Written By Alex Compton
Following two seasons of little to no improvement on defense, defensive coordinator Brian Knorr has been replaced by New Castle, Indiana, native Tom Allen.
Allen served as the defensive coordinator at South Florida last season under Willie Taggart. He was reportedly the leading candidate for the Auburn defensive coordinator position until he accepted the job in his home state. He has 24 seasons of coaching experience, including experience at Indiana high school powerhouse Ben Davis from 1997-2006. He was the Giants’ head coach from 2004 on, until he began his journey through the collegiate ranks. He is highly regarded as a great coach and one of the best people in the business. Many media outlets are saying that this will end up being one of the hires of the offseason. Coach Wilson is excited about the addition, but just how well can we expect Allen to fit in with the program?
Coach Wilson, with his ties to the southeast, is often criticized for recruiting that turf too much and not focusing his efforts more on in-state talent, which has produced great players over the years. Tom Allen and his Indiana connections are huge for a staff that has expressed a desire to bring more Hoosiers to Bloomington. Besides his direct relationship to 8-time state champion Ben Davis, growing up and starting his career here will be huge for landing some of the premier talent in Indiana. At this point, IU only has one in-state commit (OL Coy Cronk), but the staff is working hard on getting some commitments from others. If Allen’s connections can spark some interest and grab a couple of prospects right away, that will go down as an added bonus to what should be a very beneficial asset for seasons to come.
With a group of young but dynamic defensive players currently on the roster, the potential to become a solid unit is certainly there. One thing that should help those guys will be the presence of Coach Allen down on the sideline during games. He brings a substantial amount of energy and positive reinforcement down to the field, and will definitely be a change of pace from former coordinator Brian Knorr, who opted to call games from the press box instead. With a high percentage of snaps being played by younger players, having Coach Allen down on the field to talk directly with the players throughout the game should be comforting to them and will hopefully help the unit cut down on mental mistakes. He will blend right in to a sideline that always brings energy and likes to keep the players engaged throughout contests. Hopefully his style can help keep the defense locked in for all four quarters this season.
Head coach Kevin Wilson is building the program the right way, and the hiring of Tom Allen only furthers that agenda. Bringing in another high-character coach that refuses to do things any way but the right way will continue to help the program inside and out. This quote from Allen while he was the special teams coordinator at Ole Miss really speaks to what he’ll bring.
“I’m a high intensity guy and I love to coach with passion and energy, but it’s got to be more than that. It’s got to be deeper than that, and when it is, it’s powerful, it’s motivating, and it lasts.”
Improving the defense may be tough to begin with, but if there were a man for the job it would be Tom Allen. His combination of coaching ability and character among other things make him a phenomenal hire for Coach Wilson and his staff. Coach Wilson is confident that this addition will be nothing but great for Indiana Football, and it is hard to disagree with him. Coach Allen will be a fantastic fit with the program. He is a great coach, but he is also a Hoosier. He is home. He is a Hoosier once again, and any questions about his fit with the program should be washed away by that fact alone.
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