Transcript: Tom Allen appears on ‘The Ride with JMV’

New Indiana football coach Tom Allen was a guest Tuesday on “The Ride with JMV” on 1070 AM in Indianapolis.

A lightly-edited transcript from his appearance follows:

JMV: If I had told you a month ago that this was going to happen, would you have believed it?

Allen: I wouldnt have believed it. No way.

JMV: Is it a whirlwind because of all the layers involved?

Allen: There is, that’s what I tried to articulate in the press conference and all the interviews I did the day that this occured. Just a lot of mixed emotions. I think the world of Kevin. He brought me here and I’ll never forget that. He gave me the chance to come home and in this situation as defensive coordinator. Then, when things happened the way they did — and they happened so quickly — my heart broke for him and his family. At the same time, I’m excited about the opportunity, which is a dream opportunity for me in my home state and all that that involves. So you’re just kind of torn back and forth, but it’s pretty amazing, really.

JMV: Have you talked to Kevin Wilson?

Allen: I have. He’s been great. We have been and will continue to be good friends.

JMV: What’s the first thing you did after you were officially announced as the head coach?

Allen: I think the first thing was probably just to get with our team and talk with them and help them work through it. There’s obviously a lot of emotions involved with those guys. That was important to get with them. Then, get with our coaches and kind of help them set the vision for what we want to accomplish here and put their mind at ease with some things. And others, just to articulate where we’re going. Usually, in these situations, if there’s a change, you usually aren’t playing in a bowl game. Having that is another component to it. It makes it a little more complicated as well. There’s a lot going on, but we’re just trying to attack it one day at a time.

JMV: Is it good to have those bowl practices and keep things as normal as possible.

Allen: That’s the objective. I told the guys, I want to keep the schedule as much normal as possible with things that the guys are used to. I don’t want to create a bunch of change. We added one of our staff members from off the field and put him on to get us back to the nine full-time coaches that can go out and recruit. We did that with Shawn Watson. But other than that, you’ll see business as usual in how we do things. I’m going to stay with the defensive side of the ball and coach Johns will continue to call the offense and work with the receivers. I just want our guys to feel very comfortable with the structure and with the schedule.

JMV: What is your long-term vision offensively?

Allen: I’m a big believer — I love the tempo spread. I like the idea that you can control that as an offense. I know that gives us trouble defensively. But the bottom line, no matter what you do, you gotta run the ball. I don’t care what league you’re in. I don’t care where you’re at. You gotta run the ball on offense. You gotta stop the run on defense. The balance to that is critical. To me, how it exactly looks, we’re going to get that all fleshed out as we bring in an offensive coordinator, whether it’s someone who’s already here on staff or go out and hire a new guy. I want to be able to control the tempo. I want to run the football and I want us to be tremendously balanced in what we do. Coach Wilson has done a great job on that side of the ball. Since 2012, we’ve been one of the top offenses in the Big Ten. We want to build off that and be able to do the things they’ve done on that side of the ball. We didn’t protect it very well this year. That’s one thing we have to address immediately. We have to protect the football. That’s going to be a big emphasis going into the bowl game.

JMV: Do you plan on making outside hires?

Allen: The bottom line is, as I’ve told all of our coaches, that we’re going to coach through the bowl game and then we’ll have to make a decision on that offensive coordinator position, whether it’s a person who’s already on staff here or whether it’s a new person. That will kind of determine the rest of it. That person will be in charge of making sure we get the people that we both want to be able to allow us to move forward. That’s something we’ll take care of after the bowl game. I’ve been very up-front with everybody on staff about that.

JMV: What do you think IU football can be?

Allen: I see a program that attracts top-notch young men that want to get a world-class education, that are tough, hard-nosed young men that love to work. I want that kind of young man in our program to produce a product that competes every single weekend and has an opportunity to win the Big Ten championship. That’s my goal. We’re in a location where we can have a great foundation in the midwest with our players. Then, we have a national field to go into other parts of the country and fill in key spots with those guys. We have a great brand. We have the third-largest alumni base in the country and I really feel like, with the reputation of the Big Ten as it continues to grow, and the success we’ve had in our conference, especially this season, only helps. I want a tough, hard-nosed football team that plays great defense and scores points and competes for championships.

JMV: How do you think your defense played this year?

Allen: I was extremely proud of them. They may have exceeded my expectations. I knew it was going to be a process, but I did tell our guys this, and they will vouch for it. I told them we’re going to be great on defense. When is up to you. What I meant by that was their degree of buy-in was going to determine our ability to get it turned around. They’ve bought in extremely well. They played so hard. If you look at the stats from last year to this year, it’s been an amazing turnaround. Obviously, we have to continue to get better. We’re not where we want to be, but the progress was very encouraging. We’re not satisfied, but we’re very, very encouraged and excited about the progress that we’ve made. We just have to finish the job in California and continue the momentum going into 2017.

