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September 8, 2023

Tom Allen

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Press Conference

Indiana - 41, Indiana State - 7

Q. What will that process be for you? I imagine there's a lot of film. And is it talking through maybe with the other coaching positions groups? I know you've talked about leadership groups within your team just maybe getting outside of -- not outside, but things beyond the quarterback.

TOM ALLEN: (Facebook audio cut out.) Played minutes in both games. And we said we were going to go back and evaluate both games and make a decision. So we will have a starter for week three.

Q. I guess just what will that process be for you? I imagine there's a lot of film. And is it talking through maybe with the other coaching positions groups? I know you've talked about leadership groups within your team just maybe getting outside of -- not outside, but things beyond the quarterback.

TOM ALLEN: You know, it will extend to myself and Walton and the staff. You know, we won't pull the players. We kind of got a feel for that. I think after having two games, you kind of know how that feels. And honestly, you know, I think our guys played well in both of them, to be honest with you.

So at the same time, you got to have a guy. You know, I really do believe that's important. So we will make that decision. But it will be the coaching staff, not -- I care what guys think, both sides of the ball. You know, we'll watch game film, decision-making.

Sometimes you see things and a play turns out a certain way, and maybe it's not executed properly. Or it looks like someone makes a mistake, maybe it was somebody else's fault. So just make sure we have accurate information. Obviously, a very important decision.

But just proud of both of them. I thought they both commanded the offense. They threw the ball well, ran the ball well, made really good decisions and got spread the ball around. And, obviously, to be able to put pressure on them. So just -- we're just going to do what we're going to go, play two games and make a decision.

Q. Tom, because the two quarterbacks were so similar in their production today, and I don't know what you had in your head in terms of what you wanted to see and what you're going to do going forward, but was there anything that they did that made you deviate from what you might be thinking you'd be having out of this game?

TOM ALLEN: Yeah, I mean, I don't know necessarily. I do think it's important to have a guy that you name the starter. I think they both can play. There's no doubt. They both proved they can play. And you can see the talent, you can see the skill. They're both young. But they're young, talented players. And I think you can say that. And we saw through fall camp. Back and forth, different guys doing different things. They can both throw, they can both run it.

But you need more than one quarterback. We know that, seen this. There's no question about it. So whoever's not the starter, has got to be ready to go based on what happens in a game and the situations that occur. And so, it's good to have more than one that I believe can play. And I think we have that.

And, you know, once you need an extra backup, then you got three that we know have proven themselves to be able to play and can move our offense. So having eventually three is a big, big deal. Because it's a long season. We're going to need everybody on that roster, everybody in that locker room to help us win.

Q. Coach, we saw Cam Camper and E.J. Williams leave the game tonight. Just what's the status on them? Where are they at? And also, Omar Cooper went for over 100 yards tonight. How has he kind of emerged and what have you seen from him?

TOM ALLEN: Yeah. So talking about Omar, really, really pleased. Not surprised. I've always felt like he was special. Watched him play in high school many times. And that's just what he did. He has strong hands, he runs strong, he's tough. He's got a great base to him, you know, and he can block. He's unselfish. And he runs good routes.

You know, so he just -- he made some contested tight windowed catches, strong-handed catches, and then went and got some yards. So love his emergence. We need that. We'll need everybody to help us win.

And as far as anybody else who was injured in the game, we use the available report now as a part of our procedure. That's how we're going to use it. So we won't comment on injuries.

Q. Coach, your thoughts on Jaylin Lucas, especially, like, some of the explosion we saw tonight?

TOM ALLEN: Yeah, that's what you want. And, you know, just trying to be able to on a weekly basis get him the ball in space. Because we were fully aware that people were going to try and avoid punting him the ball, kicking him the ball. On kickoffs, you see how that kind of affects that, as well. So trying to find ways to get him the football. And, obviously, he was very dynamic tonight. And that's who he is and trying to get him -- hand him the ball, toss him the ball, and throwing him the ball. And catching punts and catching kickoffs.

Once again, just another guy in our arsenal. Said this from the beginning, I feel like our offense has explosive, talented players. We just got to be able to get the whole pieces together and just continue to work and develop and get the timing down. And I think we made a positive step in that direction tonight.

Q. Yeah, Tom, at the second half, they had that 12-play drive. You called a time-out. Didn't look happy with some of the tackling that was going on. Were you happy with how they responded? Obviously, got the -- what was the goals defensively overall? This Indiana State team came in with a backup quarterback, they're struggling. Do you feel like you met kind of the moment in terms of how you wanted to kind of contain them?

