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July 24, 2018

Tom Allen

Chicago, Illinois

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Indiana head coach Tom Allen.

TOM ALLEN: Good morning. First I'd like to thank Fred Glass and Indiana University for the opportunity they've given me to be the head coach of the Hoosiers, a position I dearly love and feel so unbelievably blessed and honored to be in.

Would also like to recognize and honor Coach Bill Mallory, the winningest football coach in the Indiana Hoosiers. We lost Bill Mallory a couple months ago. His intensity and passion and love for his players and his grit and humility and class are the things that stick out to me about Coach Mal.

We want to honor him this season by wearing a decal on our helmet each week, and we want our players to play with that same type of intensity and passion for the Hoosiers.

Following one year leading this program, my vision has not changed. I want the Hoosiers to break through. I want us to break through in three areas.

First of all, spiritually. I want our players to find the purpose in life and live it with relentless passion. Number two, I want us to break through mentally. We have to change the way we think. I believe with conviction that before there's a reality there's a mentality. If we don't believe in ourselves, why should anyone else?

Our minds are very, very powerful. And number three, we have to break through physically. We have to change the way we play. It's pretty simple. We have to finish. We play with unbelievable toughness. We've competed for 60 minutes. Now it's time to finish. In order to do that, I had to do some evaluation over the course of the offseason and evaluate our program from top to bottom.

And through that, in order for us to finish, we had to make some changes. Made a significant change in the leadership of our weight room. Added Dave Ballou as our head strength and conditioning coach. Together we hired Dr. Matt Rhea to be in charge of speed development, speed specialist, addressing the needs of power and speed and conditioning and finishing on the field.

Second, we went out and signed one of the top recruiting class in the history of our program. Many of those men joined us in the mid-year. The rest of them this past summer, working extremely hard in the weight room with Coach Ballou and our staff.

We've also added depth with three graduate transfers, Brandon Dawkins, a quarterback from Arizona, huge area of need for us. Nick Linder on the offensive line from Miami of Florida. And Kayton Samuels, defensive tackle from Syracuse. Three young men graduated bring tremendous experience and leadership to our program.

Also added transfer T.D. Roof, linebacker from Georgia Tech. T.D. has just received word this week as we did as well he'll be eligible to play the 2018 season, and that's a very huge need for us at linebacker as we graduated two NFL players in Tegray Scales and Chris Covington (phonetic).

And finally our facilities. Under Coach Fred Glass's leadership, we're about to open up a South End Zone that's one of the most innovative and comprehensive student development facilities in the country. The Tobias Nutrition Center will be housed there where our players will be eating all their meals. Our new nutrition leader will be in that facility and doing a great job helping our players grow and develop physically.

We're renovating our team room. Will be finished up here in a few weeks. And also, finally, we'll be adding a new locker room. The Terry Tallen Football Complex will be completed a year from now with a new locker room, players lounge, and football-only training room.

The commitment to excellence and the growth of our program from our administration is what it takes to be able to move our program forward and allow us to finish and to break through.

We brought three players with us today I'm extremely proud of. Luke Timian came to Indiana as a walk on. Exemplifies everything I want in a young man, his toughness, grit and fight. Second leading receiver last year, All-Conference player, excellent student, excellent young man.

Wes Martin, captain last year, 3.7 GPA, All-Conference offensive lineman. Big, strong, tough. Tremendous leader. Humble. Great heart for others.

Jonathan Crawford, four-year starter, All-Conference player. To me just a stable of consistency. Love how he plays, great leader on our football team. Represents our program with class on and off the field.

Excited to be here today. Excited to bring these young men with me. I'm looking forward to your questions at this time.

Q. With the new redshirt rule with freshman able to play four games before they lose their redshirt, how will that affect your roster management this year?
TOM ALLEN: As many have said, it's a great rule. Great for young men, great for our programs to be able to allow us to maximize our rosters.

We have to do a great job, though, of evaluating guys throughout fall camp to decide who is going to fit in that window to be able to maximize their skill set on special teams and offense and defense throughout the season.

Obviously you have four games to work with, it gives you some flexibility, whether it's at the beginning of the year, if a guy is ready early on. Some guys are not. Those might be ready later on.

Last year we experienced some injuries, and this opportunity was discussed a year ago, and really thankful and really excited about the new rule. I just think it's great for the game itself and player safety.

