Indiana head coach Tom Allen took the podium at Lucas Oil Stadium Tuesday during the 50th annual Big Ten Media Days to address the future of the program entering the 2022 season. Coming off of a disappointing 2-10 record in 2021, Allen acknowledged the team’s performance early in the press conference and painted a road map for their current offseason preparation.
Allen wasted little time showing his excitement about the schedule for next season. He began by touching on Indiana’s season and home opener against Illinois on a Friday, September 2.
“We’re very blessed to open our season, for the fourth time since I’ve been at Indiana, with a Big Ten opponent,” Allen said. “I just really feel like it’s become a new tradition for us to be able to start the season with a Big Ten opponent, and it has become a great, great thing.”
The program went through a cluster of changes to the staff and players this summer. Allen mentioned how, even though Indiana set a standard in 2019 and broke out in 2020 with an impressive 6-2 season, the true test of a program is how it responds to adversity. That is exactly what he believes will happen this coming season.
Allen went on to highlight some of his standout players to watch this year. With the departure of fellow linebacker Micah McFadden to the NFL, senior Cam Jones will be relied upon as a leader in the middle of the Hoosier defense.
Allen also mentioned that junior tight end A.J. Barner will receive a much bigger role and replace All-Big Ten performer Peyton Hendershot. Finally, he spoke about first team All-American senior cornerback Tiawan Mullen who returns to the Hoosier secondary as an essential playmaker, and looks to improve his stock for the NFL this coming year.
As expected after a turbulent lineup last season, the quarterback position was the center of attention, and Allen addressed how the competition looks heading into fall camp.
“We came out of spring football and felt like there wasn’t a clear guy to name,” Allen said. “I love the competition, and obviously we’ll have a starter named before the opener, but once that person is named, he will be the starter.”
Allen made it clear that he hopes to avoid a dual situation but also acknowledged that injuries happen, and you need to have multiple viable options.
When it comes to what the staff is looking for at the quarterback position, Allen said he puts an emphasis on the turnover ratio.
“I think, as you come off this past year, it’s a great reminder of protecting the football,” Allen said. “It’s such a huge part of our game, and the quarterback touches the ball every snap, so protecting that football is a huge priority.”
Allen says that whoever the starting quarterback is needs to have a mastery of the offense, know where to distribute the football and lead the locker room.
The Hoosiers will begin practice and team training camp on Tuesday, August 2 with sights set on their first game of the season exactly a month later.