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November 4, 2019

Tom Allen

Bloomington, Indiana

TOM ALLEN: To get to seven wins just 1-3 and out on offense, I thought that's huge. That's two weeks in a row now we had zero 3 and outs, and a week ago, we had one this week. Staying on the field, flipping the field, pinned them inside the 10. Did that three times on special teams. But that's the offense moving the ball, that's big.

Defensively, the whole defensive line was our Players of the Game. Just felt like they played so hard. Guys like Mike Ziemba, Jerome Johnson, Alan Stallings, Demarcus Elliott, Jonathan King, CO -- still struggle with his last name, so I just stick with CO. Just the whole group there played so hard, disruptive, good against the run. I thought we did a good job being on, all of our run fits and the zone reads on the perimeter, just changing things up, guys played in a that well. So really proud of those guy.

Haydon Whitehead was our special teams Player of the Game. Punted the ball extremely well, pinned them down, good job flipping the field. So very proud of him, he's been really consistent all year long.

On our scout group, defensive scout, Gabe Cohen, does a great job for us, given the defensive look. And then offensive scout Player of the Week, Da'Shaun Brown, one of our true freshmen very, very talented football player that I think's got a bright future here. Very excited about him. Extremely skilled. Just behind a lot of good players in that receiver room. Hadn't played receiver before. He was a high school quarterback. So I think he's going to have a great, great career here if he continues to do the little things we ask him to do.

Special teams scouts of the week Cam Wilson, Justin Berry, two receivers that give us great work on receivers, scout teams, running around, giving us a lot of effort that we have to have to be where we need to be. So just felt like it was an overall very solid performance and never really let them get going, and that was the goal, was to start fast on both sides of the ball on special teams and then finish the game off the right way. Scoring 34 points on that team, that defense is not easy to do. And just thought that it was, once again, I thought Kane Wommack did a great job with our defense and getting our guys ready. And Kalen DeBoer continues to do a great job offensively, and then Coach Inge with our special teams is just, that group just keeps getting better and better.

So proud of our guys. Big week this week to get better. Three goals similar to the last bye week but a little modified: Get healthy, get rested, and get better. And so each coach is going to be given the directive of finding areas that he's going to submit to me that we have to get better at and improve on technically with each of their guys, get some of our guys rested that have played a lot of snaps, and then getting those guys healthy that have a little dinged upright now.

So don't know much more about Mike Penix yet. Should know more this afternoon so we'll get that update next week when we meet on Monday. But we'll continue to move forward and got some other guys that got to get healthy, get in that training room and take full advantage of a great staff that we have. Questions.

Q. At the first bye week break you talked a lot about getting better over the course of time, and having won the four games through it there and seeing that improvement all along, one thing specifically you just mentioned earlier about the no three and outs and all that stuff, can you talk a little bit about how much it's meant from a field position standpoint and how that's been flipping each game?
TOM ALLEN: Well, I talk about winning football a lot with our coaches and with our team and, to me, that's really where it begins. You don't always have to drive down and score, but it's being able to move, you get too, you kick, you take a kickoff, you get two first downs and get to mid field, and we have a really good punter, so that allows us to get them pinned down inside the 10 ideally, 5 is the best, but even just anything inside the 20 is good. But we have been getting a lot of them inside the 10. And that really puts so much pressure on the other team's offense. It's hard to drive the ball consistently when you do that. And our offense has just been staying on the field and that's, I think, the improvement our offensive line play, allows us to run the football, more manageable third downs, executing at a high level on offense, not dropping the football, receiver tight end and running back when those guys catch it. And just our ability of our quarterbacks to execute the game plan and be able to, even you think about it, we got that, the two offsides penalties first and 20, and we just didn't blink, just kind of just marched our way right down the field. So I think that the ability to do that is what feels so different. Like you said, so from the last bye week we had four games we knew we had to be an opportunity to win. And to get all four of those and to do it in a, to finish it in a dominating way is a really good feeling. Because that doesn't always happen and sometimes you get mental letups and you get this and get, and this group hasn't done that. And I felt confident going into the game that our guys were going to play well. Now, they got to go prove it on the field, but I felt good about our preparation. And so, but then we get those two false starts and I was like, that's not the way you want to start. So but anyways, we were able to flush that and not let it linger.

So I just think that the more focus is probably going to be on the get healthy, get rested part. That's going to be in the second bye week and having three games left of the regular season and then our bowl game. And but, really the focus is going to be on a lot of younger guys, their technique and them getting a lot of reps and getting better. And then from a drill perspective I'm going to have each, like I said, each coach identify individual techniques that we want to make sure we got. We kind of identified, even last night and from last week's game and week before, to be able to what we have to do better to be able to, as we play basically two Top-5, Top-10 teams here next and then the huge game in Purdue, which is game number three.

Q. I'm sure you mentioned or you made note of the fact that you guys just narrowly missed out on being in the AP top-25 for this week. How much does that change anything, if it does change anything, from your perspective and your players' perspective in terms of keeping their focus and making sure that maybe the national attention doesn't change too much the day-to-day things that you guys are doing?
TOM ALLEN: Well, you know, we did talk about it because I told our team during fall camp that we were a top-25 football team. I believed it. I did. I said we got to go prove it, but that's how I believed this football team is going to do. And so from that perspective we can't control any of that in terms of who decides to vote or not vote. But at the same time there is an expectation. I said this similar about couple years ago, I thought I wanted to have a top-25 defense and I was defensive coordinator in year two after being here. And so that's what we were able to do. So I just think that you set those things out there and you don't back away from those things and it's part of the program that you have and what you're building and it shows respect for that, but at the same time we can't control those things. I just know that we're playing a really good football team in Penn State here real soon. So whatever we have done in the last nine games, we have obviously done a lot of positive things, got a lot of things to keep getting better at, but that's kind of where you want to be as a program, you want to be where you're recognized as such and then when you get recognized at that level then you got to go sustain it and show that you deserve to be there and that's something that's a weekly thing that you have to have.

Q. You talked about him a little bit Saturday, but Stevie Scott. How important, I know he's tried to make a lot of changes in his game since even his freshman year to this year, how important has he been in the facilitation of DeBoer's system this season?
TOM ALLEN: Well, you know, as is always the case, all of our guys are important. Being the ability to run the football is critical, I talk about it all the time. Even talking about this game, it was going to be, one of our keys was how can we control the line of scrimmage on either side of the football and running the ball on offense, stopping them on defense are really the cornerstones of what we want to be able to do, even though we throw the ball quite a bit. And Stevie, just his effectiveness and being able to make it and have to account for him, it changes everything, man. He just, you notice Steven -- and that's one thing, we move our backs when they align pre-snap, and then we adjust different things from there. Well, that's when the guy had two false starts we actually shifted him and they shifted their whole alignment which caused our guys to jump, but they did that quite frequently. So it's all about trying to take him away. And now, nine games in to the season and going on number 10 and there's still trying to take him away. Now he's being able to be very effective against good defenses.

So he's a huge, huge part of our team, but even on Saturday night, just appreciate and respect the way he's handled his success and how hard he's worked and the humility that he has. And he's just a guy that appreciates his offensive line and knows how critical they are. But he's talented guy, he's big, strong. He ran over one of their guys early in the game and it's just, that just sends a message now. That's been happening to us about every game. There's at least one of those big ones where he just blows right through somebody, and that's no fun to take on for sixty minutes. So it's just, you know, and then eventually we get, Sampson continues to develop and grow. He's a very big, physical guy, too, that's going to keep getting bigger. So to be able to have two guys like that in this league is very critical.

Q. You mentioned after the Nebraska game getting that weight off your shoulders, of getting that sixth win, have you noticed anything in practice or in that Northwestern game in terms of the attitude your team is bringing where that number is not lingering at this point in the season?
TOM ALLEN: Well there's definitely a different energy. It's a confidence that it brings. Like I say, we didn't dwell on it a lot, we didn't talk about it a lot. As far as the sixth, getting that sixth win, we expected it, that was one of our expectations because we want to win our bowl game, not just get to a bowl game. And so, but I think that there's no question, even in the weight room today, there's just an energy every time, like I said, we keep getting better every time we play. I think the energy keeps growing each week. And I just think that that's just a byproduct of having success. And you work so hard and you sacrifice so much and you give so much to this that, man, it's awesome to see our guys rewarded for all their hard work. And now it's the challenge of, okay, how do you stay hungry, focused, that's what last week's one word, was starving, to be great and starving for us to keep improving and playing to the high level every time we take the field. And that's what it's going to take to go compete at a high level against Penn State on the road. So, but yeah, that, to me, is what you're seeing in practice and it's a whole lot of fun to be around these guys.

Q. Going back to Mike Penix. Would you say it's likely, probable, doubtful he plays next game? And also, do you kind of like the idea of the next opponent not knowing which quarterback may play a lot and they got to prep for two?
TOM ALLEN: Well, I will say this: First of all, I truly do not know. So if I did, I would give you more of a basis. I will know hopefully here soon. But I will say that on the other side of it, I hate not knowing who the quarterback's going to be. You can say all you want, it's, you really, you like to know what you got, know who your dealing with and get a plan together. So, yeah, there are some benefits to that on our end, that they don't know. So but that's, it's not by grand design that we're scheming that every week. So but that's just the way it's played out. But, yeah, it definitely creates a little bit of, you know, I like to know things and be able to plan accordingly.

Q. You told the story about Taiwan during his official visit, kind of sitting down with you. And I think you said he brought up those numbers that, I know you mentioned even a couple years ago when you first took the job. How unusual is it in your mind for a kid that young to be willing to embrace something kind of so big, and it's not necessarily site unseen, but it's not like he's from Indiana, it's not like he has a lot of background with the program before he becomes an IU recruit, to take on that kind of sort of challenge, I guess, in his own mind, how unusual is that in your mind?
TOM ALLEN: Well, I would say it's rare. If you polled our guys, I guarantee you a lot of the younger guys would not have necessarily known that, those three numbers. And I know I had never talked to him about them personally. So, to me, I'm just sitting there, we're in my office and he asked me for a piece of paper. And I go out to my, I tear out a piece of paper out of a notebook and hand it to him and he starts writing it down and he hands it to me. And so, he had on his own had researched and knew those and he knew how big a deal it was to me and the way I presented it initially. And so, but, yeah, I do think it's extremely unusual. It impressed me. It got my attention that this kid, I thought he was a special guy just because of getting to know him in the process and getting to know his family, but he just, he's such a competitor. And he's just such a -- even if you kind of go back, he's, the culture in Florida right now, in terms of high school, is that some kids, there's an openness to the ability to transfer schools. And so just the fact that he stayed at the school that he was. In his older brother was there, who played for Clemson and now plays for the Raiders. And so after his brother graduated he could have easily left because he wasn't from a high school that had some maybe long-standing success that others around him had had and wanted him to come play for them. And the fact he just chose to stay there because he wanted to make history there, and they made the playoffs for the first time in 10 years, his senior year, so they didn't even do it with his older, his older brother was with him when he was a sophomore. So just that kind of -- so you kind of, I think you just -- you can learn about, a lot about young men by getting to know them and their past and their, how are they. That's why getting to know high school coaches is so critical in recruiting because those guys know the young men so well. Because we don't just all of a sudden just become a different guy when you show up on campus. Your habits and the qualities that make you who you are in high school, those things usually stay pretty similar. Yeah, you mature and you grow. And I tell this to parents all the time, if your son doesn't care about school when he's in high school, there's no magic wand I'm going to be able to put over him that makes him going to just love going to class and love getting his education. So you better find guys that care about school.

So a kid like that, this kid, he cared about coming here and making history. Well, he wanted to the do same thing at his own high school and took pride in that. So I think you, that's maybe would have been a good precursor to see. That's the kind of kid you're dealing with. But he's, and he's not very big, but he caused that first fumble in the game and he recovers it. And I mean, that doesn't mean recover, he wasn't even close to the ball when it came out. I don't know how he even got the ball. He just has that just knack and ability to just make plays. And he believes in himself. So, and he doesn't say a whole lot. He's confident, very confident, but doesn't do a lot of jawing. And but those kind of guys like that are special. And he's made plays, consistently against our best competition. So, yeah, I just, he's a joy to be around, he was a joy to recruit. I loved talking to him. He talked to my wife all the time, he got to know my whole family, he was just one of those rare guys that just, he FaceTimed me, I'm not kidding, about every single day, he would FaceTime me. It wasn't very long, five, ten minutes, but every single day that kid would call me. And we talked and we got really, really close. And so, I mean, I wasn't shocked we got him because I would have been shocked if he didn't come here as much as we talked.

So but at the same time, it's about relationships, and he, for some reason we connected and he wanted to be here and he wanted to come do something special. That's why he grabbed me and said, Coach, we're doing what we said we're going to do, we got to just keep on going. So I love that kid.

Q. The offensive line has obviously made strides as the season's gone on despite the injury issues and Coy being out for the season. How important has Coy been to this offensive line and has he helped these guys understand their roles?
TOM ALLEN: Well, he's been huge. You go through, and I know Coy's sitting right here, but if I had to say one guy that we could not lose this year, it was that guy. For a whole myriad of reasons. And I mean, when he went down and I saw his foot going one direction and supposed to be going the other, I knew this was not good and my heart just sank. And I was just sick, sick, sick, because I knew pretty much right then it wasn't going to be a good outcome.

But you know, he's accepted the role, he, I tell you, to his credit, man, as devastating as it is he doesn't mope around and feel sorry for himself. And that's helped his teammates, he's kind of rallied them, and he's dove right in and he helps these guys get ready, he plays a huge role. And I challenge him, I say, hey, it's a different role than we thought we would have, but you're a captain of this team, you're a leader of this team, and this is your football team. And so he's embraced that new role as a guy that's got, even though he's not out there making plays he's helping his brothers make plays and helping them get ready every week. So that's awesome to see. Not surprising. He's just that kind of guy. I'm sure he's, it's hard to not be out there with, especially with what's going on, but at the same time he's a big part of it. We couldn't do it without him. And it's been neat to see those guys rally and step up. And Matt kind of struggled Saturday night. He did. It was probably one of his toughest games, you know, and so, and I knew they're a good defense line he was playing against. And they did a lot of things schematically that were tough. So he's going to, we're going to continue to need Coy to help him keep developing and just accepting that new role of being, you know, a guy that's going to help this team get better and in whatever it takes and that's what he's doing.

Q. Talked on the offensive line going into the Penn State game a huge environment. How much did the win and the play at Nebraska help for this type of environment coming in?
TOM ALLEN: Well that's big. That's a good point because that's really, you can't simulate that noise. Like I say, we do it in practice as best we can, but it's not the same. So now we've got a game under our belt where our guys have played in it and been able to know what that's going to feel like. And it does, it affects our offense. That's the one group that gets the biggest impact because of the noise and the crowd and size and the noise level and all the different things that it causes you to do with snap count and different things. It just makes, everything's just a little slower in how you react and all that. So I think there's nothing like experience. Experience always matters, makes you better, you learn from it. And I think it would be a valuable asset for us as we move forward.

Q. I know you worked with Willie Taggert for a year. Did you reach out to him over the weekend with regards to his situation?
TOM ALLEN: You just want to make sure guys know that you care about them and praying for them and it's tough. Another close friend of mine, another situation, you know, that same type of thing. So, yeah, it's tough business we're in, so my heart always breaks for families when they, because you forget about the kids and the wives and they're all affected by all this stuff, too, in a big way.

Q. To follow up on Don's question. Talking to Matt Bedford last week, he said when he got here in January he was barely pushing 265 pounds and could barely do 225 on the bench. When he got here in January, would you, could you have ever expected that you would have had to rely on him at left tackle all year like have you?
TOM ALLEN: No. You know, I just, you don't want to -- I just -- for what you just said, he's a guy that we felt like had huge up side, great potential, but was going to take some time. From a weight-gain perspective, strength, technique, that's a hard position. I mean, Coy is one of the rare guys that's been a four-year starter at that position. He did it for himself, so he can attest to it, how hard it is, but -- and I just think, and the thing about Matt that was different was he hadn't really played the position as much either. And I know Coy wasn't, it's probably a similar situation, probably. But at the same time Bedford was not a seasoned offensive lineman. So I think coming in in January that was huge. I don't know that he could have done it at all had he just come in over the summer. So that proved to be a very, very positive thing for him. But yeah I just, no, I wouldn't have predicted it because number one, we knew we were set at that position with Coy and didn't, hoped we didn't have to need him to do that, but I just think that it's such a hard position to play. But he's responded and, you know, and to his credit and Coach Hiller's credit and Coy's credit to help get him ready and the whole room. But, yeah, that's tough, tough assignment to be given.

Q. You can't get into specifics with Michael but is it at all related to either the two previous injuries? And are you at all concerned about his ability to stay on the field as player?
TOM ALLEN: It's not related. And I think that we have to, moving forward just with any of our quarterbacks you always have to be very careful in how you use them to limit the number of hits that they take. You can't eliminate them, it's not possible. It's a full contact game. And but yeah I just, like all you got to do is look around the country, NFL level, I mean, it doesn't change. It's, they're going to get hit. And, but yeah, you got to, you kind of got to guard that. And I just think too for him just moving forward, and we have talked about this and we'll, he just, he just needs to get bigger and gain a lot more good muscle mass on his frame. He's got a good frame and we have a good plan for that here to continue for him to grow in that area and put on good weight and get thicker and all those kind of things to be able to take the hits he's going to take at this level and beyond. So, yeah, but it's a, um, it's tough. Got to keep guys healthy and we don't hit him during the week for a reason, but they get hit on game day. Can't keep that blue jersey on.

Q. You mentioned him earlier. You've talked in the past about Haydon I think he's listed as red shirt senior but there potentially being more. Where is that? Is that something that's approved? Is that something that's pending? What's the process I guess especially for an international guy to try and sort of rearrange his eligibility because obviously his background is different?
TOM ALLEN: It is different. So to answer your question we have to do an appeal process which we have. We were not allowed to do it until his senior year started. So we started the appeal process as soon as the year started. And so we feel good about it. We don't have, we have not got confirmation back yet that he has got that year back but we expect him to. And so but since we haven't gotten back officially I can't tell you that is he officially got that year. So but it does look positive. But yeah we would have done it a year ago if we could but you can't. It's a different process for international students and we're following all the procedures for that.

Q. Is that an extra one year?
TOM ALLEN: Yeah, one more year. So he's technically, in our mind he's a junior, you know, and so we hope to have him for one more year.

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