Indiana Coach Tom Allen: “Whipped Up Front... Too Many Creases, Too Many Seams, Too Many Loose Fits” Against Ohio State

By George Eisner on November 12, 2022 at 5:05 pm

After failing to beat Ohio State for the seventh time in his tenure, Indiana head coach Tom Allen kept most of his comments concise and critical towards his own team in wake of a 56-14 defeat.

Allen obviously had a tall task attempting to deal with a Buckeye offense that went on to score more than 40 points for the fifth straight time in its annual divisional meeting with the Hoosiers.

In explaining his game plan towards slowing down Ohio State's attack, Allen stated “with all the playmakers that they have, the run/pass conflicts that they put you in, you try to be able to load the box, take away the run. They got some talented running backs, and obviously the receivers — you isolate those guys, try to double-cover a couple guys, but you can't do that with more than two of them.”

Unfortunately, the strategy performed much more effectively in theory than it did in practice. Indiana allowed Ohio State to score three of its eight touchdowns on the afternoon from 48 yards or further out.

“I was disappointed with the explosive plays we gave up, especially in the run game,” Allen professed. “Moreso the pass game is hard. They got guys matched up against you, not enough hats to the ball. Not enough guys making plays and finishing plays at the point of attack.”

The Buckeyes finished with a pair of hundred-yard rushers for the second time this season, courtesy of performances from Miyan Williams and Dallan Hayden. In further reflection on his defense's ability to stop the ball on the ground, Allen noted he “didn't think we fit the run obviously even close to what is being acceptable, really disappointed in that regard.”

Allen called Ohio State a “really talented football team,” but felt much of what led to the final result came down to the performance of his own side. “We have to have guys step up,” he continued. “But I just didn't think the execution was still — even though we had a pretty simple plan to try to help our guys get to the football, surround it, get guys on the ground — just a poor performance for sure.”

Of particular disappointment from Allen was the Hoosiers’ inability to control the line of scrimmage and address the holes the Buckeyes sought to create for their ball carriers. “Gettin' whipped up front, we knew they have big physical offensive linemen,” Allen recalled. “But you have to win your gaps, win your technique, win with technique. I didn't think we did a very good job with that. D-line has to play better, linebackers need to fit better and finish tackles better.”

“Our front seven, that's what I put it on more than anything ... too many creases, too many seams, too many loose fits.”

“They got some talented running backs, and obviously the receivers — if you isolate those guys, try to double-cover... You can't do that with more than two of them.”– Tom Allen, On The Overwhelming PlayMaking Talent Ohio State has at Its Offensive Skill Positions

After three straight three-and-outs to begin the game, Allen opted to bench junior quarterback Connor Bazelak (a native of Dayton, Ohio) in favor of sophomore Dexter Williams II. The latter would go on to lead Indiana to the team's first points of the game after falling behind 21-0 before the end of the first quarter.

When asked if Williams II was in the game plan all along for the Hoosiers, Allen admitted, “the plan was to definitely play Dex and see how things went... I felt like he was doing a lot of good things and kept him in the game.”

In terms of whether or not Williams II would go on to run the show at quarterback for Indiana the rest of the season, Allen said his staff would have to evaluate. However, he did offer considerable praise towards what was only Williams II's second stint on the field this season, admitting after watching him against Ohio State that, "[he] does put more stress on the defense, without question."

Once the game got well out of the Hoosiers’ reach, Allen opted to rotate in many of his younger players on the team. When asked why he went with this approach, Allen kept a forward-thinking mentality in relaying he's “trying to find ways to maximize our roster here, get our young guys some pretty strong development late in the season and get to prepare for the future.”

Indiana will travel to Michigan State next weekend before facing off with Purdue in the Hoosiers' final game of the regular season. After the Boilermakers upset Illinois on the road today, should Allen rally his team in the final two weeks, Indiana could have a chance to spoil its in-state rival's sudden conference championship aspirations.

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