JMV: What do you think about Utah?

Allen: The last time I was asked that question, I really couldn’t give an answer. They asked me and I said, ‘I have no idea.’ But I have officially watched them on film. I was on the plane, and I’m actually out here in New Jersey right now, as we speak. I watched them on the flight out here and they’re a big, physical team up front on offense. They have an excellent tailback, big receivers, a very quality quarterback. They’re ranked 19th in the country so they have a very good offense and they play tough, hard-nosed defense. They’re very aggressive with a lot of good athletes, and their special teams is what stood out to me. They’re very talented in their special teams. They have a tremendous punter, kickers and return guy. You can tell coach (Kyle) Whittingham has done a great job with an emphasis on that. They’re a very well-rounded team. It’s a very good football team that we’re about to play. We’ve played a lot of good ones this year, and they’re just the next great team we have to play.

JMV: Are you going to continue to be excitable on the sidelines as the head coach?

Allen: I learned a long time ago that you have to be who you are. When you cease to be who you are, you cease to be effective. So I’m going to be the same coach you saw on the sideline. Obviously, I’ve got to be able to be involved with other things, but if I don’t have the energy and the passion when I’m coaching, I need to go do something else.

JMV: How many high school coaches in this state have reached out to congratulate you?

Allen: Wow. I’d say too many to count. I’ve got so many close friends and guys that I respect so much. We’ve worked together or coached against each other or just guys I’ve gotten a chance to meet throughout the process spending 10 years in this great state coaching high school ball. Golly, there have been so many guys who have done that. I appreciate it so much and it’s been neat to be able to hear from so many. There’s a lot of excitement. It’s shared. I have that excitement myself.

JMV: How much has Dick Dullaghan meant to you?

Allen: So much. I just talked to him again yesterday. When he brought me to Ben Davis, I was there, I think, a year. He sat me down and he said, ‘Coach, you need to go coach college football.’ He just felt that was where my talents were and what I’d be best at. Obviously, I continued to stay there for many years after that, but he’s really allowed me to really take that next step in my professional development, just learning from him as an assistant with him there for six years, then taking over after him. He’s been such a close friend of mine. I have so much love and respect for him as a person, and professionally, second to none in what he built at Ben Davis, and what he taught all of us who worked for him, and what he means to this state. He’s such a passionate leader of men. He’s advanced the game in Indiana and really has done things here that caused the whole level of play in this state to really never be the same after eh came here and impacted it. He’s meant the world to me as a person and he’s meant a whole lot to this state professionally. He’s a pretty special man.

JMV: How have you seen the level of high school play in Indiana change over the years?

Allen: It’s definitely improved. I think that the investment in high school football … as that has grown and the programs have been able to branch out and play teams from other states, that helps. You look at the MIC and it’s as good a conference that you’re going to find in any state in the country. I believe about every college coach in the country would agree with that. I just feel that has spread to other conferences and other teams. It’s made it a lot different than it used to be. When you see these kids get recruited across the country and then going to those places and doing well, that’s what gives you the stamp of approval and confirmation that Indiana high school football is very strong and getting better every year.


  1. If I was Kevin Johns I’d probably rent instead of buy. I doesn’t sound like Coach is too invested in him.

  2. As long as it’s not Shawn Watson…Anybody but him please I’m begging. I have no idea what in the world Allen was thinking bringing him anywhere near this program!

    1. Coach Watson was already part of this staff as he was brought in by Coach Wilson. What is your concern with coach Watson, you clearly don’t want an experienced coach part of IU’s staff. I expect there will be offensive coaching changes after the bowl game. I hope he can retain coach Frey and coach McCullough.

  3. It sounds as if Kevin Johns has a bowl game to sell himself as an OC. Kevin Wilson took over play calling this year after the team started the season not being able to score many points. Who becomes OC will also depend on what type of spread offense coach Allen wants to run. If he wants to change to the style OSU and PSU runs then it will take a new OC. Another factor will be which coaches want to stay and which ones chose to move on. I really hope he can hold on to coach Frey and McCullough on the offensive side. I think coach Allen has a good handle on which defensive coaches he wants to hang on to but there may be some defections on this side too.

    Two things will help determine the success coach Allen will have is the coaching staff he builds and the recruiting success IU has.

