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INDIANA UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE

November 5, 2018

Tom Allen

Bloomington, Indiana

TOM ALLEN: Good morning. Feels great to be back after our bye week, a chance to reflect on our last game, move forward.

Really a productive last several days with our team before we gave them some time off. Practiced Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday of last week, then gave them Thursday, Friday, Saturday. Got them back on campus yesterday. A chance to kind of some kids to go home if they could, get a physical, mental, emotional break for our guys. Thought it was very important for them to do that.

Got a lot of good recruiting in with our staff. Sent coaches out on Wednesday as well as our whole staff on Thursday and Friday, myself included. Able to cover a lot of ground, a lot of important areas hit in state and out of state, able to move on from there.

Wrapping up the game from Minnesota, to be able to talk about our guys that performed offensively. Stevie Scott, player of the game. Defensively Bryant Fitzgerald, our defensive player of the game. Special teams Logan Justus continues to kick the ball well, had three field goals, has done a nice job for us.

Then our younger guys working with our scouts, the defensive scout players of the week, Aaron Casey and Madison Norris, continue to do a great job working hard and giving us a great effort.

Scouts on our offense, Justin Berry, Connor Thomas and Bradley Ellis, doing a great job for us.

Special teams scout of the week was Jeremy Boyd. Really appreciate the effort those guys continue to give us.

Really excited about the focus and effort today. Monday practice to start off this week. A little extended practice because of having more time to prepare for our next opponent.

This coming game against Maryland will be a Hall of Fame weekend here at Indiana. Glen Scolnik will be inducted, one of our former receivers, excited for him to be given this tremendous honor.

Also saluting our service members in this game. Tremendously grateful for and appreciate all that they do, have done, continue to do for our country. I want to make sure we do a great job of honoring them.

Looking forward to a very important week for our program, great opportunity ahead of us as we take on the Maryland Terrapins coming to town here at noon kickoff.

Questions.

Q. Maryland, a team you're familiar with. Last year you had a great battle with them. This year, a very good running attack. What do you have to do with your defense?
TOM ALLEN: Coach Canada, their interim head coach, offensive coordinator, someone who I know well. A new system they brought in. A lot of the same players, a lot of very experienced fifth-year seniors on the offensive line. A lot of really talented skill guys. They have a plethora of speed. Ran the ball extremely well this entire season.

Really they force you to be extremely disciplined. Even though it's not an option offense, the way that they shift, move, adjust, motion, different things that they do, it forces you to be extremely disciplined. If you get out of position, they're very, very athletic. You make one guy miss, it's a big, big play.

They really survive off big plays. Kind of the way they've had success this season. To me the key is gap integrity, just with our eyes, got to be great tacklers.

Q. Are there two or three things you have to change in the last quarter to get the Ws you've been missing?
TOM ALLEN: Yeah, you know, to me, just continue -- I just think as a team, I know I've said some of these things before, they don't necessarily change, the bottom line is it's about us finishing in key situations. We had there in the fourth quarter once again, fought our tails off to get back in the game, the team did not quit, showed tremendous fight, got us in there late in the fourth quarter. The score was tied. Got ourselves a chance to force a three-and-out, get a punt, have a chance to take the ball, score, win the game.

It's about, once again, executing third-and-one, a chance to be able to keep that drive alive, move in field goal range. We already made three field goals, would need to get one more. Then finishing those scores in the red zone in the first half, being able to do that.

My biggest disappointment of the whole night offensively was some poor execution of some fundamental things early on, by some of our better players even, guys that in our own meetings have challenged and called out, held accountable in those areas. Just making tackles, finishing, getting guys on the ground, playing with proper technique in those key situations is what it comes down.

You have to be able to compete against teams on a given day. You got to be able to execute in those key times. You got to be able to finish plays, make plays, create separation on offense, contested balls, need to focus on that, the details, the little things.

Even that last play, the third-and-one play, go back to that and reflect. They ran a blitz before, the guys picked it up, got a good gain. That time we didn't. Difference between picking it up, being a big gain, or not converting at all. That continues to need to be a focus.

Fundamentals, reemphasis on that last week was big for us, tackling, spent a whole day working on that, even though it wasn't a real physical week. We continue to focus on the fundamentals of that. Have to develop guys, getting a lot of guys ready to play. To me that doesn't change. Did some good things up front, but got to finish out that last drive.

For me, it's continuing to keep our guys locked in, keeping where they need to be mentally, which I feel we have some strong leadership that has helped with that.

