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INDIANA UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
December 8, 2019
FRED GLASS: Today is a particularly great day, I can affirm officially what I think all of you know, is that Indiana University will be playing Tennessee Volunteers in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl on January 2nd. We're thrilled about that. The Executive Director Rick Catlin called me about 4:00 to officially offer us that opportunity, and we immediately accepted that. And I called my boss President McRobbie who was pleased and excited about the opportunity to go to Florida, and called Tom right after that.
Also excited first Florida Bowl ever for Indiana University, yet another first for Tom's team and we're excited to be able to play in Florida, only our third time playing in January when I think the eyes of the nation are particularly on us.
We have emphasized to our new friends at the Gator Bowl, we have 23,000 alumni who live within 300 miles of Jacksonville, that doesn't even include the snowbirds that are down there in the winter. I think we'll have a lot of folks already there, if you will, as well as I expect we'll travel great to the Gator Bowl. Not only because it is in Florida, but also January 2nd I think works very well for families. It was harder the day after Christmas in New York and it was harder in Santa Clara. This is a much easier push for our folks.
As many of you know, as we emphasized also to the Gator Bowl, folks, a Big 10 high, 26 of our players are from Florida, that grows to 34 if you just include the surrounding states. I think that will increase fan interest down there as well.
We're really excited to get another crack at the Volunteers. As you know, we played them close in 1998. Coach was telling me that Mark Hagen was on that team. It will be payback time particularly for him.
And with that, I'll just turn it over to Tom and then be happy to answer any questions that you all may have.
TOM ALLEN: I want to start by saying just really very thankful, blessed, appreciate the opportunity that Fred and our administration has given me with our new contract. To me it is a testament to our whole staff and what all that they're doing and how hard everybody is working, just the direction we're going, and it gives us tremendous confidence in the backing that we have. And as we share with recruits, it is a critical time of the year for that and had many on campus this weekend, to be able to share the direction that we're going and the confidence knowing that I'll be here for many years to come and that gives parents a lot of peace in knowing that fact. Just really appreciate it.
And want to also talk about the Bowl opportunity, just a tremendous reward for our players. They worked so hard. Just to be able to go to this particular bowl, the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, I know we have a couple of players, that being their home with Devon Matthews and Khalil Bryant living in Jacksonville. And as Fred mentioned there are many players in the southeast part of the country that we have on our roster, to be able to have them and a chance to play, you know, near their families and just to be able to have the first ever Florida Bowl opportunity is just pretty special because that state has been important to us in recruiting.
I just really am proud of our young men, proud of our coaching staff and really thankful for the opportunity we have been given with this Bowl and the chance to improve as a team as we have a young team that can take advantage of the opportunities in practice and get better. And then go down there, and try to get us a Bowl win against a very good football team that's improved throughout the season, playing their best football at the end and a lot of respect for the SCC and Coach Pruitt and what he's doing in Tennessee, a great opportunity, challenge, looking forward to it.
FRED GLASS: I will add my excitement for the new contract with Tom, it feels we moved on almost from that. It wasn't that long in the making. Thrilled to get that done.
Reflects a huge commitment to Tom, huge commitment to university football and very importantly a deep commitment that transcends me, transcends the athletic department, reflects engagement and support from the president and the Board of Trustees as well which also bodes well for the future of IU football.
Q. I won't ask about any other potential Bowls. I think there was it seemed like a possibility of you sliding one that you played in the recent past, not wanting to offend anybody else, is there still I guess a level of satisfaction giving guys a new experience and a different Bowl, a Bowl that nobody has been to?
TOM ALLEN: I think so. I think that the majority of our guys have not played in a Bowl Game. We have some of our older guys that had played in a couple of Bowls that we could have been in play for.
The chance to go to a new venue, new opportunity, new state, I think -- yeah. This is -- every single guy on our team is playing in this Bowl Game for the very first time. That makes it even more special.
Q. Coach, I know obviously with your contract, you still had a few years left. Recruiting, coaching, it is about relationships, telling guys you'll be here for a while. How big is it with visitors in this weekend, going out, telling guys I'm the coach of Indiana for quite a while?
