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November 10, 2018

Tom Allen

Bloomington, Indiana

Indiana - 34

Maryland - 32

TOM ALLEN: Well, the objective is to finish the game with more points than your opponent and we were fortunate to do that today. Tough, hard fought game. I knew it was going to be. Very impressed by their offense, the way they run the football and they did a lot of good things. But we kind of, we decided as a staff to take the approach of forcing them to kick field goals. That was the plan. I knew we were going to be a little bit less aggressive against the run by design because I was so concerned about their ability to throw it over our heads. And they had done that so many times on film and just had some speed that we didn't matchup with very well. So chose to go with a plan to play a lot of zone and to keep everything in front of us and it led to some more yards than you want to give up, more time possession than you want to give up. But because of that it was really critical for our offense to score touchdowns. That was kind of the plan too. We went for it on fourth down. I knew we had to try and steal some possessions from them that way. And there at the end you get a chance to kick a game winning field goal. I was really proud of how our team finished. I've been making a big deal about that. The last drive of the game, we had a chance to where the offense took the football, drove down the field got us into field goal range. And then the special teams kicks the field goal, makes the field goal. Great job by Logan Justus. He's been clutch all year.

And then we had to cover them. They're one of the most dangerous return units in the country. So we had to figure out where we wanted to kick the ball, use different styles of kicks and. So made that decision and had a great coverage.

And then defense finished it out with a fourth take away. And all four of those were what I consider pure takeaways. We took the ball from them. Just so proud of our guys. Four takeaways is huge. We continue to be great in that area, one of the top teams in the country taking the ball away and proved to be the difference in the game and scoring touchdowns and not kicking too many field goals.

So proud of our team, proud of their fight, backs against the wall. People criticizing, which they should when you don't do things the right way and don't win games and I get that and so that's part of it. But you know what, these are young guys and we're a real young team and these guys sometimes haven't been through all this before. So really proud of the fight of our team and how our coaches got them ready to play. And proud of our team for finishing.


Q. You talk about being aggressive offensively today just throwing down field it seems that was pretty successful. How much more mindful are you recently just trying to get those passes down field?
TOM ALLEN: There's no question. Very mindful. They're probably tired of hearing me say it. Throw the ball down the field. Okay? We got big receivers, I live in that world, DB's aren't as big as the receivers and it's hard to cover them. So you get interference calls and we got a bunch of those. It's hard and so I know you can't do it every snap obviously, but that's to me, it's an objective for sure. And I just know how hard it is on us and I don't like having to go against those kinds of receivers and so it was very effective today for us and it won us the game.

Q. You used Marcelino as an up-back on those short kicks. Was that a plan you had in mind or was that because Ahrod Lloyd got banged up?
TOM ALLEN: No. We actually practiced him all week long at that. He's one of our more explosive playmakers, and I don't want to get him hurt for our defense. But when he got -- here's what we did, I put him back there and said, let's give this kid a chance. And he took the ball and just went right at him. He just got vertical right away and that's the key to a great kickoff return guy. So he doesn't have any fear in him. Now catching it was an adventure. And so a couple times I was like, if he doesn't get any better than that I'm going to be... I don't know. We just felt like we needed some juice back there and he got us to the -- beyond the 40 both times. So that's big. That's a first down or two, each time he touched the ball. So we are just trying to get our playmakers the ball. Try to create explosive plays.

Q. They had a big yardage advantage but you had a big advantage in points off turnovers. I think one also on penalties. I guess just did you feel like your team was taking advantage of opportunities well today?
TOM ALLEN: They did. And that's where I was really proud of them for. That's why I tell you, I was determined not to give up explosive plays to their offense, to make them drive the football. Because I felt like we could create, force them into mistakes, force takeaways, get the ball back that way. Yeah, you don't want to give up as many yards as we did or as much time as we gave up, but at the same time what our offense did, which was so awesome, was when we got the takeaways they made them pay and they converted them to points and which was huge. So it's like I said, it's like playing triple option team, their style of offense. And they have kind done that to a lot of folks and we just got to keep growing and keep getting bigger and stronger in the box. And we're very young in that area and it kind of showed at times. And they had bunch of fifth year seniors on the offensive line. I played against this team when they were freshmen and it seems like I played some of these linemen for four straight years. And they have redshirt, their redshirt freshmen in, they're fifth-year seniors now, when I was at South Florida we played this team on our schedule and then came here and obviously play them every year, so they're very mature in their offensive line. So I think that showed up a little bit too, they did a really good job, and their backs are fast and hard to tackle. So we had a plan to try and keep it contained and keep it in front of us so we don't give up the big, big play, the long touchdown pass, the long touchdown run, that was the objective and I think it worked pretty good.

Q. There was a point you were up 21-15, you go for it on fourth down, you get it, you throw it into the end zone. A couple plays later you get it. What led to the aggressiveness in that sequence and how important was that?
TOM ALLEN: I just think that -- I don't want to coach cautious, I don't want to coach conservative, I want to just, I just want to be more aggressive. I just think that's how you win. We're not going to -- I just feel like sometimes I've, in my coaching I just want to be that way. I tried to be more aggressive, even early in the year, different things, I talked about that. And talking about it and actually doing it is two different things because obviously there's -- if you don't get it you're giving them the ball about mid field. But I just think that, I believed in our guys and thought we had a good plan offensively and just by design I wanted to be more aggressive and so that's just kind of me growing probably as a coach.