TOM ALLEN: Yeah, they didn't even have 100 yards of offense. So that's hard to do. I don't care who it is. And so, I'm still ticked about the fact that we didn't get a shutout. Because the fumble and the scoop and score. That's frustrating. But that's their fault. Because they had that 12-play drive. They shouldn't have had that.

So I was frustrated because -- and it wasn't -- it didn't have anything to do with, you know, giving them credit. They moved the football, they were using the running quarterback, using a lot of different things. You try to create some creases.

I just didn't think we -- I thought we got ahead and we let up. And that's what I was trying to avoid. I just want to see guys battle, fight, and compete no matter what the scoreboard says. I just thought we let that happen.

And I know it's human nature to do that in that situation. But I wanted to see our guys -- I was more disappointed in our body language and leadership. So I challenged our leaders to make sure, Hey, that's happening, because it's going to happen in a different setting, we got blow up and make some stops.

And we did get the stop there. We got an interception on fourth down. Which was big. And got off the field in that regard. So I thought the response was good. I thought the second half response was excellent. I think we gave up 27 yards the whole half. So just want to see us finish. And I thought we did defensively. So it wasn't perfect, but pretty dang good.

Q. Tom, talk about the offense as a whole. You had nine guys catch a pass. But getting Josh Henderson and Jaylin Lucas involved in the receiving game, as well as the running game, how important was all of that heading into the game with Louisville?

TOM ALLEN: Very important. And the thing that for me, that's what I saw out of us. You know, I think I might have said this in one of my -- when I was talking this past week about, you know, our offense got after our defense a fair amount during fall camp. And so, it was back and forth without question.

So I knew we had this opportunity to be able to -- and I understand, you know, we're -- played a team that doesn't have the same level of talent. And so, I understand that. But the execution was a lot to be encouraged by. And the reads and the amount of guys involved in.

And I think we have a deep team. I think we have a lot of receivers who can make plays, it showed up tonight. Have a lot of running backs that can make plays, showed up tonight. We have a lot of guys at tight-end who can play and help us and do different things.

And so, I feel like we got a couple quarterbacks that can play. And I think we played a lot of different linemen, as well. We got eight guys I really believe that are ready to be in that five that we play with and we can mix and mash them and be able to rotate them.

So I think those -- it was what we needed to do, was to be able to be crisp and clean and sharp. I think we punted a couple of times and just felt like the execution was what we have to have. And, obviously, kind of build off of it. Obviously, we got a lot more work to do. Got a huge test and opportunity coming up here next weekend. But in order to be able to keep growing our offense, I thought tonight was perfect.

Q. Tom, regarding the quarterbacks: Do you feel now that each guy has the kind of comfort and reps that they are going to need to be able to be a starter, not just for week three, but moving on?

TOM ALLEN: I believe so. You know, when you count all the -- you know, anybody -- just name one week one. You know, coming out of fall camp, I get that. But trusted my gut on that one. Didn't feel like they had any distinction either way. I feel like we needed live game play to make a decision, and to really make a fair assessment. You know, and you can still see it's very close.

But once again, good issue to have. Two really good quarterbacks that I believe can run our system and we built it that way. And so, just got to be able to -- whoever that guy is, I do think they've had enough reps. We got to -- we got a numerical count of what we got during fall camp. We got a lot of reps. Because those two guys pretty much did everything. And then Dex was kind of the one that got a few in there, as well, once he got back.

But other than that, those guys took a ton of reps during fall camp. And, you know, they got two games where they both played a lot of football. Pretty balanced in regards to the numbers and everything. So just pleased where we are. And, obviously, that was the goal, was to be able to come to this point. And then we got to, as a staff, make a decision.

Q. Coach, last week you voiced your displeasure with the penalties and sloppy plays. Why do you think those plays and those moments persisted today?

TOM ALLEN: Yeah, I still -- we had several penalties. Six of them were on special teams. The two running into the kickers to me is ridiculous. That's very fixable. Now, we didn't have block in the backs on these returns, which is huge. So it was kind of more just silly, I think, lack of focus mistakes.

You know, we had the hit on the return. And I didn't really necessarily agree with that. Because there's no halo rule anymore. He didn't fair catch it. Sometimes it can just be catch it and wham. Anyways. That was one that -- that's an act of aggression. The other ones to me are just stupid. Okay?

Just running into a punter should never happen. So we'll get them cleaned up. Obviously, gave an earful to Coach T. I love him to death. But he knows. We're in this together. We've been in this a long time. He cares as much about it as I do. So we're going to get those things cleaned up because we got to be at our best here this weekend.

Appreciate you guys. Have an awesome night.

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