TOM ALLEN: I don't think you can put a price tag on that. It is huge.
I think many -- you get into the contract, you get into the point when you have a certain number of years left, and that becomes the question. Hey, are you going to be here? How long are you going to be here? You get asked that a lot in the recruiting process.
I can say with absolute confidence this is -- I just signed this contract at this particular time and this is what it means. There is no question it gives them tremendous confidence in the future. They just want to make sure that you're going to be the one coaching their son the whole time that he's here at Indiana. That's been put to rest with the new contract, and that's why it means a lot.
It is a tremendous investment by our University in our football program, and that's why it is so important and it is very much appreciated.
FRED GLASS: A footnote on that maybe, while it has been mentioned, I think it has been overlooked a little bit that it is really an important component of that contract, the evergreen provision, where any year that Tom's team qualifies for a Bowl Game another year is added. Which is also a commitment to the longevity and hopefully the security and hopefully avoids the question of coach, you don't have many years left because my expectation we won't get to that point.
That's something frankly Tom's representatives didn't ask for, that's something I wanted. I wanted to have that commitment out there again, an institutional commitment, not just an athletic department commitment.
Q. Coach, the Bowl in Jacksonville, very important for a lot of different reasons. Talk about the different benefits it's providing besides being in Florida. It is the only game that night, there is no other NFL game, no other Bowl Games, it is going to be Indiana, a three-hour commercial.
TOBY: You're correct. It is a national stage that you get to play on against a nationally recognized football program and a nationally recognized Bowl. All of those things combined, and the time of year, as you mentioned, when we have a chance to be the one thing that everybody is watching, when we're at home, and I just -- you know, being raised in a home of a coach, watching all of these Bowl Games since I was young. You have to remember, to me it just means a lot. You know, you just sit there, you dream of one day being in that situation, to be a part of one of those either as a player, a coach. Now to have that is pretty awesome. I know our guys feel that way.
The location, it is huge. So many of our guys are from the southeast, and they wanted a Florida Bowl really bad. You never know how it all is going to play out. There's a lot of variables that go into which Bowl you get selected to play in.
I do know that just a great reward for a lot of hard work, for a lot of individuals on the team and the coaching staff and training staff and all the guys that have helped us, recruiting staff, everyone.
The practices, you can't put a price tag on that either. We're a young football team, to have those extra practices now are going to be huge for us. You basically of have a whole set of spring practices in addition to what we'll have afterwards in April, May.
Then the chance to continue to build on the momentum we have in recruiting and to be able to get recruits to be able to watch us and just take advantage of all the benefits of being in a Bowl, and that time of the year when everybody else is sitting there watching.
Q. I know you haven't had much notice that you're playing Tennessee, but an interesting story this year, a five-year winning streak to end the season, a team that will travel well I would think. Talk about your opponent.
TOM ALLEN: Have not watched them really on film. I have seen a couple -- when you sit, watch games throughout certain Saturdays, I have seen a little bit of that, but not much.
I did know that they finished really strong, you know, and we recognize that's about doing a great job as a coaching staff. You know, when you have a chance to improve and you play your best football at the end of the season which is what you want to do, that's a sign of a really well-coached team.
And I know Coach Pruitt is an excellent football coach himself, and has done a systematically very good job of rebuilding that program there. I know he has a tremendous resume and has been a lot of great places and coached a lot of great football teams.
A lot of respect for their program. Obviously a ton of respect for that conference. I have coached in it myself several years ago. Just understand the kind of athlete we'll be playing against, and really excited for that challenge and that opportunity.
I know we don't have a lot of schematic thoughts about them yet. I haven't watched them. We'll start that process here real soon when we get through with recruiting and get our laptops rolling on all that information.
I do know that they'll be a very well-coached team, very athletic football team, physical football team, and we'll have to play our best football to get that very precious Bowl win that we want so bad.
Q. You touched on the practices. How do you balance the development time with the game planning for your part, a goal at the beginning of the season was to win the game?