Q. You talked, you pooched it over and over and then you kicked it deep that last one. What was your thinking there?
TOM ALLEN: Well, if you noticed, the pooches were great because they were fair catching them. They were getting the ball in the 20, 25ish, in that range. Well then he runs up there, I kept telling them, guys, he's getting closer. And he got frustrated. I knew, I said, next one, he's catching it. And I said let's have the cover unit ready. And well he caught it and took off. And so I said, we ain't doing that again. So just to try and keep them off balance. And we're just watching, I'm standing there watching him, seeing where he's lined up and the whole objective, what they do is put one guy deep and then he just tries to, if he can figure out where you're going to kick it he tries to maneuver himself to get in position. So you kind of take a gamble. I just wasn't going to give him another short pooch kick that he was going to catch. I don't mind the full backs catching it. Those guys weren't going to hurt us. But their deep guys -- and it didn't really matter, we watched film, it's been a different guy every time going to the house. So they had like three or four guys that made me really, really nervous. So we just chose to do that and then I think Raheem Layne was the guy that got the tackle on that. And we have a unit called our red kick off cover, which is most important kick of the game we put our very, very best guys on there. And we put a bunch of our defensive guys that are older and that we don't want to have run down covering every single kick. And that's unit we put out there and they came through for us and it was big.

Q. Having TD step up in Reakwon's place and getting Jacob Robinson back, how big was that?
TOM ALLEN: It was huge. It was a big loss losing Reakwon now, he runs our whole defense. So having TD back was big. We lost Micah in the first half so we were down to three backers left just trying to -- guys that hadn't even played the position before had to rotate there. And so this late in the year you get guys dinged up, so we're going to have to get some other guys ready for next week. But getting TD back was huge. He's a really good player, but he's been dinged a lot of the season, it was great the bye week gave him a chance to get his body back, his shoulders have been beat up, and he had a little lower leg injury before, that's why he didn't play before. So just getting him back in the fold, he's a good tackler, he's a good player, we just got to keep getting him more reps. So he's going to be a real good one.

Q. Their starting quarterback went out some time in the first half, what adjustments and how difficult are those adjustments to make when a backup quarterback comes in and plays most of the game?
TOM ALLEN: Actually, this time it was really tough because the guy that they brought in was the one I was more concerned about because of his skill set. So really wanted to see the other one more. Based on, because I felt like that the running of number 3 was the big concern. You mix him in there with the speed and the talent of the other running backs and it really stresses your defense in a huge, huge way. Especially the way we chose to play them, to keep the shell protected, to not give up the big pass plays. And so because of that I knew he was going to give us some trouble when he came in. And I hope the best for their starter, I do not know what his injury was, but you never want to see a guy go down. But I did feel like that 3 was more dangerous in terms of I just felt like he could create some more issues with his legs and he did. And he throws it similar to the other guy, but that's why you have two quarterbacks and they got to be ready to roll. But, yeah, I definitely think that you had, we had to make some on the fly adjustments. And we knew he was going to play some but we actually had some adjustments we said, hey, when 3's in the game, get ready for this, this and this. So now he's in the game all the time so now you got to watch everything. So it just kind of, we had to do some things a little differently.

Q. On that last fourth and short when you kicked the field goal how seriously did you consider going for it with that much time on the clock?
TOM ALLEN: Yeah, you know, I -- I didn't. The discussion was about how we were going to handle that sequence. Do you try and draw them off? Well, you know what, I learned my lesson on that one. So we weren't going to, I wasn't going to put ourself in that position at all. So it was discussed and I said, no, we're not doing it, we're kicking the field goal. And that's what we did. I wanted to run as much of the clock off as we could. That's why we took the time there. Because I knew they were going to get the ball, I was expecting us to make it, not a short kick but a great kick. So, yeah, to me, there wasn't a whole lot of thought with that. You got a chance to win the game, I just had to believe in our defense. We had to get one big stop and get the field goal and everything. So I just felt like that that was the right thing to do.

Q. After a couple tough losses what's the emotion of the players just getting that illusive fifth win?
TOM ALLEN: Shoot, it's huge. I mean us, you just, you can't even -- you can't even put a price tag on it. When you fight like our guys, how hard they work, what we ask them to do and you come up short and you just -- it's discouraging. You can say all you want -- just being real with you -- it's tough. And I love this team, I love their fight, I love the way they stayed together. That locker room, all you had to do was just take a peek in there and see what it means to these guys. And it was a huge, huge win for our program. And I know they're all big to me, I don't really care who you play, every Big-Ten win's big, they're hard to get, every win's huge. I love the way these guys have stayed together and they have just had to block out the noise and just keep fighting. So, yeah, I just think it was -- we knew we needed it and we talked very openly to our team about what was at stake. I didn't really do that last year at this time. I chose not to. I didn't want to talk about going to bowl games, but I just said, you know what, forget all that, I'm talking about bowl games. Because they're big. We have been to 11 in this program's history. And so our objective is to get to No. 12. And so I'm going to call it what it is, I'm going to call these guys out on it and say that's what we're playing for. So bottom line was that's how we approached our team meeting on Monday morning and that's how I set the tone. And so they're hard to get to, they mean a whole bunch around here, and the objective is to be there consistently and go win them. And that's what we're going to do. And so to me that's what he we set in the beginning of the week and so coming out and getting this win, we knew we needed to, we got two more opportunities for sure to get number six, and we're just going to take them one at a time. That's a great question though.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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