Highlights from Tom Allen’s weekly radio show

Tom Allen recapped the non-conference season and looked ahead to Big Ten play during this week’s edition of his Inside IU Football radio show.

Highlights from Allen’s appearance follow:

— On Stevie Scott’s past two games: “It’s been amazing what he’s been doing. The offensive line is obviously a huge part of that. He’s done a great job recognizing that fact. He’s really mature beyond his years. He’s done a good job of handling the early success.

— On the defensive line’s production of late: “The thing that really sticks out to me is, of the seven tackles for loss, five were different guys. We’re a defense by committee. We’ve played 33 guys on defense through the first three games. That’s the plan. But we’ve seen those mistakes diminish each week. In Big Ten play here, you’ve got to be humming on all cylinders.”

— “On the development of IU’s newcomers: “We’ve played 12 true freshmen that just got here and a whole bunch of redshirt freshmen. We felt it was a really talented class. I think it’s proven to be true. The depth is there. There are guys that just surprised us a bit and were more prepared to play than we thought they might be.”

— On redshirt freshman Bryant Fitzgerald: “Most people may not realize that with that situation (last season), he wasn’t even able to practice. You miss a whole year of football, it takes while to get that back. I thought the first game he was a bit rusty. The second game, a little bit better. This week, he took off. I always said he was a very good high school player. … He just has to get his eyes disciplined, because you can’t play fast if you don’t know what you’re doing. He’s a really exciting young man.”

— On Peyton Ramsey’s consistency so far: “Everything we saw in practice is what you’re seeing during the game. It’s just a consistency. He gives our team a lot of confidence because they know what to expect every day. He’s doing the things we’re asking him to do. I think he continues to get more and more comfortable. I love the fact that he’s able to steal a first down or two with his legs. Those things add up.”

— On Jonathan Crawford’s veteran presence: “You take a guy like that that’s coming in as a four-year starter and sometimes you don’t know. Are they gonna take that next step as a player? We really challenged him this off-season. We knew his leadership role would have to elevate. What would that look like? He’s always been a naturally quiet guy. He’s elevated his game verbally. I think that’s been great that he’s accepted that and understood that as one of our guys, he’s one of our leaders. Then, his play has elevated. We went down and pulled some old pictures up from the last time we went to FIU. He looked like a little skinny guy there. He was laughing. But he’s gotten a lot bigger and stronger. … I just think that when you get to that point, he’s very comfortable. He knows the calls and checks to make. He’s elevated his play. That’s what you want your seniors to do. … When you recruit a guy, you want him to be like Jonathan Crawford.”

— On what’ll be different before Saturday’s game: “I invited coach Archie Miller to be our honorary captain. He’ll run out with me and go out for the coin toss. All the other coaches (from the 23 other IU sports) we’ve invited to be on the sideline.”

— On Michigan State: “When you look at the team we’re about to play, it’s like playing the same team we played last year. Those guys are all back, pretty much across the board. I just think they’re another year older. They were a preseason pick by some people to win the conference and be in the hunt (nationally). They earned that.”

— On Michigan State’s tough rush defense: “We’ve run the ball well and we need to run the ball well. Something’s gonna have to give. They’ve done a great job, but that’s what we do and we have to run the football.”

— On Spartans quarterback Brian Lewerke: “He’s much more comfortable in the pocket. He’s a much more experienced guy now. He has a really good receiving corps around him. It’ll be a tremendous challenge. They’ve got a very experienced offense.”

— A listener asked Allen about the new fair catch rule: “I think as the season unfolds, you’ll see more and more of that. Teams are figuring out where they’re at. Teams are going to kick the ball deep and if you catch it inside the 5-yard line, the reality is you get it to the 25-yard line for free. I saw more and more teams doing that. I think as you get into conference play, it’ll happen more and more.”

— On Ronnie Walker’s development: “He’s a guy that came in really highly-touted, more so than Stevie. But the bottom line is it’s taken him a little longer to figure things out. He’s not really as big of a running back as Stevie is, but he’s starting to figure out the offense and what to do and how to pick up the blitzes. I think his confidence level has risen the past few weeks. We’re still evaluating the whole four-game (redshirt) possibility for him, but it was great to see him out there. He’s got great balance. He’s strong and fast and I think he’s going to be a really good player for us.”

— On Indiana leading the Big Ten in pass defense: “Sometimes those rankings can be deceiving. The bottom line is we’ve played good pass defense. We played one game in a driving rain storm. I’m sure that affected it. I’m realistic about that. At the same time, I thought the team we played last week had a good pass offense. You got to be able to defend the run and defend the pass.”

— A listener asked if Allen has any superstitions or routines on game days: “I am a routine guy. I like to work out before the game and get some nervous energy out. Other than that, no. For me, it’s about getting your team ready to play, because I haven’t played a snap in about 25 years.”

— A listener asked which position group has impressed Allen the most: “The group that has performed better than you maybe thought — I think the secondary, with as many new guys and question marks. I think the receivers, as well. More guys have stepped up, and even tight ends are catching the ball as well.”

One comment

  1. “All the other coaches (from the 23 other IU sports) we’ve invited to be on the sideline.” Ugh. Sucking up to basketball by IUFB is stomach-turning.

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