So I just think as a staff we have to have a great plan. And we've already discussed this. And fall camp will kind of, I believe, help us really sort out who is going to be in those positions. And then once we get into the season, we'll make those decisions.

Q. You lead Ohio State at halftime I think of that game last year. In so many games across the board you mentioned not being able to finish. For a football standpoint, what were maybe one or two things that just kept coming back throughout the season that stopped you from getting where you need to be?
TOM ALLEN: That's a great question. I think that has been the big focus of my offseason evaluation, was to be able to finish all those games we were so competitive in and fighting late in the game.

So to me it came down to depth was the thing that kept surfacing as we were evaluating, and fatigue would set in late in the games. Players playing too many snaps I really believe.

When you get those competitive plays, as I believe the game comes down to the last five minutes when you're playing at a high, high level, and can you make those competitive plays in that situation.

And fatigue, to me, it becomes a variable. And it's not an excuse. It's just a reality of where we are in our roster. So recruiting is a big way to address that. Player development. Strength and conditioning program to me is big for us. Developing our players once we get them on campus.

I think that to me is what stuck out the most, was being able to make those competitive third and seven plays either side of the ball, whether it's converting on the side of the offense or making a big stop on defense and being able to get -- whether we get into overtime like we did last year with Michigan, get inside the five yard line and be able to punch it in and finish, and we were not able to do that.

Those are the things we have to be able to do, and running the football was the thing that came out to me in my evaluation, our inability to do that effectively enough, is an area we've focused on this past spring and will be in fall camp. To me those are the two key things that stuck out.

Q. What have you seen from Brandon Dawkins since he got to IU, and do you plan on him being the starter in week one?
TOM ALLEN: First of all, it's an open competition for quarterback. So he's not been named the starter. He'll have to compete for that position. What I've been impressed with him is his personality. It's tough to come into that situation. You come in as a graduate at that key spot and you have players already on your team that are there, and it takes a special guy, I think, to come in have the right personality.

He has a humility about him. He's got a great way he carries himself. He hasn't come in with any kind of entitlement or expectation for himself that I just came here to help this team get better help this team win. I love that about him.

He's a big physical guy that can run. I haven't seen him throw per the rules, just on film, and I've seen him work out and spent time with him obviously and been able to get to know him as a person. Excited about him joining our team and the experience he brings to us.

Q. In the last couple of months, how much has that linebacker position changed for you, getting Dameon Willis back and getting T.D. Roof eligible to play?
TOM ALLEN: Those two individuals have dramatically changed that room in a positive way. Obviously you come out of spring football, I stated it was one of our biggest areas of need and concern just because of lack of experience. We got a lot of good young players that competed really well this spring, but they just haven't played.

When you bring in two young men that -- Dameon is our most experienced linebacker coming back from 2017. Getting him back was huge. And now having T.D., he played all season last year on special teams. And since he was already here in practice in the spring, we know what he can do.

Extremely talented young man. We recruited him extremely hard a year ago when he made a decision to go to another school. Know him well and his family well and know the toughness and the fight and his ability to make plays in space that he brings to our linebacker corps.

And Raekwon Jones had a great spring. He was our most improved player, most improved in the weight room. Changed his body. He bought into everything that we've really challenged him to do leadership-wise and was really, really impressed with him. I just think Mike McGinnis and Thomas Allen competed throughout the spring at Mike position as well.

I'm really excited now about that room. I think it's dramatically changed by adding those two young men that you just mentioned.

Q. Is there a competitive balance problem within the Big Ten since the league went from Legends and Leaders to East and West? The East has ten top 10 finishes; the West has only three or four. Is there a competitive balance problem within the league?
TOM ALLEN: Every -- been in a couple of different conferences. Spent time in the SEC and had the same questions asked down there. Always seemed to be a topic every year. I think things fluctuate year to year differently; one sways one way, one sways the other in different cycles. So to me it may look that way in terms of how teams are ranked and as it comes out in either the polls from last year or preseason polls this year.

I know we've played on both sides, and they're all tough. Everybody we play is physical, well-coached. It's a great league. Love this conference. I'm a Big Ten guy. I've spent time in the South, but I'm a Big Ten guy. I love our conference. I love how from top to bottom every place you go it's going to be tough.

That's how it is in other conferences as well. Every coach you hear talk about their conference, they'll mention that. It's true. There's a lot of pride in this league, and I just think that it's great football all the way around.


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