Glass appreciates breakthrough mentality, wants to build on momentum

While standing inside Indiana’s Henke Hall of Champions for a freshman induction ceremony on Sunday, Fred Glass saw the difference a decade makes.

The IU athletic director noticed the Hoosiers’ rookie football players — and how could he not? They are bigger, seemingly better athletes than the ones connected to IU when Glass arrived on the job in 2009. For Glass, it was another small, but valuable, reminder that Indiana football is trending in the right direction.

New IU coach Tom Allen has made “breakthrough” a rally cry for this year’s team, but is this truly the season when the optimism is justified? Glass isn’t demanding a breakthrough campaign so much as he merely wants to see IU’s recent football momentum steadily continue.

“I’m glad Tom’s embracing that and calling for that,” Glass said during his annual season preview press conference on Monday afternoon. “I think it’s a little tough when, even though there’s great continuity given that he had been our defensive coordinator, to suddenly expect a first-year coach to be the one to break through. Given the history of our program, I think it’s a little unfair and maybe a little ambitious. But I like the positive approach and I like that it applies across the board.”

To Glass, breaking through and achieving success means making the most of the little moments. The IU athletic director, like his head coach, would appreciate late-game stops that make the difference between a narrow loss and a victory. And, like many others, he’d appreciate an offense that cashes in on prime opportunities.

Glass isn’t pinpointing a specific record that would satisfy as a breakthrough result, though seeing Indiana’s first winning season on his watch would mean a great deal after back-to-back bowl losses and frustratingly close 6-7 final records.

IU hasn’t authored a winning season since 2007, when it went 7-6. The Hoosiers haven’t gone to three consecutive bowls since making three straight trips from 1986 to 1988.

“I think it’s the trust that breeds confidence,” Glass said. “I think this is a group that trusts their coaching staff, they trust each other, they’re trusting themselves. To me, trust is the key factor to breaking through, because it really comes down to confidence. Do you really think you can win, or not?”

Entering his ninth year on the job, Glass sees how IU’s collective confidence as a football team has increased in the midst of a slow build, because, for a time, there didn’t seem to be any build at all.

He recalls an October 2009 game at Northwestern, where the Hoosiers built a 21-point second-quarter lead only to go scoreless during the final half and lose 29-28.

“(At halfime) I was walking off the field and had this incredible feeling that Northwestern was walking off like they believe they were still going to win, and we were walking off hoping we could hold on,” Glass said. “As it turned out, they came back and won.

“I think that confidence is key and I do think it’s built on trust, but then having some success and winning that close game and then it builds on itself. I think (Bill) Parcells talked about the evolution where you lose by a lot, then you lose by a little and then you start to win. I think we’re at the fulcrum of that right now.”

Beginning with next Thursday’s season opener, the Hoosiers will soon find out where they truly stand.

“I think we’re going the right way,” Glass said. “I understand that, yeah, we’ve gone to two (bowls) in a row, but we’ve had two losing seasons in a row. So I don’t say I’m satisfied with what some may view as mediocrity.

“But I think at Indiana, when it’s two bowls in a row in 26 years, four (Old Oaken Bucket) wins in a row for the first time in 70 years, the first linebacker (Tegray Scales) to be an All-American in 30 years — I like it when a lot of the things we’re doing are 30-year things, 25-year things, 35-year things, back when Coach (Bill) Mallory really had it going on. I think we’re going the right direction.”


  1. Glass sure has it right about Fitzgerald’s teams at NU. I go to several NU games a year (can’t beat taking the L from your doorstep to the tailgating) and the attitude’s that the ‘Cats are never out of it. You can even feel it in the grandstands. Which almost always have fewer people in them than at Memorial Stadium.

  2. If you missed the big celestial event yesterday, you could always bring your eclipse glasses for the OSU game….

    Lagow will spiral through the sky faster than Warren Moon .

    Our defense under Allen, a.k.a. ‘The Line of Totality,’ will snuff out all Buckeyes four hundred times larger than Hoosiers….for a total of three seconds.

    You will feel as one with the universe of competitive college football…You may even see the highly spiritual ‘diamond ring’ bouncing off the corona of a Hoosier chromium helmet.

    Wear Fred’s glasses. Though you have been warned repeatedly, please avoid looking directly into the false rays of hope. The holes in our defense will scorch your retina for a lifetime.

  3. H4H, good connection of IUFB with the solar eclipse but I hope this year we don’t see the holes that dash our hopes for this team. I know from experience having a coach like Allen does a lot to creating a winning attitude. I have seen the change in teams many times while others didn’t believe it could happen.

    This year we will see how these coaches can develop players and the tone they set for the team. I think these coaches are a better fit for IU and we will see a much improved team on the field this year. Of coure there is always the possibility that once again my hopes get smashed by the time the season is over but I have to believe coach Allen and crew can do what few others have in the past.

