Sick over kick coverage, Allen looking for remedy

It was enough to make Tom Allen ill.

The special teams breakdowns inside of Saturday’s loss to Penn State made the Indiana coach “want to puke.” So across the past few days, Allen has been in search of remedies.

Patching holes, particularly on the kickoff cover platoon, has been at the top of Allen’s to-do list this week, and IU is looking at a few different fixes ahead of Friday night’s game at Minnesota.

“Spent a lot of time over the weekend addressing our kickoff cover unit and different things there,” Allen said. “(We’re) adjusting personnel, and making corrections and changes we have to do to be at the level we need to be at in special teams to win those kind of games.”

Indiana allowed a pair of big returns that led to quick scoring drives for the Nittany Lions, beginning when KJ Hamler took the opening kick 58 yards to the IU 36-yard line.

Then, after Indiana took a 21-20 lead late in the third quarter, a 94-yard kickoff return by Johnathan Thomas sucked away the momentum IU had just created.

Reviewing the film on Sunday, Allen identified a couple teaching points for this week.

“The first thing we have to address is the quality of the kick,” Allen said. “The way that we want to be able to cover kicks, the kick has to be set (at) a certain spot, to a certain spot, and that didn’t happen at all in the first one. Then the second one they ran back was, the hang time was very, very low. So the kick itself is step No. 1.”

Indiana is splitting the kicking duties between a pair of walk-ons this season, with Logan Justus focusing on field goals and extra points and Jared Smolar handling kickoffs. Scholarship freshman Charles Campbell has yet to appear in a game.

“You look at … the placement of the ball,” Allen said. “We’re trying to do a better job of that and also who can do the best job of placing the ball? So it’s a critical part of the game.”

With that, Allen said he’s mixed and matched different players on the cover unit in preparation for the Minnesota game.

Indiana ranks last in the Big Ten in total kick return yards allowed (591), average return (25.7 yards) and yards allowed per game (73.9).

“We adjusted personnel, made some changes to get guys that we feel like will do a better job,” Allen said. “Obviously, the guys we had in there we thought were going to do a good job, did not get the job done. … It will be addressed.”


  1. This football season is starting to come an end, and as usual no matter whether it Wilson or Allen we have more questions than answers, still trying to correct mistakes, rather than having anticipated the problems before they occur, and its always just some small adjustment, no big problem. I U is down to one scholarship QB that started the fall camp at that position, which just like previous seasons who will be I U ‘s QB for the Purdue game, if Ramsey gets injured and lets hope he doesn’t. For an I U Football Fan you would think the football staff would have some plans ready for these problems. Several years ago we had to use player that hadn’t played QB, since high school and he was in his Senior year at I U to run some plays from the QB position . We will see Friday night to see if the adjustments fix the problems, if not we will be in a next season mode.

  2. IU fb is on page 15 of owners manual in trouble shooting and how things work while other good teams are on page 120 in a 138 page manual representing teams performance.

  3. Yes, play Reese Taylor at QB, and see how he performs, but in all fairness to Reese Taylor signed on with I U to see if he could further his football career past college at some position other than QB. With the lack of QB depth, Reese Taylor is forced into a back up QB position and his freshman year has been a ever changing coach’s decisions moving him to various positions. Yes, play him at QB and see what his abilities are at that position, but give the player an opportunity to further his football career.

  4. After 131 years and more losses than ANY football program in the entire COUNTRY IU has shown that it is unable or unwilling to compete at a varsity B10 conference level. If TV revenue weren’t available, this program likely would have already been discontnued or downgraded. The football program needs to join hockey at the DII level or discontnue altogether. The current squad might beat Minnesota for the first win up there in 25 years, then finishing up with 3 blowout losses. Its inexcuseable. Just pull the life support apparatus. It’s embarrassing for students, fans and quite frankly, everyone in the State considering IU’s name.

    1. The only thing “bad” are apologists fans who demand little of an institution with the size and available exposure present at Indiana University.

      It’s more than criminal to pay coaches in excess of 30 million over 9 nears for NCAA tournament results that don’t stack up to nine other Midwestern programs (all attending Elite Eights…Some even much smaller schools who went beyond Elite 8 and on to the Final Four).

      No one at Indiana Athletics is accountable. The AD was hired in a committee room. He was handpicked by the inept former basketball coach.
      It can only be assumed that the president of IU is indifferent to our major sports programs having any success or reputation on national stages. That is what is “bad.” It’s more than bad. It’s a dereliction of duties and a slap in the face to far-to-loyal fans(those that filled Assembly for turnover hoops and CUE CARDS!…and the stragglers still willing to suffer through totally dysfunctional football).

      Don’t berate the few IU fans who even still care enough to have a bit of deserved outrage over endless catchphrases and momentous salaries for used car salesmen coaches and an AD who answers to no one.

  5. IUFB gets a dedicated special teams coach this season, but the head coach has to spend time on this? Ridiculous. Put Inge on the boat with Hiller and Debord. Find the five best special teams coaches from the MAC, Conf. USA, and the like and make ’em immediate offers. Even IU’s low-rent pay for asst. coaches would be huge $$$ incentive for some assistant coach at Toledo or wherever. Oklahoma gave up 48 points a couple of weeks ago and the next day DC Stoops was fired and replaced by some guy from E. Carolina. It can be done and IUFB should do it. What, exactly, does IUFB have to lose at this point? Might even have something to gain.

  6. Ironically, Stoops went the way of RichRod. Both were hyper-profane screaming maniacs who could not control themselves during games and practices. They both behaved and treated their players in ways that no longer pass Universities’ PC standards. OK had to place Stoops in the press box to reduce his exposure to TV cameras. He was a maniac, and that is no longer acceptable.

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