Notebook: Allen on injury reports, roster updates, more

CHICAGO — If Jim Delany’s hope becomes reality, Big Ten coaches could soon be required to submit “player availability” reports each week of the college football season.

Tom Allen would be comfortable with such a policy, but the Indiana coach said he’d also want reassurance that reports are filed accurately and coaches across the league are held accountable.

“I just want to make sure that it’s enforced and everybody does it the same way,” Allen said at Big Ten Media Days on Tuesday.

Delany’s call for league-wide player availability reports comes after the Supreme Court recently cleared a path for legalized sports gambling.

The Big Ten commissioner, along with his counterparts in the Atlantic Coast Conference and Southeastern Conference, believes fans have a right to know which players are unavailable in a given week. The reasons why — specific injuries, suspensions, etc. — wouldn’t need to be made public, but whether or not a player is expected on the field would, much like the NFL’s model.

“I think we need to do that nationally,” Delany said. “And I think the reason we need to do that is probably with the exception of the home field, the availability of personnel is critical to people who are interested in gambling legally or illegally. And therefore, when players are unavailable, we should know that, if they’re probably or likely, I don’t have the model code, but I do think it’s something that we should do and probably should have done it before, but certainly should do it now.”

Secrecy is a widely-embraced tactic across college football, with coaches increasingly hesitant to divulge the slightest detail that could give their opponent an advantage.

Allen, like many of his colleagues, is often vague when discussing the nature of injuries and the week-to-week availability of players nursing health concerns.

Should the Big Ten adopt a policy for availability reports, Allen would happily comply — just so long as everyone else is following the same methods and regulations.

“There’s two variables that really go into people deciding what the outcome of the game may be and that is the homefield advantage and injuries,” Allen said. “To me, the injury part is a big deal. That’s why the NFL puts a lot of time into it and has strict guidelines for that. Those guidelines will, I’m sure, filter down to collegiate football. Once they do, we have to make sure it’s a system that we, as coaches, follow and nobody has a competitive advantage over another coach or another program.”

Walton, Hunt leave program

Linebacker Kiante Walton and cornerback LaDamion Hunt are no longer members of Indiana’s roster.

Walton, who had a year of eligibility remaining, is taking a medical waiver after having appeared in 35 games and making 25 tackles for the Hoosiers since 2014.

Hunt, who appeared in seven games as a freshman special teams contributor last season, left the program for personal reasons, Allen said.

James moving to corner

Isaac James is one of the best athletes on Indiana’s roster. With that versatility in mind, Tom Allen is eyeing a role for him across the defensive backfield.

James will primarily play cornerback this fall, but could also shift to the Husky position as needed, Allen said. James, a redshirt junior who has played on both sides of the ball for IU, worked as a Husky during spring practice.

“We used the spring to really get his feet wet with that and get him grounded as a Husky,” Allen said. “Now we’re gonna move him to corner, where I think is probably his natural position. But he’ll (also) be a situational Husky. That gives us tremendous flexibility with his coverage skills.”

IU to honor Mallory

Indiana has plans this season to honor the winningest coach in program history.

Allen said the Hoosiers will wear special helmet decals as a tribute to Bill Mallory, who died on May 25. Mallory’s 69 wins are the most of any coach in Indiana history.

“His intensity and passion and love for his players and his grit and humility and class are the things that stick out to me about Coach Mal,” Allen said.

“We want to honor him this season by wearing a decal on our helmet each week, and we want our players to play with that same type of intensity and passion for the Hoosiers.”

One comment

  1. Has Isaac James played in any Indiana University football game??? If Isaac is one of the best athletes on the team, maybe a good special (kickoff and punt) team player, instead of putting your start wide receivers (Nick Westbrook) on kickoff coverage.

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