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INDIANA UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
January 11, 2020
TOM ALLEN: Good morning. Appreciate you guys being here.
Just excited to officially announce and to introduce Nick Sheridan as our new offensive coordinator for the Indiana Hoosiers. Just really excited about the opportunity that Nick has earned. That's how I view it.
He's been with us here the last several years since I took over as head coach. A lot of respect for Nick and what he's done while he's been here.
I think when you go through, hiring is about fit, it's about timing at times, it's about getting a guy that will help you better your program. I felt like a year ago when Mike DeBord decided to retire, bringing in Kalen DeBoer was the right fit, the right timing, was an excellent addition to our staff. He did a tremendous job.
At that time Nick went from coaching the quarterbacks and moved to tight ends and did a tremendous job. Grew I think even more so as a coach as you kind of work into a new position coaching even in special teams work. It's just a different feel.
I saw even more out of him that even impressed me more. The way he handled that, obviously his comfort zone with quarterbacks, that area.
I challenged him about being able to grow in that and he responded in a great, great way. That's what goes into it. You listen to people you work with. Kalen came to me actually even before he knew he was leaving just about what Nick brings to our staff, the mind that he has, the offensive abilities that he has.
Kalen was just raving to me about him, what he felt he brought to our staff and the way he thought and saw things, both schematically and in personnel.
That just all the more gave me the confidence. I feel with very strong confidence to make this decision. I have talked to all of our coaches prior to announcing it, making the final call. They were all 100% onboard with Nick. I know our players feel the same way.
With all that being said, just really excited about promoting Nick to the offensive coordinator position for the 2020 season and beyond. I believe he'll do a tremendous job.
Give him a chance to make an opening statement, you can have questions.
NICK SHERIDAN: I want to echo some of the things that coach said. I want to thank coach for this opportunity. I'm extremely humbled, grateful. I don't take it lightly. I told him when we had these conversations that I won't let him down.
I'm thankful to get to work with the staff we work with. Tremendous chemistry. Grant, Mike, Darren, Danny, Mike Piatkowski, Vic, our student assistant, they've all done a phenomenal job. That's one of the things I'm grateful for, the opportunity to continue to work with them.
Lastly, I want to thank our players, let them know how excited I am to continue to work with them. Their competitiveness, their toughness, their grit, the way that they performed this year, I just couldn't be more excited to continue to get a chance to work with them. We're really excited about what's ahead, so...
Q. Your offensive philosophy, can you sum that up in the shortest way possible? Who have been the biggest influencers to you coaching-wise?
NICK SHERIDAN: I think when you look at our identity, we want to be an attacking, pro tempo offense that features its play-makers. We want to be an offense that's quarterback driven and quarterback friendly. There's a lot that goes into it. Obviously the biggest factor in winning and losing is turnover margin and creating explosive plays. That's how you score points. Everything that we do, everything that we put together is in an attempt to help us win and help us score points. That's really what we're trying to do.
As far as influences, I've tried to pride myself in learning every step of the way. I've learned from a lot of great coaches starting with my dad. I've been fortunate that my father is a defensive coach. I've learned from a young age some of the things that give them problems.
Then from there, every coach I worked with. Certainly Coach DeBoer, what he brought to our offense this last we're was a tremendous influence on that. Mike DeBord, I wouldn't be here without my connection from him. Incredibly grateful to him and all that he's done for me.
Certainly Coach Allen. I got asked this yesterday, but I've learned every single day I've been here from Coach Allen. The work ethic, integrity, passion he has for our players, it's motivating. It makes it easy to come to the office every day. I'm excited about that.
Q. The shift from being a position coach to calling plays, what is that process? How do you plan to adapt to that as this is the first time calling plays?
NICK SHERIDAN: Certainly I'm excited about that. I look at everything as an opportunity. The selection of plays on game day is critical. Obviously that's an important part of this role. I'm really looking forward to doing that.
I think when you asked about offensive philosophy, I think the first word that we want to hang our hat on is being attacking. We want to be aggressive. We want to make sure we do things that help us get first downs and score points. At the same time nothing is more important than winning.
