Notes and Quotes From Kalen DeBoer’s Introductory Press Conference

Tom Allen (right) and Kalen DeBoer  Image: Sammy Jacobs Hoosier Huddle

Tom Allen (right) and Kalen DeBoer Image: Sammy Jacobs Hoosier Huddle

Written by Sammy Jacobs

The Indiana Hoosiers introduced Kalen DeBoer as the new offensive coordinator Friday afternoon at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington. Below are the quotes from head coach Tom Allen and offensive coordinator Kalen DeBoer.

Tom Allen Quotes:

On what he was looking for making this hire:

“I was trying to find a guy that I could really label as the head coach of the offense, and that's what I -- as I talked with coaches and did the process of finding the guy, I would go through and kind of start by saying that and say that's what we're looking for, because as a defensive head coach that's been involved defensively as a defensive coordinator and now with more of an overall role but still going to be heavily involved with the defense and special teams, I wanted to be able to hire someone that I totally trusted to be able to be the head coach of that side and to be able to run those meetings and capture those players and capture those coaches and truly do a great job of leading our offense. 

And so just felt like that when you look at his resume and the things that he's done, what I really did was this: I wanted to go through and not necessarily in personality, but I wanted to be able to find myself on offense is what I was looking for, and from a leadership perspective, from an ability to go to programs and create change, the path that he's been on is similar to mine. Just to be able to, when you coach at the smaller college level, for me it was the high school level as well as small college, you have to adapt to your personnel. You have to be very good at being able to not just force players into a certain system. You have to be able to take the guys you've got and win with those guys.”

On what excites him about coach DeBoer’s offense

“Well, you go through, and like I did everybody, I go through and watch and study film, and just to be able to -- to me, it's about scoring points. At the end of the day, on defense you've got to keep them off the scoreboard, and offensively you've got to score touchdowns. And so for them to be able to do that consistently and to be able to utilize different personnel groupings, as well, whether it's 10 personnel, 11 personnel, 12 personnel. I'm a big fan of tight ends. I think they create a lot of issues for us defensively, and the way he utilizes those guys has been impressive, and be able to throw the football down the field. Running the ball is always what I've said from the very beginning is what we have to do here, and we're getting better at that. So he obviously believes in that, as well.

But I just think more than anything you go through and you watch drives and you watch -- I look more for -- players make plays. Obviously he's coaching different players than you're going to have here, and so it's more about the scheme as you watch, how you set things up and put defenses in conflict by just variations of tempo and personnel and formations and things like that. So those are what I look for when I watch film because I know exactly how -- what I want to do is I want to watch a guy and feel like that these things make me take notes of what we've got to work on this, hey, we're going to have to worry about this, we're going to have to worry about this, so as I go through and I watch, that's what I'm looking for, when I look for a guy that gives -- the scheme gives you challenges, so it's our job to go out and recruit players to make plays, but the scheme itself I feel like is something that stuck out to me, and to be able to -- and also I think, too, for us, I don't want a wholesale change. I want to be able to take what we have and build off the foundation we have and get better and have some carryover, some consistencies so that we're not coming in with a completely brand new system that's different than what we've been doing. So there's some carryover but there's also unique things that he'll bring to make us better.”

On DeBoer’s success in the red zone

“Well, whenever you look at the red zone, for me and you study teams that are very good down there, they have the ability to run the football. I think that's a big variable. I think also the utilization of the tight ends I think is something else that helps a lot. And just being able to -- within that run -- because like I said, everything I think of is what gives us trouble and what do I not want to see defensively, and the ability to just be so efficient in getting that ball in the end zone, not having to settle for field goals. Obviously you have to kick a field goal, you take care of business and you score your three points, but we all know that you do that too often, it gets you in trouble.

But to me it's about being able to go through there, and he has a really good plan on the goal line, has a good plan once he got in the red zone, and that resulted in touchdowns, and obviously that's everybody's goal.”

On the pressure of making this decision

“I would say, to be transparent, I think I felt a lot because I just knew how important it was. I just felt like that where we're at as a program and starting year three that I knew that we had to get this right. I really appreciate everything that Mike DeBord has done for us and the foundation that was laid and just knew that going into year three that getting the right guy was going to be critical.

