(Bloomington, In) – Indiana University Head Coach Tom Allen enters his third full season at the helm of the Hoosiers. He has finished 5-7 in both his first two seasons and the Hoosier faithful are starting to clamor for a bowl appearance. They have not been to a bowl since the 2016 Foster Farms Bowl and have not won a bowl game since 1991. In order to get over the hump and get the coveted bowl invitation in 2019, they need to focus on these five areas.
1-Defensive Improvement under New Coordinator
In December 2018, Coach Allen removed the defensive coordinator duties from himself and designated Kane Wommack as the defensive play caller. This move was made to allow Allen more time to provide leadership to all aspects of the program. In the official press release to announce the move, Coach Allen said,
“Without question, Kane Wommack is ready for this opportunity. I have tremendous confidence in him and his understanding of our entire defense, from the front to the back. I will still be heavily involved, but Kane will take over the play-calling responsibilities, the organization of our defensive staff and all that we do on that side of the ball.”Head Coach Tom Allen
2-Create an offensive identity.
They need a playmaker, could Whop Philyor be healthy enough to fill that role? With sophomore running back Stevie Scott, who had over 1,000 yards as a freshman doing the heavy lifting, they need to give Philyor opportunities in space to let his athleticism take over. That combination could create match-up problems for Big Ten defenses. They need to find a way to create more explosive big plays so that they will not continue to bog down in the red zone.
3-Settle on a Quarterback.
There are currently three options for the quarterback position, Michael Penix, Jr. who was injured early last season, Peyton Ramsey who finished the year out with a yeoman’s job and Jack Tuttle who transferred from Utah. While Penix will not participate in the 2019 spring practices, he will be 100% come fall. Coach Allen and Offensive Coordinator Kalen DeBoer need to define their identify and then settle on the quarterback that best fits.
4-Rebuild a depleted defensive line
Defensive line coach Mark Hagen will once again have to work his magic in putting a Big10 quality defensive line. A key could be Juan Harris, who transferred to Independence Community College last year but has returned. “Big Juan” is 6’3 350lb from could dictate the middle of the defense and let the linebackers roam at will in the Hoosier 4-2-5 alignment. Word from early spring practice is that he looks really good.
5-Manage the Schedule
The Hoosiers start the season with three straight home games, Ball State (at Lucas Oil Stadium), Eastern Illinois and Connecticut. It will be imperative that they get off to a 3-0 start before the rigors of the Big10 schedule begin. Winnable conference games include Rutgers, Nebraska and Maryland, if they would take two-of-three from that group, then they would just need one more win. It would be the end of a sweet season for Coach Allen and the Hoosiers if they could capture that final win that pushed them past bowl eligibility with a win on the road against their rival Purdue and take home the Ole Oaken Bucket for the year. For Coach Allen to keep his seat from getting to hot, they will need to find those wins this year and advance to a post season game.
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