I think sometimes as an offensive coach, you want to do what helps you win first, then obviously what helps you score points, and not in the reverse order. You don't want to jeopardize your opportunity to win because of your recklessness, so to speak. I'm looking forward to that opportunity.
I know the staff, the plan we put together from Sunday till kickoff, will give you the confidence to make sure the plays you are going to select are going to work. Obviously the timing of that is important. I'm looking forward to that.
Q. Tom, you've obviously hired young coaches before. What gives you the confidence here to skip the step of experience with play calling experience?
TOM ALLEN: I think for me it comes down to being able to have a mind for the game. That's such a big part. When you talk to people, the thing that helps me is being on the headsets throughout all the games for three straight years now. Nick, the first two years, was the one I communicated with a lot of things on the headsets regarding our offense, obviously in conjunction with Mike DeBord.
I just feel without any hesitation that the feel for the game, the understanding of the game, the ability to have the big picture of it all. Some guys can visualize it, verbalize it in their mind. Really good play callers can do that. They can see it, anticipate what's next.
The system that we have, I really believe strongly in what we've evolved into it. Really came all together this year. That's the thing, too, there weren't as many wholesale changes as it appeared. There's a lot of continuity to things. We call things differently. Kalen came in. It wasn't bringing in a whole different system. There's no question it was tweaked and made better.
I gave Kalen the charge, I wanted us with the change last year to create more explosive plays, which I felt like would create more points. Those two went together as has already been mentioned.
It's about the turnover margin for a team and the explosive play ratio as the team. When you do that on offense, you protect the football, you create explosive plays, you usually score more points. That's what we were able to do. Those were probably two the biggest differences in our team from before.
To be able to see and understand all that, to be able to anticipate is really kind of what I think is the biggest quality, is you can visualize, have a feel for where the defense is going to be aligning, where the weaknesses in that defense are, where you can attack them. That's to me what play calling is about. It is timing. You have to have the feel for that.
Just like anything else, for me, when Coach Taggart hired me from Ole Miss, I had not called it at this level, really not anything close to it when I got to this point. But he believed in my preparation, the ability for me to do that. I was able to prove him that I was able to.
I feel the same way with Nick, really just have absolutely -- I'm excited, looking forward to having him put his stamp on this offense.
But as he said, it's just such a good room. I just love our staff. They work so well together. I sit in all those meetings, communicate in the headsets, understand how they work, manipulate, adjust and adapt during the games, game plan together.
The 'we' is better than 'me' as a staff. So all that collective group is better than any one of them individually. Kalen would be the first one to say that even when he was here. That's why I see it being a great, natural next step for us, and a very, very good next step for our team and our program.
Q. Nick, you talked about a lot of coaches you had the opportunity to learn under. The one you're replacing had a huge impact on Indiana's offense. What did you learn from him? What can you use to build off of that?
NICK SHERIDAN: I think the most important thing is just the type of person he was, how he treated people. The way he was consistent on a day-to-day basis I think gave our players great confidence because they knew what they were getting.
Obviously some of the scheme additions, some of the alterations in what we were doing and improvements, obviously those are things that we'll continue to grow on and build on. More than anything, just the type of person he was, how he led. His wife Nicole and his two girls, I mean, we couldn't have asked for a better fit. We're thankful to Coach Allen that's who he ended up going to get for us. It was great.
We're going to miss him. We're excited for him, looking forward to cheering him on as he continues to chase his dreams.
Q. How much input did you have on game plan last season, play calling as the game went on? Do you see yourself doing it from the sidelines or up in the press box?
NICK SHERIDAN: I helped input for all the plays that worked and scored, all the other ones I had nothing to do with (laughter).
It's a collective effort, it really is. Like I said, as I mentioned prior, I couldn't say enough about Grant Heard, Mike Hart... I know coach mentioned it. We really do work well together. Coach has been preaching the culture of LEO. I feel like in the offensive staff room, we live it every day.
As far as locations on game day, that will be to be determined at a later date. We'll do whatever is best for our players, give them confidence on game day. We'll discuss that as we continue to move forward.
Q. Nick, in terms of having fun calling plays, innovating plays, how much do you look forward to that? Are you the type of guy that dreams up plays on the sidelines there?