The guys came in today, had a great focus about them. That to me is about living out our one word for the year, which is 'finish'. That's a continual challenge. Against a team that has won five games already, looking to get their sixth win, has done some good things amid difficult circumstances.

Once again, an opportunity for us come to out here and turn things around for our season, get a whole different feel for our program.

Q. With the redshirt rule in these last three games here, any freshmen you want to see get on the field?
TOM ALLEN: I believe so. James Miller, we had planned to play him against Minnesota. He did. He was injured in the first play of the game. Hope to get him back and be able to allow him to get valuable reps.

A guy like Jonathan King, just sticks out to me. Mad Norris, another guy we want to get a chance to play on some special teams, some reps when the situations warrant themselves. Special teams-wise, Kristian Pechac is a guy we're going to continue to work in there, get some reps at those opportunities.

The guys that haven't played, Noah Pierre, another one we're working in on special teams as well. I think those guys are candidates for getting some shots to play. See who continues to step up during the week, prove to us they are putting themselves in position. That's what these guys have been able to do. Those guys I mentioned, I would like to get them involved in the game.

Q. This is Badley's (phonetic) first year as team chaplain. How much have you seen him grow in this role from that first time he spoke to now? What went into the process of picking him?
TOM ALLEN: Badley is our chaplain through FCA. Has a tremendous job. It's about relationships. He does a good job of building those with our players. Takes time to do that.

He came in a year ago and spoke to our guys without knowing any of them. He's at all the practices, at our workouts, works out with them a lot of time just himself, be around our guys, building it. Have a resource for guys to come and talk to. Things happen in players' lives. This past weekend we had a young man lose his grandmother. Those are tough times for guys. Be somebody they can connect with, spend time with, help them grow in the emotional side of things, spiritual side of things.

Really pleased. You interview just like any other position on your staff. You bring people in, talk to them. You try to see who is a great fit for what you want. You map out what you see the vision for that position is, how you see that impacting your team.

The staffs I've been on, those guys have really played a major role in helping our guys with things that matter outside of football, ultimately in their lives. Bad has done a great job of doing that. Will continue to build those relationships.

Q. Back to the bye week, who are some players that you felt really benefited from it?
TOM ALLEN: I think that's a big part of it. T.D. Roof is a guy we've been trying to get back. I think he really benefited. Great to see him out there today, getting back to his normal self.

I think with Marcelino being out, missing a big chunk of the game, having some time to get him back, I think he's going to really benefit from that, as well.

I think just all of our guys that got dinged up. A lot of times those situations are the only thing to really get them healthy is rest. That's tough to do when you're trying to get ready for another one. Those two guys jump out to me.

Some of our younger guys, too. Gavin McCabe is a defensive lineman, a true freshman, that really continues to develop and grow. We got a lot of chance to get those guys a lot more time with our units. Reese Taylor got a lot of reps at quarterback. That was extremely important for us to give a chance to rest Peyton and get his body healed up, let him rest his arm, rest everything. We really saw Reese get a lot of work in during those three practices.

I think that was critical, getting our receiver corps healthy. Peyton Hendershot, got to get him back. He was back out there today. That was big to see him back there moving around. That bye week was huge for him, as well. Get our offensive line healthy, defensive line healthy. Reakwon is working hard to get back. His diagnosis was better than we expected, which is good. He's, working hard to get his body back.

All those guys benefited. Allowed them to heal up, be ready for a strong finish.

Q. Specifically about Jacob Robinson, is he ready to go?
TOM ALLEN: He's another one with the time to continue to rehab, work hard, get his leg to where we feel like it can be effective. Big thing with him is you want to make sure he's not going to put himself in position that would further hurt him. Our doctors feel good about that.

Another week of doing what he's doing helps him. He's a guy that provides so much leadership for our team whether he's in the game or not. We'll try to get him more reps, compared to before, which wasn't much. I think each time he'll get more and more. I'd like to see him get back to as full strength as possible.

Q. You mentioned Reese Taylor. Are you going to be able to use him in conjunction to complement Peyton or is he too valuable as the backup?
TOM ALLEN: That's kind of the tough balance. We're still going to use him on offense, yes. You play that game with that. Still one of our more explosive guys that you want to get involved.

I would say yes, with caution. That's really kind of the tough dilemma you're in. At the same time you got to go. To me, it's about understanding what's at stake, where we're at, what we need to do. I think you got to put it all out there as best you can.

Have a great day.

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