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Indiana head coach Tom Allen is ‘excited’ for the ‘great opportunity’ to face Michigan

Allen barely spoke about Michigan, but preached for his team to stay the course as they prepare for the fourth-ranked Wolverines.

NCAA Football: Illinois at Indiana Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Just one short year ago, Tom Allen and the Indiana Hoosiers were on top of the world coming off a 6-2 2020 season, arguably one of the best years in program history. However, in 2021, they fell back to earth and finished 2-10, and winless in conference play.

The Hoosiers have shown signs of life this season at 3-2, including a win over upstart Illinois to begin the year. But following a two-touchdown loss to a reeling Nebraska team last week, hope is dwindling surrounding the future of the program, and Allen as its leader.

When speaking to the media, Allen spoke just one sentence about the Michigan Wolverines and kept everything else focused on their internal problems:

“Excited about this weekend, great opportunity for our program with the Michigan Wolverines coming for Homecoming and with the Big Noon Kickoff being here, a lot of guys excited about that as well,” he said.

Indiana’s offense has struggled this season, currently ranked No. 10 in the conference, but Allen is excited about freshman running back Jaylin Lucas’ potential and is looking to expand his role moving forward.

“Jaylin Lucas is a guy that we need to, want to, and expect to get him the ball more,” Allen said. “He will be returning kicks for us now more consistently, just try to get him more touches.”

While Allen is searching for creative ways to get the talented freshman the ball, one of the biggest issues plaguing the Hoosiers is their offensive line. Currently, Indiana is dead last in sacks allowed and tied for No. 11 for tackles for loss allowed in the Big Ten.

Despite this, Allen is optimistic in the direction the unit is trending while the Hoosiers continue to rotate and search for their best five linemen, saying, “We played better this week than we did the week before.”

Oddly enough when addressing lingering team issues, Allen harped on the idea of complimentary football, but indirectly threw his special teams and defense under the bus when sticking up for his offense.

“Even offensively, our special teams and defense at times hasn’t helped them,” he said.

Overall, Allen kept his focus internal. “Stay the course,” was the unofficial theme of his press conference. With two Big Ten coaches already fired this season (Scott Frost at Nebraska, Paul Chryst at Wisconsin) and Allen being the unofficial favorite to be the next, he better hope that course will take them back to the highs of 2020.