NICK SHERIDAN: Well, there's not as much of that as you may think. Obviously we don't get four to six hours of sleep Monday through Friday just to draw up plays on Saturday. There's a lot of preparation that goes into the game.
I love the schematics part of football. My favorite part about coaching is the players, is the interaction with the players. To say I don't enjoy the X's and O's, the schematic competition that goes into coaching, I absolutely do. There's a fine line between trying to be too creative, but then your execution can suffer.
You have to make sure that your players can execute on game day. You're doing everything in your power to give them the best schematic advantage you can. That challenge is exciting. I know my staff and ourselves are looking forward to that.
Q. Three top receivers, two top runningbacks coming back. Thoughts on the personnel that you have, maybe the expectations that come with that?
NICK SHERIDAN: Our expectations are to do better next year than this year. It will always be that way. We're looking to try to grow and improve. Challenge to the players is just because you had some success last season, it has no impact on what you're going to do in the future. You have to earn it every day in this league.
We're looking forward to that. Very excited about the quality of people that coach and the rest of the staff has brought here to Indiana.
The players, they're just a joy to be around. I know I mentioned it at the beginning. One of the things I'm most excited about is just to continue to work with our players. The energy, the passion, the commitment to one another, the LEO mindset they bring on a day-to-day basis, I just couldn't be more thrilled and excited.
Q. Coach, along with the news of Coach Sheridan, there's news of title changes. Does that constitute any role changes or a redefinition of how they contributed this season?
TOM ALLEN: Really excited to be able to promote Grant Heard to co-offensive coordinator. I think in my mind that just increases to show my confidence in him and his ability to expand his role. He's been the pass game coordinator.
The challenge for me as I challenge him, he has goals for his future as well. I feel like for him to expand as an offensive-minded individual, the run game, protections, those kind of areas, to be able to be more involved in that, to help him grow there and get where he wants to be. I know our staff will benefit from that.
The same as Mike Hart. The way of being associate head coach, if I'm ever not at something, they are the ones that the team looks to be in my place. That's a big deal. Like the assistant head coach has more the role of doing the behind-the-scenes things that nobody likes to do, but just helping with things that need to be done.
But the associate head coach to me is going to stand in front of the team and take my place when I can't be at something, when he needs to address the team with something.
Kalen DeBoer was in that role previously. Mike DeBord before that. Both those guys had been head coaches before at other places. I just feel like from Mike Hart's perspective, that's a big deal to me. I trust him. He has a great feel. Talks to our players a lot. Handles a lot of things for me that are really important, sensitive things that you have to have somebody there that has a great feel for you and who you are and how you would talk to either the players or to whoever he's dealing with.
I just think those are two important roles. So I do see them as definite important promotions within our program and feel like with having Nick in his first time in this role, give him that support with those guys, it's important.
Excited about those two guys, then Darren Hiller continues to be just a mainstay on that side of the ball, as really coordinating our run game and shoring up our protections.
Q. Nick, anecdotally, Kalen in the press box last season, spent a fair bit of time on game day. How does that maybe help keep that relationship, obviously from a title perspective...
NICK SHERIDAN: That's a great question. The one thing I tell all the players that I've been fortunate enough to coach is once I'm your coach, I'm always your coach. Just because your title or role may change, that didn't mean I didn't continue to have a relationship with the guys in that room.
I think the world of all those kids. I've been directly involved with the majority of their recruitments. I'm excited about continuing to work with them. I've spoken to the tight ends. I'm excited as a coordinator you get an opportunity to coach everybody. You certainly trust the staff that you have. They do the primary coaching for their positions.
But I'm looking forward to continuing to grow and develop those relationships. Like I said earlier, that's my favorite part of coaching, is interaction with the players. I'm very much looking forward to that.
Q. Tom, how close are you to making a decision on adding another staff member?
TOM ALLEN: We're getting ready to go to the convention here. Actually leaving this afternoon. We got some positions that we've got to get squared away. Nothing is official with all that. It's the time of year. Those sources, confirmed, are flying around like crazy across Twitter and beyond.
But, yeah, we'll have those. I hope to have everything kind of squared away with our staff, I'll have some questions answered probably within the next five to six days.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports