TOM ALLEN: Just happy with our guys being able to come back and clean some things up from last week. I thought that they were able to run the football better, tackle better. Execution was solid on both sides of the ball. I think especially on defense they didn’t give them a lot of room to work. A lot of pressure on them and kind of just suffocated them a little bit there. So that’s a positive thing. And the special teams continued to be very consistent, which was a good for the Hoosiers. Just, I thought too many penalties. Didn’t really like that. I thought we were a little sloppy in some of those, so we got to get that cleaned up. But took care of business like we were supposed to and that’s what good. But that was our challenge. Play to our standard and whatever happens, make sure that we’re getting better from the week before. So we’ll obviously watch the film and figure out what we need to get cleaned up to get ready for week number three. Questions?
Q. You mentioned the penalties. Wanting to respect Eastern Illinois. Do you feel like, though, this game was well-timed in terms of being able to take some of the stuff you really needed to get cleaned up out of Ball State and work on it in a setting like this where you were always in control and the score was always pretty comfortable, before obviously next week and then as you roll into Big-Ten play?
TOM ALLEN: I agree. I think we all know what is coming. So I think to be able to have a game like this after week one and be able to address the things that we addressed and to see them improved upon, which is the key, that was real important for us. And obviously every game matters and their kids played hard and our kids executed well. So a lot of guys got involved, which I thought was also very important. And I liked the fact that we got to get a lot of guys touches on offense and a lot of different guys scored and a lot of guys, different guys made tackles and were involved defensively on special teams and offense as well. So, yeah, I think the timing for it is good for us and now we just got to keep moving.
Q. I know people are going to talk about the opponent, but the bottom line is at the end of the day you held this team to barely over a hundred yards. I think they maybe got one or two plays into your territory, really dominated defensively. How pleasing with as that for you?
TOM ALLEN: Well, bottom line is this: They averaged over 30 points a game last year. Went down to Arkansas in the SEC and scored over 20 points against them at their place. So been doing this a long time. I mean, it’s hard to shut somebody out. I don’t really care who it is. And so it is what it is. We play who is scheduled on our schedule and, just like I’ve always said, and don’t take anything for granted. And so I just — it was just a good, solid consistent performance is what I would categorize it. I’m not going to make it anything more than what it was. But you’re playing a football game and you got to execute. And so I’ve been in part of those games when they become very, very frustrating, when you don’t execute and things don’t go the way you want them to and you leave there very frustrated by the way you perform because you weren’t focused and you weren’t executing to the standard that you’ve established for your program. So to me, once again, I’m not going to overreact about the outcome. And the fact is that every win is important and we got better from last week, so we just got to continue that climb and make progress from week two to week three.
Q. How did you feel about the running game and did you see enough improvement there?
TOM ALLEN: It was better. I haven’t even looked at the numbers yet but just from watching it you could tell there was quite a bit of a difference. But at the same time we got to continue work it. And I mean, we’re still kind of going through and you don’t have a lot of body work on certain people and what they’re going to do, what they jump in and out of it. But I thought there was a better push that we need to get. And the backs ran hard and we just got to keep working on that. To me it’s always going to be a big deal. You got to run the football and you got to stop it on defense. So that’s a huge priority for us.
Q. He only had one carry but Cole Gest had a touchdown on that carry. He’s coming back from a second season-ending injury of his career. What did you think of how he’s been able to come back with a lot more competition?
TOM ALLEN: There’s no question. There’s several guys in that room that can do something with the football when they have it in their hands. And so, and he’s one of those guys. He’s a very talented young man. And so just being able for him to get back a hundred percent and feel confident in his knee and where he is at. We’re going to need everybody. We understand that and so he’s got to continue to get more and more comfortable with what he’s doing in his role. And as he catches the ball out of the back field and executes the calls and the blitz pickups and all the things he has to do at his position. So those guys are obviously fighting and competing for touches and opportunities and he’s one of them.
Q. With the way the game unfolded, a lot of guys got to see some action today. But also Michael didn’t get as many reps. Would you rather see a game where you actually played more going in like next week?
TOM ALLEN: Just felt like it was real important to get Peyton some snaps this year because as we get into Big-10 play I don’t want his first live go to be in that kind of environment. Even those he’s played quite a bit. So I thought that was important to get him comfortable and it’s a new system for him too, even though he’s been here. So I just think that Michael did his job and we felt comfortable where he was at and he got a whole game under his belt and half of this game. And so I just want to keep everybody fresh and the less hits, the better. So even with Steve, I was telling the guys, get No. 8 out of the game. But it’s just a matter of just trying to get everybody comfortable and ready because we know it’s go time here real fast.
Q. You seemed to set the tone early both with his running and —
TOM ALLEN: Yeah, it was a heck of a catch, heck of a run. Both plays were. So our sideline fed off of it and just the effort he gave on that run, he just was not going to be denied, he was not going to go down. It really hurt us last year. I can’t really say that enough. So having him back healthy making that kind of play that he made on a big third down or whatever it was, but just those plays that just spark your offense it changes everything. So I just think that he’s a guy that even though he’s not very big, he’s strong and he’s got a ton of grit and he’s tougher than nails. That’s the kind of guy that we love here and he’s got a lot of fire in him too. But he’s definitely one of our playmakers on offense. He needs to just keep getting better.