  4. Watson was already in the program. He and Wilson were friends since Miami of Ohio coaching days. Wilson hired him for an offensive control position when he got thrown out of that dumpster fire down in Austin Texas. It was a good move by Allen to fill a position opened up by Wilson’s departure as Watson has extensive experience with QB’s. Allen stated in his 2nd interview as HC that all coaching positions will be evaluated after the bowl game and I believe he restated it above. But I do think he is looking for a younger Kevin Wilson for OC. Hope Johns would stay and handle WR’s as that is his forte. He was kind of force fed OC duties when Littrell left and James Patton was moved from assistant DL duties to TE, FB coach and offensive recruiting coordinator. Coach Wilson was always head honcho of the offense. Undoubtedly why Littrell left. Because coaches know up front what Allen’s forward plans are we should see Watson and Johns very best effort for the bowl game. Exactly the right positioning for a new manager in charge to take with his troops to set for a positive future. A what if on my mind, Greg Fry OC 2017. He already is co-offensive coordinator. Lots of OL coaches are OC’s.

  5. I was not aware he was already on the staff. I lived in Colorado when Barnett brought him to Boulder. His offenses were just not creative. Klatt got absolutely killed in his senior season from the same ole, same ol,e play calling. Knocked out in the Texas game. Everyone was thrilled in Boulder when he was dismissed. The same at Nebraska nobody wanted him around after he wore out his welcome AND the Texas fans did not like his style either. He also “thinks” he is the smartest guy in the room and nobody likes to be around someone like that. See link!-Shawn-Watson-Thread/page105. I shared that link because there are 107 pages in a thread that started the official *&^$ Shawn Watson Thread. There are plenty more links I could share as well. I agree with you though a new bright mind might be good BUT as to Allens reference about running the football and balance does it get any better than the few years here at IU? Sure we had too many turnovers this year but that is fixable. Also eyebrow-raising since Watson was here this year. I don’t remember that many T.O.’s before he got here. Anyways that’s jmo. If Allen wishes to get better on offense I just don’t want the Watson west coast mediocre nonsense at IU.

  6. IUCarmel
    I was going to bring all that up the day Watson was tapped to be OC for the bowl game but I let it go because I didn’t want to be accused of yelling that the sky was falling. Good for you. The sky is not falling because it fell a long time ago. No head coach has left the program with a winning record in at least 50 years or more. A six and six regular season looks great to some fans. Yes it’s true neither Saban or Meyer are coming to Indiana but it would be nice to hire someone between their caliber and average for a change. Good luck to Coach Allen. Let’s hope he can get the job done.

  7. first off ….Tom Allen was the only logic choice for IU name as coach, to keep things going in a stable direction….a new coach would have brought in a whole new staff (no saying that Tom Allen will not) lets face the fact the only coaches IU would have been looking at, are truly the same coaches which Purdue was looking at…Why? same pay grade??? IU is not going to pay its football coach (like Illinois University) more than its basketball coach….the question now? what will this recruiting class look like?? with some of the coaches, job status uncertain many of the recruits will wait to see what other opportunities come along….for example? if i am an offensive player would i choose Purdue or Indiana??….Jeff Brohm – offensive coach and very good coach…..if i am a defensive player would i choose Illinois or Indiana??? Lovie Smith – defensive coach, very good (ties to the NFL)……to all you IU fans all i am saying is that Tom Allen has a tough road ahead of him in recruiting against other BIG 10 school…all we can hope for is that Tom Allen can be a good to strong judgement of talent, along with being a strong developer of talent…..Good Luck, Mr Allen

  8. At least on paper Jeff Brohm sounds like a poor man’s Kevin Wilson without as good a resume. What is supposed to indicate that he is a good find?

  9. I think some measure of perspective and calm is required after a chaotic week. Allen’s job right now is to focus on 1) recruiting and 2) preparing for the bowl game. Just because this program changing event happened, he owes it to the players that worked their butts off to get ready with the army he has for Dec 28th. Even imperfectly, he needs all hands on deck.

    On Dec 29th, I would be happy to see exactly what v13 hoped for in terms of retention and dismissals.

    I think Allen gets it. I’m glad he cares and is focused on beating a solid Utah team. Perhaps our “breakthrough win” comes in Allen’s first game. He’d be off to a hell of a start in terms of getting people excited about next year (recruits and fans alike).

  10. I have seen several posters on the boards say that Watson is the OC for the bowl game and that is wrong; Johns is the OC/WR coach for the bowl game which will probably be an audition for him as OC.

    I would like to get an OC that runs the zone read from spread as every DC tells you a running QB is the unaccounted for player that pressures the defense. A static QB like IU has run, since Tre left, doesn’t stress defenses as much.