    1. V V,

      I find your comments most appropriate, especially regarding those who don’t believe it could happen. I seem to remember a team 50 years this season which no one thought would do that much. Not saying such will happen again this year, but I have seen stranger things happen. As for Penn State, if you have a coach who could take Vanderbilt to three straight bowls, you might have a valuable commodity. If Coach Allen should succeed in doing the seemingly impossible, you might want to offer to rename the stadium if he will stay. Might be the only way to keep if by some miracle it should go long term. Thing there is a stadium in Kansas named for someone who was able to do the seemingly impossible.

    2. How by some miracle did the heavens place an orbiting moon 238,900 miles away and 400 times smaller than the sun at a near exact 400 times closer to the earth so that we may have a perfect solar eclipse?

      Radius of the sun = 432,288 mi
      Radius of the moon = 1079 mi
      Distance of moon to earth = 238,900 mi
      Distance of sun to earth = 92.96 million mi

      Is defying gargantuan lopsided odds against winning a football game of any sorts really such a miracle of our shortsightedness?

  4. Rather than reflecting on a game that took place eight years ago, Glass should be thinking about the ramifications of Penn State giving James Franklin a new six-year, $34.8 million dollar contract extension. Let’s see now, that’s $5.7 million per year for a coach that has never won anything of significance. I guess PSU is investing in the future of their football program and reducing the risk of having their head coach poached by another school. And that’s now three teams in the Eastern Division of the Big Ten that pay their head coaches more than $5.5 million per season. So maybe Glass needs to spend his time thinking about how he can increase revenue enough to keep his new football coach in Bloomington after he finally leads IU to that “break through” season. If your IU’s head football coach, and you lead IU to it’s first winning season in a decade, then do it again the next year, you can’t help but think of your peers like James Franklin making more than twice what you get paid. You can’t help but be tempted by offers that will certainly start coming in after you IU to break through.

  5. I like T.A. However, currently he has 0 wins @ IU as head coach and has one game under his belt as IU head coach. We will soon be watching how the IU fb team does on the field.

  6. I wish it was a dead horse! But unfortunately Glass keeps it alive by following in the footsteps of his predecessors and perpetuating the same mistakes. The fact that there are so many apathetic Hoosier fans who could care less about football does not make this a “dead horse.” Mark my words, if Allen leads IU to a couple of winning seasons, IU is going to have to pony-up some big bucks in order to keep him, or risk starting the losing cycle all over again. And sometimes, I really wonder if Glass and his chain-of-command within IU’s administration prefer it that way. I mean gee wiz, given the new salaries being handed out in the Big Ten, we’re no longer competitive.

    1. Go ahead and give him a raise. Just post date the checks so they won’t be cashed until we get at least 1 positive season from the highest paid coach in the B1G. Let the dead horse rest.

  7. First off, I am hoping that Tom Allen is successful…but, in reality the BIG 10 coaches have seen the IU defensive now and they will be prepared for it this year. From checking coach Allen coaching history, Coach Allen has never been defensive cord at any college for longer than one year. Coach Allen has been setup with a very good team for his first head coaching job at a major college. Mr. Glass is down playing this year to cover his butt, in case this experiment (firing Kevin Wilson for philosophy difference) fails. Kevin Wilson turned the IU football program around and headed the IU football program in the right direction. Granted Kevin Wilson mistreatment of injury players was wrong and if so, dismissal was needed. From what a the social media experts are saying this team will still finish fourth or fifth in the BIG 10 East conference (not much of an improvement).

  8. Seeing how IU has Ohio St., Michigan and Penn St in their division. 4th looks pretty good behind those powerhouses.

  9. I do not know about mistreated players from K.W. However, I have heard Alabama and OSU players talk about themselves what IU might consider mistreated as expectations and challenges.
    I agree with F.G. covering his butt which has gotten a little old. K.W. did point and started to slow walk IU fb in positive direction. I do not know where he was going to go from where he had program. I was not to optimistic due to qb recruiting and other holes it seemed K.W. was challenged with. Plus F.G. manipulated pre conference schedule for a couple more IU wins. Really did nothingto prove IU fb was hardly any better. F.G. just lowered standard a little. IU fb major accomplishments were against P.U. (lowly Purdue), a win against MSU, Penn State, Missouri ok, and back to back bowl loses aided by a schedule change in pre conference schedule. That thus far is a little better but very short of stellar. I really think T.A. has a really good team especially by IU standards for his first head coaching job in a major conference. He has a great opportunity for his experience and qualifications. Thinking about Barry Alvarez and Wisky.

  10. If Allen becomes the winner I think he will be, IU is going to have to pay him a lot more money in order to keep him in Bloomington. If he achieves back-to-back winning seasons, especially in this conference, his market value will skyrocket and he’ll be able to demand double what IU his paying him. His contract buyout won’t even be a speed bump. If Allen fails to “break through” in the next three seasons, then Glass and IU’s B.O.T. are going to have a choice to make. Either do what they’ve done in hiring the last three head coaches and minimize financial risk by hiring a man who has never been a FBS head coach before (the Wilson model) at relatively low cost, or dig deeper and hire a man who has proven he can create a winning program (the up & coming, proven head coach model) like Purdue and Minnesota just did. I’d love to see Allen get a huge raise and contract extension before the start of the 2019 football season. I think he has what it takes to build a winner.

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