TOM ALLEN: I have learned in the Bowl experiences I have had, you can't start preparing for the opponent too soon, it gets stale if you spend too much time working on them. We'll try to balance that and have the loaded practice.
In the beginning we'll be emphasizing more of technique, development, fundamentals and trying to -- we'll just be going against each other, and probably the first half of our practices and to be able to just get better. You know, get a lot of guys that are younger, a lot of reps. That's the plan, and as we move closer to the Bowl Game then we'll be able to get into the game planning portion.
I think the way this one works out, we'll be able to be -- we'll be at the Bowl site and have a complete cycle of practices, which is not always the case. We'll be there long enough to be able to have a normal Tuesday, a normal Wednesday, normal Thursday, and then a normal Friday prior to kick-off on January 2nd.
When we get to the Bowl site, we'll start with a Tuesday practice, that first full day that we're there and allow our young men to be able to get physically ready for that.
Also because of playing so late in the end of January we'll be able to give them breaks in between and want to be able to have our young men be able to go home for Christmas which is very, very important. We'll do that for them, and let our guys know that schedule here this week.
I just like the way it plans out. We kind of had several different calendars we have been working on and the Gator Bowl is one of them. When we found out today that it was going to be that spot, then we kicked that calendar in place and start rolling. We'll be ready.
Q. As far as the contract, I don't know if this is a detail that you emphasize or your representatives, but the 500,000 for the assistant coaches put in the pool, how much of a sticking point was that and why is that so important?
TOM ALLEN: I don't think it was a sticking point. I think it was something, you know, we both agreed was very important.
I just think you have to invest in your staff, you have to invest in your people., and the whole variety of roles that are represented and both the shrink staff, recruiting staff, coaching staff, everything that plays a huge role in doing what we do as a program.
You have to continue to invest in those areas and to be able to be competitive from a market value standpoint for each position. And so I think both sides were very, very of the understanding that that was important.
Q. I was going to ask about the schedule. You're recruiting this week all on the road. When will you kind of start getting back on the practice field and getting the guys just back in the flow of things?
TOM ALLEN: A good question. We gave them last week off, and they had two workouts with the strength staff and two days to run but did no football last week. We just really needed some guys to get healthy and rest and kind of get a break.
We went out, recruited. Then we had a big recruiting weekend these last couple of days. We'll head out again tonight, some already have headed out, they're already in homes as we speak.
And so we will have a couple of days this week of some 7 on 7s, not very long, and do some individual work with our O line, D line without pads on it, three days of lifting and we'll start practice on Friday.
We'll go Friday, Saturday, Sunday this weekend of pads and that will start practice 1, 2, 3, take a couple of days off for exams and then have a couple modified days with exam adjustments and then get into the full bore Bowl practices.
Q. I guess in terms of health, where are you guys? I know you have guys like Mike and Coy out all year, but guys like Stevie, Matt Bedford, is there a chance some of these guys could be back for the Bowl?
TOM ALLEN: I will say the January 2nd date was very helpful. You know, every day we could gain in length from the last time that we played until now is big.
As of today and talking with our medical staff I feel really good about Matt Bedford being ready to roll. I feel really good about Sampson James being completely ready to go, and Stevie Scott with the extra week basically of the different variations of Bowl opportunities that we had, this being the latest one, optimistic about him, I would say still not a guarantee yet. Obviously it does help that we'll be playing in early January. We'll know more about him, and I'll be able to say more about him probably after we practice a few days later on this week as to where he's at.
Q. Fred, for yourself, looking at the past little chunk of time here where you have completed stadium renovations, the locker room, introducing beer and wine sales and the Tom's new contract. What's next on the checklist in getting this program to the spot you want it to be at?
FRED GLASS: Well, we have priorities throughout the department. We're really full blown in the Armstrong Stadium renovation for our soccer programs, but one of the things Tom and I talked about, you're never done. You never check the box.
And you guys have been hearing this from me ever since I got here. Two ways for India Indiana foo football to be excellent, continuity of leadership and continuity of major investments, and you never rest on your laurels. And the $500,000 salary pool increase is indicative of that.
