Allen talks about targeting non-call on Philyor

Indiana coach Tom Allen reaffirmed on his radio show Thursday his belief that targeting should have been called on a hit that injured receiver Whop Philyor at Penn State.

He wouldn’t go into detail on whether the Big Ten has admitted an error on the second-quarter play — during which Philyor fumbled and then ended up in concussion protocol — but Allen confirmed he has gone through a process to seek an explanation on the non-call.

“I want them to know that we are a very good football team,” Allen said, “and I feel we’ve earned and deserved the opportunity to be given the (proper) treatment and call things the way they are supposed to be called.

“I fought for them on the field, and I fought for them the last several days, and that’s what I’m going to do, and our administration is 100 percent behind us.”

Philyor took two hits to the head on the catch-and-run, first a glancing blow from cornerback Marquis Wilson. As Wilson was making the tackle, PSU linebacker Ellis Brooks came screaming into the fray from the opposite direction, contacting Philyor’s helmet with his.

When pressed by IU radio man Don Fischer on whether the Big Ten admitted an error in judgment, Allen was mum.

“Those are the kind of things you have to leave between us and them, because they are not going to come back and issue some formal statement,” Allen said.

“Well they should,” Fischer replied.

“Well, I guess they can if they wanted to … and you know what, give them a call,” Allen said, somewhat playfully. “I just feel I want our guys to focus on playing football, and I tell them I’ll take care of the other stuff.”

The Herald-Times sent an email Monday to the Big Ten’s coordinator of football officials, Bill Carollo, seeking clarification on the targeting rule and why it didn’t apply on the Philyor hit. A spokesman replied a day later, writing, “We typically do not make public statements regarding specific judgment calls that occur in a given game.”

Fischer asked Allen if he was satisfied with the answers he received from the Big Ten.

“I don’t know if I’d say satisfaction, because there is nothing they can do at that point to change it, you know?” Allen said. “But I agree with you, I saw a certain thing, and you saw a certain thing, and I think everybody saw it. I put a lot of effort into that process that you have to handle, and I think we did it the right way.”

Allen added: “We’ve worked hard to get where we are. We ain’t taking a backseat too nobody.”

Philyor update

Philyor, IU’s leading receiver, was still in concussion protocol as of Thursday morning.

“So we don’t know yet but we’ll know here, maybe this afternoon,” Allen said.

In Philyor’s absence at PSU, freshman David Ellis rose up the depth chart and finished with seven catches for 85 yards. Junior Ty Fryfogle also helped pick up snaps from the slot position.

“Fry has the flexibility, he’s probably our most versatile guy,” Allen said. “David Ellis is a guy we can plug in there and do some great things. It’s a very good room, a deep room right now.

“We’d obviously love to have (Philyor), but if not, next man up.”

Allen on Munger Award

This week, Allen was named one of 22 semifinalists for the George Munger College Coach of the Year Award.

He deferred credit to his staff when asked for a reaction.

“It’s a recognition of the people you have in the program,” Allen said. “Yeah, I get it, the leader is the one that gets all the blame, and he should, when things don’t go right. When things go well, you get some things like that.

“But, man, we got a great group of coaches, it’s everybody. It’s the players, how they are performing. That’s why I always say, ‘It’s not what I believe, it’s what do you believe in how we are going to play?'”

IU is in the midst of its first winning season since 2007, and Allen feels good about the trajectory of the program. But he isn’t going to be overly content, either.

“Something like that, once again, it’s kind of like the ranking,” Allen said of the Hoosiers’ first top 25 ranking since 1994, which lasted until the PSU loss. “It’s just a confirmation for things and being recognized for creating change, and we are excited about the change we are creating. But we definitely are not where we want to be.”

Stepaniak, Westbrook accept invites

Seniors Simon Stepaniak and Nick Westbrook have accepted invitations to the East-West Shrine Bowl.

Stepaniak, a guard, and Westbrook, a receiver, will play in the senior showcase game Jan. 18 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. and the game will air on NFL Network.

Stepaniak has started in 29 career games for the Hoosiers. He was listed on Bruce Feldman’s 2019 “Freaks” list in the preseason for his 515-pound bench and 410-pound hang clean. He has benched 225 pounds 41 times.

Westbrook, a team captain like Stepaniak, is one of seven Hoosiers all-time with 125 receptions and 2,000 yards. This season, he has 31 catches, 387 yards, and four touchdowns.

Allen also said on his radio show Thursday that kicker Logan Justus and receiver Donavan Hale are alternates for the Shrine game.