    I anticipate IU and PU becoming players in the B1G championship races with tremendous battles in the Oaken Bucket in the coming years.

    DD, beating Utah would be a great way to start the Allen program at IU. I think who he gets as OC after the bowl game will say a lot about what the teams will be like under his command. I hope he can strike gold with his choice which would ignite the 2017 team.

      1. Watson was the OC for Texas but was demoted after Notre Dame leveled the Longhorns 38-3 a few years ago.

  11. I really meant that to be a real question if anyone could enlighten me. Why would Jeff Brohm be considered a good pickup as a head coach? I don’t get it.

  12. I think Brohm is a neutral kind of choice. Even for C-USA he has never fielded much of a defense. They just out gunned everybody. That is a tougher task in the B1G. But the PUke AD did find extra $ somewhere as they are paying Brohm $20m for 6 years and have an assistant pool of $3.5m. If he has a coaching network at all to work through he has the $ to hire a better DC for WL. But as far as available roster talent he is no better off than what was at WKU. He’s got a hell of a chore ahead for 3 maybe 4 years. As of this moment it looks like Fleck will stay at WMU and Brock at Ill. St. I felt sure those 2 would have new zip codes for 2017.

  13. Well, we know what Coach Allen can do with the talent on hand at IU from the defensive standpoint. It was pretty impressive.

    I don’t think many were enamoured by CKW’s overall results. They were improving just enough to give us hope. I’m pretty confident that he’d still be at the helm without all the other issues. I was disappointed in this season. Still a bowl game to play.

    Ready for the next chapter.

  14. I like that Watson is on IU’s staff and has just been “promoted.” I would not make too much out of his failure at Texas. He had to be reasonably successful just to get there in the first place. He may simply have been the first scapegoat victimized by that “dumpster fire” (nice way to describe it HC) down in Austin. Charlie Strong and his staff were doomed from the start down there. Expectations for that program were off the charts (kind of like those for IU basketball) and the rich and powerful alumni are not interested in building the program the right way; they just want to win big and win immediately. It humiliates them to watch their team lose to other teams from within the state of Texas, not to mention a team like Kansas. Those expectations and the pressure those coaches are under can have a seriously adverse affect on the chemistry and focus of a coaching staff. But given his pedigree and experience before going to Texas, and given Wilson’s appreciation for offensive coaching talent, I’m optimistic about Watson contributing to IU’s return to prominence on offense. But really, it’s all about the ability to recruit better talent. IU needs to create a pipeline of quality quarterbacks, like it appears to have done with offensive linemen and running backs of late. Assuming he can recruit, Watson could be a major positive for IU’s program.

    1. @Podunker You need to check the Watson resume. If he had a shot at OC, which I don’t think Tom Allen is that stupid, we would be headed for suck!!!! Major Suck! If you are here to lobby for that guy get on your way man. He sucks everywhere he has gone and right now all I have to tell him is you better recruit your ass off and be on your way! Don’t let the door hit ya!

  15. A defensive mindset is beginning to take hold in both our major sports programs. Nothing better than to see an almost ‘brotherly’ desire at Memorial and Assembly in teaching smothering defenses….A new hour, indeed.

  16. IUCarmel, you don’t get hired by the likes of Nebraska and Texas if you suck. And I did not say I wanted Watson to be IU’s OC, I said I was glad he’s on the staff and got promoted. It appears as if you think you know more about Offensive coaching talent than Kevin Wilson does. Really? Reminds of when people said Bill Belichick “sucked” after he got fired from the head coaching job of the Cleveland Browns. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

  17. Yeah You never know what treasure you will find in the bargain bin. Usually it’s just stuff other people shopping for quality didn’t want.

  18. Chet, Brohm did a great job at WKU and had a great passing game. The team competed well with Power 5 teams.

  19. It’s not just about a person’s talent, experience and attitude. Often times, it is about the fit, or the harmony that person has or does not have with his/her colleagues and the culture. We’ll too see if Watson is the right fit for the culture that Allen wants to create at IU.

  20. Chet, no doubt, without all the other issues Coach Wilson would still be head coach at Indiana University!! maybe this season was not a major success, but by past IU football program this year was a slight success…..An it goes without saying that this program was making some strides (maybe baby steps, but some strides)….for the first time in recent IU football history we where able to be competitive in some football…An for once in IU football history IU have capable (talented) backup in SOME position, because of coach Wilson recruiting ability…..An coach Allen would not have been as successful, if not for coach Wilson recruits….Maybe some fans and media did not like coach Wilson, but he did revive the IU football program to a level of conference respectability.

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