BLOOMINGTON, Ind - Today was Tom Allen's regular scheduled weekly press conference. Since it is a bye-week no players were made available. Indiana was painstakingly close to pulling off the biggest win of Allen's 3 years at the helm of the Hoosiers. But as many fans have seen, too many times, Indiana was simply not able to "finish" the game. Today on Indiana Sports Beat Radio IU broadcaster Don Fischer brought up Indian's inability to finish games and pointed out it's not just this group he was talking about. Today at the presser the legendary broadcaster asked Tom Allen how the Hoosiers go about getting to that point (around the 21 minute mark). Tom Allen said, among other things, his young team has "to learn how, learn how to finish, learn how to win those games. There is very little margin for error."
There were more positives than negatives in that game for Indiana, but at the end of the day they still lost a very winnable game. Defense has to do a better job and I think that starts with the coaching. I'm just not sure having a DC learning on the job is the way to go in the Big Ten. Special teams have been a problem, whether it's untimely penalties or taking the ball out of the end zone or fielding a punt inside the 10 just before the half. Last season it was catching kickoffs and going out of bounds at the one. These are basic fundamentals that most learn in high school. Coaching should fix these, but they are still going on in 2019. Again, there was a lot more positive than negative in the Michigan State game, but these things are costing wins.
Michael Penix was tough as nails in his first Big Ten road game and only 3rd start ever. The patched-up O-Line with a true freshman playing, only gave up 1 sack and allowed Penix the time he needed to throw the ball. Stevie Scott had a pretty good day against one of the best rush defenses in the country. Kalen DeBoer designed and called a very effective game plan that nearly allowed the Hoosiers to shock a lot of people.
True freshman Taiwan Mullen was outstanding in the secondary. IU could have used a couple more like him. Defensive let downs cost Indiana a chance to give Tom Allen a "signature" win. Don't worry, Indiana plays in the Big Ten East, there will be more opportunities soon. And the future looks bright, if the Hoosiers can plug the leaks. I still think this team can win 7-8 games. The thing that impressed me the most was how the offense performed in such a hostile environment, in front of 70,000 Spartan fans. Indiana will not be in awe when they travel to places like Lincoln, NE to face the Cornhuskers, or West Lafayette to play the Boilers. And I think those are winnable games for the Hoosiers. And after watching Indiana's performance those teams know that too.