Obviously every hire is important, and getting the right chemistry on your staff of -- and that's the thing you just don't know when you hire somebody that you haven't worked with. There's a lot of things that you don't know, how that's all going to fit and flow together.

So I just spent a lot of time studying, spent a lot of time praying, and just trusting to make the best decision possible for our program. So just every big decision I make follows a similar process that I go through and try to be extremely thorough in everything that we do here.

But I just -- to your point, yeah, very important hire for us and really, really excited to be able to bring an individual the caliber of Kalen to our program and just feel like that he's going to be a great fit for us and really help us take the next step offensively.”

On what impressed him about the turnarounds that DeBoer led at Eastern Michigan and Fresno State

“I think that those are variables that I looked at because I look at how do you create change, how do you go into a place that has lacked whatever, and I wasn't in those situations, but I've been in similar ones and know that it doesn't just happen, and you have to have a plan. The players have to begin to develop a trust in you, and you have to build that trust within.

The thing that, too, I look at is you go into a new staff, and just like he will come into our staff here and not coming in with a whole new group of guys, he's coming in as the new guy in charge -- I've done that twice myself, and to be able to capture those guys is step number one as the coaching staff. So to be able to go do that, and then obviously the players need to see just a gradual improvement and it's systematic and it's consistent and you see it's a pattern of those kind of things.

So that sticks out to me, it really did, and it kind of really showed that he's the kind of guy that understands what it's going to take to come here and to help us be what we're going to be in the Big Ten, a very -- play a challenging schedule every year, and that's not going to change, and you're going to go against those kind of opponents and opportunities, and I want a guy that's going to embrace that and has that in him and wants that and wants to be here, and the opportunity in this conference is what drew me here.”

On the financial commitment made by Fred Glass to the hire

I just think that it's a commitment to being able to -- whether it's our facilities here that we're in the process of renovating with our new locker room and with our strength staff, and when we went to go to bat for Dave Ballou and Dr. Rhea and being able to those guys here and to be able to restructure their contracts, and now a guy in his position to be able to sit down with Fred and just say, hey, this is where the market is right now, and we want to go out and get the best, and we've got to compete, and you've got to be able to step up, and Fred absolutely was 100 percent supportive of that and trusted me to be able to say, this is the guy we believe in, this is the guy we've selected, and this is what we're going to need to do to get him.

And so because the bottom line is because where he's coming from, they want him to stay, and they do everything they can to create a situation for him to do that. That's the kind of guys you want, and you've got to go back and forth, and it's not just a simple process, and you just -- you fight for what you want, both here and with getting him, and that's part of us taking another step as a program in my mind and being able to put ourselves in a position to say that we're going to invest in this program. And it's a facility investment, it's a staff investment, and that's part of raising the bar for what I view is the importance of this football program at Indiana University, which drew me here when I saw Fred Glass's vision, when he actually talked to me on the phone about coming here as the DC, and those same conversations now, when I got -- had Fred talk to Kalen on the phone, as well, in this process to be able to show him that we're committed and invested here to getting this program to where I believe it is going to be.”

Kalen DeBoer Quotes

One what needs to happen to turn around the Hoosier offense

So to me, in order for me to ask everything out of them, I have to give the trust that they need, too, and so the relationship that we have, I want to be able to walk in a room and be brutally honest with the guys and then not have hard feelings about it. That only comes with us working together, building the chemistry, having a common voice as a staff that the players believe in, and then that way when they're on the field, they know that we're fighting the same battle together. It's not something where there's the coaching staff and me and there's the players. We're all in this together. We all want the same thing. We all want a great season. We want a great team. We want a great program. It goes well beyond the years of us all being here.

On what stuck out to him about IU during the interview process

“Getting on campus and just seeing the facilities, I was really honestly blown away with them, and it's exciting to see the investment that Coach talks about that's been made here with the facilities, and the guys have a great environment. It's a winning -- it's a feel of winning that we're surrounded by.

And then just as I met the staff, a few of them I hadn't known, but I just became more and more impressed just with the all-in mindset that they have, the excitement that they have towards the future and how close we are, and so those are probably the two things that really stuck out in my mind.”

On the freedom of being the ‘head coach’ of the offense

 “A huge honor for me, and something I don't take lightly because the product on the field will be one thing, but how we do it will be another. I want it done in a first-class way where when we talk -- go through the season and go through this journey together as a staff, as a team, there's going to be moments throughout where we're going to look back on and there will be highs and lows that we're all in together on. But when it's all said and done, we look back, and you feel good about how you put it together.

I think as a head coach, I probably am not speaking for Coach, but I know what it's like when you see the final product and you win a championship and you look around and you see the smiling faces and you see the guys' excitement. You think back how it all came together because everyone is coming from a different place. There's journeys that guys are on. I'm in a different part of my life and journey than the incoming freshmen, and certain members of the staff.

But we all have our journey that we're on, and bringing it all together is something special. The leadership part of it is critical towards those memories being something that you remember for the rest of your life.”

On his offensive philosophy

“It's going to be all revolved around what it takes to win, first of all, and there's a fine line between excitement, right, and putting people in the stands and getting people excited about what we do offensively, and then making sure we're not putting our team in a vulnerable position. But really what it comes down to offensively and as a team is creating more turnovers, and for us taking care of the football, and then having more explosives than your opponent. And when you do that, you're going to win over 90 percent of the time. You know, we want to make sure we're putting the points on the board, but we're also not so reckless that we're putting our defense in a vulnerable position. And so it's a team game that we're going to be a part of. You know, do we want to be physical -- the game was meant to be played one way when it comes down to it, and that's physical. A lot of people think that means running the football, but that's also what you do with the ball after you have it in your hands. Falling ahead for extra yards gives you better down and distances to work with, which makes for better 3rd down conversions and higher red zone, as we've been talking about here.

But you know, to just create -- in the end, it comes down to creating an attitude, and you don't install it with plays. You know, a lot of plays are kind of cool and guys like those and they can feel it, and they know it's going to be big, but in the end, it's how you manipulate it and how you create the attitude that I think ends up with a product on the field that's exciting to watch.”

His thoughts on the players IU has on offense

“I see a lot of young guys that have put some -- some have put some time already on the field in game situations, and then there's some guys that you know are seniors. I know a few offensive linemen, a few skill guys that want to make it happen now, and the urgency for them is high. And so that's something I think I've learned throughout the few moves is how to have that fine line and build a foundation that prepares you for success years two -- more success years two, three and four in building your system, but at this time right now, we want to win right now.

You know, I've had some guys that have come up, a lot of them have been seniors, because they understand the urgency of their career right now, and it's coming to an end, and every day is one closer to their last days wearing an IU football helmet. Really looking forward to giving those guys that experience.”

On creating an attitude on offense

“we want to be physical. We want to have explosive plays that should come off of -- when you have a little bit of a run game, or I felt like it was one of the strengths this last year was there was some -- there was a consistent run game for the most part. You should be able to have some play action to go along with it. Play action always doesn't have to be shots down the field, but it should open that up. We've got some big receivers from what I've seen that can go up and get the football and some guys that can get it down the field, as well.

You know, that to me marries up pretty well, and then just that aggressive -- we want to have the ability to speed things up and play with some tempo. When you know you've got them or when it's the right time or you need a little kick start, there's a lot of different reasons why you do that. So the ability to have some tempo.

And then I think where -- past tendencies kind of throughout the years for me, you see the intermediate pass game develop as guys become more familiar with the system, understand the route combinations better, the reads that I'm asking them to make, and just everyone is on the same page. There are less drops because guys are thinking less. So we're going to try to keep it simple, but we also want to be complex from the defensive side of things and how they look at us.”

On his recruiting connections

“Yeah, I mean, Chicago, Chicago is an area that I had for eight years up there, into Illinois and then obviously over into Michigan with our success and getting to know people there. You know, that would probably be the strongest. I did it a little bit down in Nashville right at the end of my Southern Illinois time.
But I think Chicago is the strongest area, or northern Illinois.”