Q. I know it’s obviously not, you can’t judge it perfectly but I think it’s 15 tackles for loss from your defensive front these first two weeks, is at least as comfortable as you can be with it heading into Ohio State next weekend? Given maybe what you didn’t know for sure about their front four?
TOM ALLEN: I think so. Yeah, there’s no doubt. We all know that Ohio State looks a lot different up front than the last two weeks, so I’m fully aware of that. But I, like anything else, you have to start getting all these guys. If you weren’t getting those plays against these first two opponents you would be pretty concerned right now. So I think the bottom line is that we’re seeing the progress, now you got to go do it against a Top-5 team. So but, I mean, obviously we did it these last couple weeks. Got to keep working hard. The scheme is what we do. It’s what we believe in and I just thought we played with a lot more confidence today. I just wanted our guys to feel that and to get off the field on those three and outs. I don’t know how many we had, but our third downs, whatever they were, they didn’t convert many on third downs and that’s huge. To me it’s all about third downs. The one negative, we didn’t get a takeaway. So we broke that streak that we had going. But if we could catch, we would have probably had that one that bounced off, I think, three different guys. I was going to jump out there myself and catch it, but that was our one for sure chance to get one. But, hey, they, those come in bunches. But the kids are playing hard, our defense is being disruptive, getting sacks and tackles for loss and that’s what we want to be doing. We want to be able to play outside the line of scrimmage of our opponents. And so we’re not the biggest team on defense but we got good discipline and speed and we want that to be our strength.
Q. The defensive front, guys really reacted today. James Head, last year you guys started him at the bowl position, you moved him over and he’s playing better this year. How nice is it to have that guy with that kind of ability who can flip-flop and play on either side of the line?
TOM ALLEN: It’s important because that, the — anytime you got a guy that’s versatile, that helps you. And that, if somebody gets injured you can flip him over there, and in certain positions guys are kind of locked in, but skillset wise, but he’s got enough at the weak side in, he’s got enough size and mass to play to the strong side as well, and that gives us a great advantage for him. And we have kind of modified some things in the system to where we’ve kind of allowed a guy to play both positions easier, but he — not all of them can do it. So he’s definitely one of those and he needs to keep elevating his play.
Q. You said you wanted to get him some reps. Was there any thought to keep Penix in at the end of the first, with the possible two minute, just do get him loosened up?
TOM ALLEN: No, because I wanted, I felt like last week we had two minute situations that we executed really well in that game. And to have Peyton in there doing one with this group, with this offense, with the new offensive coordinator, I thought it was a good time to get him in. It was obviously a short drive. As a matter of fact, I was yelling for Ronnie to get out of bounds. And then when I realized he was probably going to score, I’m like, no, stay in bounds, go score. So it was like, yes, yes, yes, no, no, no. But, so yeah, obviously it was much quicker than we expected, but we scored a touchdown. But that was the thought process there, was to get him the chance to get in the game. He’s done it in practice, he’s done it in the past, but just trying to get both guys ready to roll.
Q. A lot guys saw the field for the first time today. Jack Tuttle took his first snaps at quarterback. Charles Campbell had that tremendous kick of 48 yards. Sampson James getting into the end zone as well. I guess what is it like for you to see a lot of these kind of new guys being able to get their first time and see them getting out and what did you like?
TOM ALLEN: It’s pretty cool. I hugged Sampson and said, hey, congrats on your first touchdown, many more to come. And the same with Charles. He kicked a 48-yard field goal in his first field goal with us and it was a little low but it was still a great, great kick. That’s a tough one and we got him a chance. Our goal was saying, we’re saying, hey, let’s at least get an extra point or two for him to kick. He’s already red-shirted, so at this point that’s in the past. And so having two good kickers, you’re going to need all of them. And so he’s still young, but just to have him have a chance to go do that and, you know, all these young guys out there for the first time and you just are proud of them. You recruit them, you get to know them really well, you know their families, and they come here to make plays. And there’s some guys we intentionally didn’t play because we’re trying to use their four games at the right time. So there’s some freshmen that some may have thought should or could have played or why didn’t they play. Well, that was by design. We had to talk to those guys and make sure they understood, they knew the big picture of what we were trying to do. We’re just trying to maximize those four games at the right time for certain guys. So that’s where some that may might have not, would question maybe why they didn’t get in there, that was the reason.
Q. Was there anything that came out positive or negative about playing this opponent right before the Ohio State game?
TOM ALLEN: Oh, the positive would just be that just to be able to get a rhythm of confidence from a week one opponent and trying to clean those things up like we already started to with this one, but the negative is you’re not going against a bigger team, it’s a big difference in a lot of ways so, but, hey, we have gone against Ohio State before, we went from there to now game three, so it is what it is. I will continue to say, I don’t make the schedule, we adapt to what we get and who we’re supposed to play next, so the Buckeyes are coming to town.