometimes you get things like that. You can sit there and watch it, we weren't even talking to those guys. But for whatever reason that's the calls they made, and obviously don't like them, but my shirt doesn't have stripes on it.

Q. You get cut it to 14-10, you had the kickoff that they kind of fumbled, you had a chance to pin him inside the 5 or 10, he run it 60 yards, and later in that series, Marcelino had the quarterback sacked and they throw a touchdown pass.
TOM ALLEN: Painful memories right there. I thought when he didn't -- there's two things that happen usually when the ball is mishandled by a return team. Sometimes it's disaster for them, and you pin them down inside the 10 or whatever, which is what I thought was going to happen, or you get everybody down there and a couple guys miss and then you lose your leverage angles. Obviously the second thing happened, and it's unfortunate because that could have changed the whole complexion of the game, and then we have a sack, Marcelino is one of our better players, and how he -- nine times out of ten he's going it to finish that play. I don't know why that was the case today. He had a rough day today.

But love him. Told him that afterwards. Told him he's going to have to put this one in the trash can and press on because it's one of those kind of days.

Q. Mike Majette's kick return the second half was the first one you guys have had since the Ball State game. Is there a game plan behind that, or are you letting them make that decision?
TOM ALLEN: No, it was pure game plan. We're trying to maximize the new rule. When you really go through and you study the returns and how hard it is to get past the 25 on a consistent basis without any threat of penalty or any threat of the ball being turned over, okay, as a staff we've gone through and decided if you start the ball on the 25 every time, you're going to be one of the best teams in the country in field position. So that's the way we've chosen to attack it. And at the end we said, hey, you know what, we've got to try and make something happen. We barely got it to the 20. But when they kick as high as they do with the athletes that we compete against on a consistent basis, it's challenging to get past the 25, and to be able to get that to the 25 with no threat of penalty or a negative play, then that's the approach we've taken.

I don't think that's going to change a whole lot, to be honest with you.

Q. Coach, we know that the defense is young. They've been playing pretty well for most of the year but have given up 12 touchdown passes the last two weeks. Got to be concerning with Trace McSorley and Penn State coming up?
TOM ALLEN: Yeah, there's no question. Young back there, young up front, but we've got to keep getting better. I felt like that we needed to be more aggressive with our guys this week and attacking the receivers, and got some holding calls and some interference calls, which you don't want, but yeah, we've got to keep on working and just trying to keep changing things up in regards to getting some different looks. But it comes back to that whole challenge of pressure when you have to blitz to be able to get to the quarterback, and in order to do that you're going to have to play man, and it's going to put some guys on some islands and they've got to rise up and make plays.

A little bit different match-up today. Those big tight ends were tough for us to match up with, more difficult than I was hoping for it to be. But that's the reality of what happened. Those big bodies, they could run. They outran both of them, 87 and 38, both of them outran us, which it is what it is. But yeah, we've got to keep getting better because we've got some real good ones coming up.

Q. A few things, with Morgan Ellison, can you first explain the timeline when he started practicing and stopped practicing and why bring him back?
TOM ALLEN: Yeah, the reality is we followed all the applicable university rules and policies that our department has, that the university has, followed them all, everything I was told do. So the 13th of September, he was allowed back to practice, and so -- and then October 3rd was when he quit practicing. That's basically where we're at.

And so can't comment on it. It's an ongoing situation that still has not been resolved, so I can't comment about that, but I feel very confident that we did -- and I followed the things exactly what I was told to do. I believe in the system we have in place, the policy we have at our university for this type of situation, and have confidence in what they're doing, and therefore I just tell the truth and do what I'm told.

Q. Talk a little bit about Nate Stanley, 6'4", 242 pounds. Talk about him a little bit.
TOM ALLEN: He's a big dude, you know, and my goodness, we bounced off of him like a pinball, which was -- I knew he was big. I saw him at the Big Ten media days, and I thought he was a big ol' tight end at first, big strong guy that we couldn't get him on the ground. I don't know, it's just -- not going to sit here -- he's a good player. I have a lot of respect for him. But unfortunately today he was the better player than our guys trying to get him on the ground.

We weren't good enough.

Q. Did they explain to you on the pick that you guys made and the pass interference was called, did they explain to you what happened on that play?
TOM ALLEN: Yeah, they said that our guy grabbed their guy, and to me it was more of -- I always see it with my own glasses on, and I thought it was a great play by us because we were on top of the route, and so when the receiver can't get to the route and you have position on him, that to me is different than a guy grabbing him, and so I felt like we had great position on the route. The ball was overthrown, and our guy cut -- we call that cutting that off. We want to cut routes off. And so I thought he did a great job. It was a huge play in the game. We were up three, I believe, at that point, and before their first touchdown, so that's a huge turn of events for us, and had a good return by Jonathan Crawford on the pick, and unfortunately we got it taken away. So that's just -- that's what happened. That's kind of how they explained it. They felt like he grabbed him, and I felt like he just positioned himself properly.

Q. On the quarterback situation, how are you going to approach it as far as evaluating Penix's play moving forward, and if so, when?
TOM ALLEN: Yeah, it'll be a part of our discussions because you're kind of getting to that point of the season where there's no question he will play to maximize the four games at minimum. That will happen. How much he plays beyond that is up to our staff. Whatever we feel is best for our team, that's -- I want to win as bad as anybody in this room, so we'll do whatever we got to do to put us in position to do that. That's how -- that's what the thought process will be.

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