By David Sugarman (@David_Sugarman2)
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK:
Offense: Wes Martin
Defense: Chris Covington
Special Teams: Griffin Oakes
Offensive Scout: Shaun Bonner, Alex Rodriguez, Connor Thomas
Defensive Scout: Mo Burnam, Thomas Henderson
Tom Allen expects Ian Thomas and Nate Hoff to be available to play on Saturday. The other injured players who were out last week are questionable.
Indiana is number two in the nation in three-and-outs while Michigan is number one.
Indiana’s key word for the week is confidence
On what Michigan’s defense so good:
“Just watching them, I saw them early play in a couple games, as you get to watch some, they're very athletic in the core, really modified their system to match their personnel and different than last year. Much bigger last year and played from more of a four down, now they're really a three down and moving all over the place. They create a lot of havoc, a lot of movement, that's why they create a lot of sacks, more so than even last year at this time and very good. We're number two in three and outs and they're number one. So you got the top two teams in the country defensively in three and outs coming to play on Saturday.”
Taysir Mack had a breakthrough type of game on Saturday, Allen touched on Mack and his relationship with Peyton Ramsey.
“Well I challenged Taysir to rise up. We had some injuries at that position and so that's what freshmen are supposed to do. He responded. And so any time you have a guy I think as well that he and Peyton were on the scout team together last year, so throwing to each other in that setting and just the reps that they got over the summer and just everything, I think it just adds to it, it helps. For sure it's a timing and a comfort issue for them, but we just need Taysir to elevate his play and he did and now he's got to elevate against a top tier opponent. So it's about confidence, it's about execution, it's about belief, and yourself and your coaches to get you ready to play and then when the ball's thrown your way to go make those plays. So we need him to continue to grow.”
Allen on grading Ramsey’s performance in his first start:
“I felt like that he did a good job of running the offense, distributing the football, making good decisions, got a lot of guys involved, a lot of different guys catching the ball. I felt like that he missed a couple reads on his run reads to where he can give it or pull it and he'll get better at that the more he does it. I think that he just needs to continue to, when he decides to run it, run it. And that, he's been good at that and I think that's something that as the play continues to elevate and the opponent elevates real quickly here on Saturday, you have to make those quick decisions of whether it's releasing the football in your reads, a couple late on a couple throws, getting the ball out quick, and then deciding to tuck it and run. I think one of his biggest strengths is just being able to extend plays and you having to account for him in the way that you cover and the way that you rush the quarterback. Not so much necessarily the designed quarterback runs, those there will always be a few of those every week, but his strength to me is when he's able to create things when things breakdown.”
Michigan is coming off a close loss against rival Michigan State and Allen commented how that could effect this matchup.
“Sometimes I think that when you have a good program like theirs that expects to win every week, I know that's a huge game for them to play Michigan State. Last year they came off a tough Iowa game that they fell short on that and we played them the very next week, sort of a similar situation in some ways. I think that the really good coaching staff, they will have him probably sharper than of the next week. I just kind of expect that. There's no question they will comeback with resurgence in your focus in some ways maybe, but it's a Big-10 football game and we expect to get their very best and I just think that you want to win them and when you don't you sometimes have a tendency to be more detailed and less overlooking the little things when you do fall short. So I think it will probably make them even sharper, to be honest with you.”
Allen praised his defense for not allowing a single completion against Charleston Southern, a special feat.
“I would just say this, when you go back and watch it and sometimes -- and I don't think I've ever been, that I could ever remember in 25 years of coaching -- that we held a team to zero catches. So it's not something that's easy to do or happens frequently, but I would say when you go back and watch the film, there were not open receivers that just dropped balls, which sometimes happens. And I thought that our guys were very, very disciplined. They tried several play action wheel concepts that if you go back two weeks ago we gave up a couple of those against Georgia Southern. One was a touchdown and one was a big play. So bottom line is is that I think it was a combination of both, they are not a passing football team, they're going to throw the ball minimally.”
Allen mentioned he’s well aware of the history with Michigan and that this is a breakthrough opportunity for the program.
“There's no question, I think I've been pretty clear about what break through means to me and it's an attitude, it's a mindset, it's an expectation. I've said that many times. It is an expectation for sure. And it is created over time. I've been places where we won most of our games and we expected to win. If games were close, teams were fighting us, whether they were supposed to or not, we expected to find a way to win. And you have to create that. It doesn't happen through talking about it, you have to live it, you have to experience it, and to me I'm a guy that goes back and studies history, and we haven't beaten Michigan in 30 years. And we have beaten teams twice in the past 50 years. So I understand the history. And so there's no question if I'm on the other side of the table I would expect to win. So the bottom line is that how do you break through that from our perspective and to me we have laid that out.”
Mike DeBord said the thing that stood out to him on Saturday was Taysir Mack’s speed.
DeBord, a former Michigan offensive coordinator, said that there isn’t really time to get nostalgic right now about his days with the Wolverines.
DeBord on Michigan’s defense:
“I see a team with great speed that’s got a complex front.”
DeBord also said they got a to a point Saturday where he held back and didn’t show the full playbook.