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September 18, 2021

Tom Allen

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Press Conference

Cincinnati 38, Indiana 24

Q. Defense was playing really well early on, you get the penalty, Micah gets ejected. Seemed like momentum shifted, a little bit deflated on that side of the ball.

TOM ALLEN: Yeah, it was massive, without question. Changed everything.

Q. Talking about Micah, three picks, also a couple touchdown passes, some drops. Is it one where you maybe look at him and ask for better decision making, but maybe his receivers help too?

TOM ALLEN: I agree. I saw several drops out there by some of our key guys we were counting on. It is a collective group. It is the offensive line, it's everybody. And it's better decision making by him.

You got to protect the football. To me against a good team like this, they're a good football team, you can't make those kind of mistakes. You can't turn the ball over, you can't be in the red zone, tight red zone, three times and get no points. To me that was the game right there. Three trips in there, no points.

Q. The decision early on fourth down to go for it, didn't work. Was it just a matter of trying to be aggressive?

TOM ALLEN: Coming into this game, the kind of offense they have, you don't beat them kicking field goals. Fourth-and-one, we muffed the snap, then everything kind of...

Another ball security issue to me. We didn't handle the snap and we didn't get it. Should have converted. I'd to that 10 times out of 10.

You got to score touchdowns. We did not. This one's on us.

Q. With Penix's struggles, how are you going to evaluate the quarterback position this week? Is a change something on the table?

TOM ALLEN: I'm going to look at everything in terms of evaluating your team. Everybody gets evaluated. You evaluate the offensive line, defensive line, safeties, corners, linebackers, quarterbacks, runningbacks. Every position you got to perform, you got to make good decisions in that spot.

I'm never going to act like nobody's job is 100% safe. I don't care what position you play on this team. You better perform, you better play to a high level to do the things we know we got to do to win football games.

You see what we can do when we're all locked in, playing to the standard we have here, how good we can be. When you don't, you also see that result.

But, yes, everybody's being evaluated.

Q. On the fumble on the goal line late in the fourth quarter, was Stephen Carr available?

TOM ALLEN: Yeah, I thought all three guys were running hard. Dayveon had a great run. We got several guys that can run the football. Stephen is a little bit dinged up. We just kind of -- we were just going with the other guys.

I thought Tim was running really hard. He's got to protect the football. You got to protect the football, rule number one for runningbacks. No fumbles are allowed in that room. They got to execute.

But we're just trying to rotate guys. I thought he was running the ball really hard at the time.

Q. You came into the season with a lot of high expectations. You're now 1-2 at this point. How do you hold guys together through this early season?

TOM ALLEN: Yeah, it's a little adversity. Just like I shared with our guys in the locker room a few minutes ago. You got to look yourself in the mirror, look yourself in the eye, you got to stand up and take responsibility. I got to own the 1-2 start. I'm the head football coach of this football team.

It's not where any of us wanted to be, expected us to be at this point. As I said to them, Here we are. What are you going to do? How are you going to respond?

We got a lot of good players in that room. A lot of kids that have given a whole lot to this program. I have a tremendous amount of love and respect for. We're going to keep fighting together. We're going to lock arms and find a way to keep getting better every time we take the field.

Q. How much did the call on Micah change the dynamic on your defense?

TOM ALLEN: He's really special. I don't know if he even -- have they got the first down yet? I don't know. We were dominating them up to this that point. Dominating them. Had one first down after that point. Almost the end of the half.

He's our leader. He's a huge part of our pressures. He's a huge part of everything we do. Makes a ton of tackles. He's a great football player. When you lose your captain, that's tough. The other guys got to step up, though. Definitely the other guys got to step up, though. That's how you're going to respond when things like that happen.

Sometimes life is not fair. Sometimes things happen that are completely unfair. What are you going to do? How are you going to respond? Life can be that way as well.

Great teaching moment for our team. We got to respond better.

Q. What did you think of the call?

TOM ALLEN: What I saw, I was asking who's it on, where did it come from. I had no clue. I was very, very frustrated by the information I was getting. I couldn't see anything on the video.

I'll go back and watch it. We'll handle it appropriately. It's about accountability in everything in this life. To me there's no difference. I want accountability for that because I also want to know.

At the same time I haven't had a real chance to really see every angle of it. Just what they show back on the screen there. It wasn't called on the field. Just trying to figure out who, what, when, where, how. So interesting.

Q. On Anderson, went into the locker room, came back. Where was he?

TOM ALLEN: He was cramping. We got him some IV. Kid played his absolute tail off. Love that kid. Man, he gave us everything, like a lot of guys did. D.J. Matthews stepping up, getting better every time he takes the field. A special player. Cam Jones played his heart out. A lot of guys played hard. I thought Weston played hard. Got a special group of guys. I believe in 'em.

Q. If you could speak to the atmosphere today. Not something we see.

TOM ALLEN: It's awesome. As a matter of fact one of our players reminded us, Coach, a few years ago you had to go out and try to give away tickets in the student center. Not everybody at that point wanted to take them. Which is true.

Changed a lot. I want to thank our fans. Appreciate 'em. Just it's awesome. Appreciate the support. Can see how hard this team is going to play. We just got to get better.

But thank you to the fans. Our student section was awesome again. Great atmosphere. Just trying to change the culture of Indiana football and also the expectations when you come and play in this stadium.

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