Tom and I have an understanding about other things that we'll want to do, and I really don't think there has been anything that Tom has brought to us that we haven't figured out a way to get it done and we'll just keep on with that.
Yeah, it is exciting that the new locker room is a game changer, closing the stadium, it is a game changer. I think this contract is a game changer, but we're not done and we continue to make those investments.
Q. One more quick injury thing, Darren hill, he didn't play last game. Is he okay?
TOM ALLEN: Yeah. He had a procedure done, a lower body injury and so it would be not available for the Bowl Game.
Q. And you have recruited really well in the State of Florida, what kind of further showcase could this be if you go down there and play well in terms of showing high school kids and stuff?
TOM ALLEN: We'll continue to recruit there. I think it is big. I think it is really big.
You know, I just think it is all about relationships, all about those programs down there. Whatever state that we recruit to, seeing their young men come to Indiana and be successful. When they see their -- if I'm a coach, I see, I know my players are coming to Indiana, they're treated a certain way, being developed as men and challenged to be great in the classroom and they're able to perform at a high level on the football field it just accentuates everything that we're doing and puts a stamp of approval that you can come to Indiana and have a great experience and play big-time college football in the Big 10 conference and play on a national stage and come down to your -- back to your home state and play in a Bowl Game. I just think those are things that continue to build the momentum of our recruiting down there, and I only see this as a chance to grow that and so that's why -- another reason why I'm very excited about this Bowl.
Q. Tom, when you took the chance to become a college coach, did you envision a scenario where you would be signing a contract like this?
TOM ALLEN: No. That was not -- not really part of the plan.
You know, I just think back to that time and the discussions I had with individuals, one of those being my wife, you know, and all the sacrifices that she had to make and there were -- most of those years, she was a school teacher and she had to get a new job every time we moved, and that was seven moves in ten years, and she was the one that had the brunt of that. You know, she had to get a new job every year, because she was making more than I was, you know, at most of those places. So small college coaching doesn't really pay a lot, you know.
You knew hopefully one day you would have a chance to make a little bit more, but to say that I would ever dream of that, think of that, no. It was really beyond my wildest dreams to be honest with you. That's why I just feel amazingly blessed and very thankful, appreciative.
But it was never about that. You know, it really wasn't, never was. So I guess that's why I just wasn't something that we aspired to.
You just want to be able to take care of your family and make sure they're having -- wanted our children to get a great education and be a part of a good community each time we moved and find a good church and help them to continue to develop and that was really the focus and I was concerned about that.
And obviously pay for all of the debt we created over the years of buying and selling homes that we lost money on which is what you do when you live there for eight months, but I didn't want to rent a bunch either. I wanted our kids to feel like they had a home. We only did that one time when we didn't have a choice because we lost so much on the house previously when the housing market crashed there in the mid to late 2008/9 time.
So I think to answer your question, no, it is really, really way beyond what I ever thought. It makes it really special and I feel pretty blessed.
Q. I guess Tom for the Bowl Game, you kind of talked about the balance between getting some of the younger guys reps versus actually winning the game. In terms of the Bowl Game experience, how much do you value actually winning the game versus just the fact of you're on a national stage? Regardless of the result, this will still be an advertisement for Indiana University being in a January Bowl time for such a rare time in the history of the program.
TOM ALLEN: There's no question the experience, like you said, the stage you're going to play on, the fact that we'll be playing when everyone will be watching, what that means and advertisement. As you know, you can call that for Indiana football and Indiana University, itís a very, very powerful thing. That helps.
But we're going there to win. I mean, that's -- there's no question. I shared this earlier when I spoke on the Big 10 network, that's the fact that our leadership council came up with three preseason goals for the year, and one of those goals was to win our Bowl Game. So that was on the minds of our players, that was on the hearts of our players, that's why when we got the sixth win they were excited, but they weren't -- you know, didn't act like they had accomplished everything that they wanted because they didn't just want to get to a Bowl Game, they want to win the Bowl Game. That's obviously the next step.
So you play really good football team, that will be challenging to do, but at the same time you know we're going there to win.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports