Written by Sammy Jacobs (@Hoosier_Huddle)
Indiana head coach Tom Allen knows what he wants in his next offensive coordinator. “I want a guy that has called plays at this level", Allen said at a press conference Thursday evening, “not necessarily in this conference per se, but that would be the ideal. But I just think that a guy who has been there and done that would be important for sure because I still feel like when I go through and think about these two roles, my challenge is always “I want to hire a head coach of the offense”.
There has been much speculation about who the next offensive coordinator will be at Indiana since Mike DeBord’s retirement was announced on December 30th. Tom Allen’s comments on Thursday shed a little light as to who he may be interviewing for the vacancy.
Based on his comments, Allen will be looking outside of the program for an offensive coordinator. He wants “to get a guy that fits our staff, that fits our culture. A guy that fits the people we have on our staff and the kind of players that we have, that believes you build a team the way we are building our team here and how you motivate and how you lead. That’s really important.”
When Allen took over the Indiana program before the Foster Farms Bowl in 2016, he said he wanted his teams to be able to run the football. He still believes that is one of the keys to success in the Big Ten. However, his vision on offense has become more detailed than that. His vision, he told reporters about what will and won’t change in his offensive philosophy.
“The things that aren’t going to change, we are going to run the football. I believe in that. In this conference, you have to be able to do that effectively. I want to us to play with tempo, that doesn’t change to me.”
Allen also spoke about the importance of protecting the football. Allen’s defense forced 26 takeaways, but the offense gave the ball back to the opponent 21 times (13 interceptions, eight fumbles). “You have to protect (the ball),” Allen said, “and that is something we talk about all of the time on both sides of the football. Create takeaways on defense and being able to protect it on offense. It’s those fundamental things, to me, are foundational.
As for what will change, Allen pointed to explosive plays, an area that IU struggled in the last two seasons.
“I want us to be able to create explosive plays. I keep saying that, I have said that a thousand times and to me that is an area where we have to grow in and really have to do in both the run game and the pass game. Definitely being able to throw that football down the field and stretch the defense vertically. We have guys that can do that and feel that’s something defensively gives us a lot of issues and creates a lot of challenges.”
Allen didn’t give a timetable for the process saying, “I am not going to give a ‘hey, by this certain date, but I don’t want to drag this out. I think we will be very efficient with it and we have already been very aggressive with the process, so I’d say as soon as possible. Within the time frame where we will be effective. I don’t think you rush things, we’ll get the best individual for the position. It is an extremely important hire for us. I just want to get it done as soon as possible.”
The Hoosiers open the 2019 season at Lucas Oil Stadium against the Ball State Cardinals on August 31st.