Highlights from Tom Allen’s weekly radio show

Indiana coach Tom Allen returned to the Bloomington Holiday Inn on Wednesday for his weekly radio show. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Allen on keeping morale high in the locker room: “The truth is that we’ve played a really, really tough schedule. I went through in our Sunday meeting and I reminded them that they played the most difficult schedule in the country the last seven weeks. That’s a fact. Bottom line is you have to understand where you’re at and why you’re there. I wanted them to be reminded of the realization that you’re playing great football teams. That’s No. 1. No. 2, I’ve personally gotten direct input from fellow coaches in the Big Ten who’ve reached reached out because they were so impressed with how we’ve played. … They’re like, ‘Hey, tell you kids to hang in there. You’re right there. No reason to hang your heads.'”
  • Allen said he’s been pleased with the focus he’s seen during this week’s practices: “On Tuesday (when practice resumed), there was energy in the room. I could tell they were locked in and ready to get off to a great week. These guys are resilient. Our word this week is ‘relentless’ in everything we do.”
  • On allowing Michigan State running back LJ Scott to score without resistance late in the fourth quarter: “As a defensive coach, that’s painful. I knew what we had to do so, literally, we signaled to our guys to let them score. Bottom line was that would only put them up by eight. You hate to do that, but you have to do it. It gave us an opportunity to go win the game.”
  • Allen said his message to his defense was direct and succinct: “I told our guys, ‘You played like a top-five team in the country, but you gotta finish.”
  • Allen regretted his play call on third-and-19 during Michigan State’s first touchdown drive. He later learned Tegray Scales and Chris Covington had gotten mixed up on the call, allowing MSU freshman Cody White to break free across the middle. “Our two linebackers were confused and they ran man coverage, so there was nobody where they should’ve been.”
  • On quarterback Peyton Ramsey: “He’s still growing as a young player. He did some good things, for sure, but we’ve got to be more dynamic in the pass game. … It’s a matter of see it, get the ball to our guys and make plays in space.”
  • Allen said he’s hopeful right guard Simon Stepaniak and tight end Ian Thomas will be available at Maryland on Saturday. He doesn’t expect any injured defensive players to return.
  • A fan asked Allen for two things he’d like for Indiana to accomplish this week that it didn’t last week: “There may be more than two. I would say these three: On special teams, we had costly penalties that affected field position. No. 2, offensively, we have to score in the red zone. We have to score touchdowns. Period. Defensively, we have to play great on third downs and get off the field.”
  • A fan asked Allen to give a glimpse into his average day: “Starts early. Long day, short night. We get up early and try to get in by six. Usually don’t get done until about midnight. We carve some time to come out for this, which is a nice break from watching film. It’s a long day.
    “We’re a morning practice team, so our kids get here by 6-6:30 a.m. to get in the treatment room. Breakfast at 7. … We meet as a staff in the afternoons of days we practice. Once you finish practice, you’re working on the next practice emphasis. Once you get all that done, you have to create your cards. Next thing is you’re making your recruiting calls. From that point, while the graduate assistants are going through and putting things on paper, you go back and watch the film. It’s a long day. That’s part of it.
    “I love Fridays, our travel day or when we’re in the office. You still have practice in the morning, but you’re not preparing for the next practice. Thursday night, that’s when I do my call sheet and everything for the game Saturday. I’ll lock myself in my office and I’ve learned I have to do that or else I can’t get any work done. I’ll shut the door, listen to music and for six hours, I’ll work on my call sheet. I feel pretty good after that.”