Allen seeking leadership from Timian this year

Tom Allen sat down with his senior receiver earlier this offseason and discussed expectations.

In Luke Timian, Allen sees a receiver who does so many things correctly — the way he practices, the way he plays, the way he carries himself in between. But there’s one thing Allen, Indiana’s second-year coach, needs from Timian as much as anything else this year.

“My challenge to him now is ‘lead,'” Allen said.

From walk-on status to All-Big Ten recognition, Timian has accomplished a lot in his three-plus years with IU’s football program. Now, the Hoosiers need him to be more than simply a reliable player.

They need him to be one of the team’s most dependable leaders.

“I’m really taking that serious,” Timian said.

There are a few reasons why doing so will be important during the upcoming weeks and months, as the Hoosiers prepare to close spring practice with their annual Cream and Crimson spring game on Saturday afternoon, then gear up for summer workouts and eventually fall camp.

For one, there’s lots of youth at the receiver position — especially right now.

With Nick Westbrook, Donavan Hale and J-Shun Harris each limited this spring due to injury rehabilitation, Timian is the only receiver available this month with more than a season’s worth of on-field experience.

With that, becoming a more vocal and visible leader is the next part of Timian’s college development.

After receiving IU’s Outstanding Walk-on Player of the Year award in 2016, Timian earned a scholarship during the team’s 2017 fall camp. He backed up Allen’s belief in him by finishing second on the team with 68 receptions, tying for sixth-most in a single season in IU program history. Timian also posted 589 yards and scored two touchdowns, earning All-Big Ten Honorable Mention recognition in the process.

All of that raised the bar for what Allen wants to see from the 6-foot Texan this year.

“He does a great job of taking care of Luke, which is step No. 1,” Allen said. “But now, as a senior, I need him to pull guys with (him). He’s kind of a quiet guy in some ways, but he’s such a great example of doing the little things right.

“He practices so hard and does everything right that I gotta have him pulling guys with him, and not just in his (receivers) room. We’re talking beyond the room into the whole offense and, ultimately, to the whole team. To me, that’s the next step for him, to really affect this team as a leader.”

While doing so, Timian could also further expand his role on the field.

This spring, Timian has been moving between the slot and the outside, diversifying his ability to assist IU’s offense.

It’s a move that’s at least partially necessitated by need. Without Westbrook and Hale — and NFL hopeful Simmie Cobbs, too — the Hoosiers have simply needed bodies on the outside.

But’s it’s also a shift that Timian has taken to, while adding a bit of versatility to what he can offer the Hoosiers come the fall.

“(There’s) a lot of press man coverage, so you have to work off releases,” Timian said of the changes he’s seen from the slot to the outside. “That’s the biggest thing for me. I usually get the guy five yards off, so it’s a little bit different, just a guy right up in your grill.”

And just like the past few seasons, as he’s continued to carve a niche within IU’s offense, Timian will do as he’s told.

That goes for his role on the field and all that Allen expects from Timian off of it.

“They’re trying to move me around and get me in different places,” Timian said. “Just getting comfortable there and leading these guys.”

3 comments

  1. Timian will be part of a talented receiving corps for 2018 if Hale and Westbrook both are healthy and perform like they can. Timian has made some special catches and as a senior can be a valuable leader. It would be a good to see young receivers beside Whop step up this year.

  2. v13, you are correct in calling this a talented receiving corp, overall this is the weakest group of receiver to play for Indiana in recent years. Basically, you have two (Hale and Westbrook) receivers returning from injury. Westbrook has only caught passes from Sudfeld and had lost his starting job to Hale. An Donavan Hale has been at Indiana for three years with a grand total of 21 reception and 336 yards (not eye popping). Now this staff has their best (SLOT) receiver Luke Timian, experimenting with playing the outside receiver positions…WHY??? (can anyone explain?)…from my view you have two (Luke and Whop) very good to awesome slot receiver (depth)….why experiment? You have this great receiving coach that is recruiting all these 6’2″ to 6″3″ inch ex-basketball players for receivers, that don’t seem to be developing and when are they going to get on the playing field??

    1. Mike Miller’s article above explicitly describes why LT has been spending time at outside receiver during the Spring. A very good idea to expand his role. As far as DH and his WR statistics is concerned he has spent some time (2016) with the QB group during his time at IU. He has played a lot of ST’s. He has also returned many kicks for the Hoosiers. He is a terrific all around athlete with outstanding size. WR is the position which best allows him to leverage and showcase his talents and skills which were displayed before being injured. S Jonathan Crawford is his cousin.

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