Nice expectations | Indiana College Sports activities
INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana soccer coach Tom Allen set the bar during his opening comments on the Big Ten soccer media on Friday morning.
Allen spoke of his excitement at being at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Big Ten Championship on December 4th.
“I love being in this place,” said Allen. “I love Lucas Oil Stadium. Our goal is to end our season here on December 4th. “
When Allen first became head coach of the IU four years ago in 2017, this proclamation would have been viewed as wishful thinking. But they were yesterday’s Hoosiers. After a 6-2 season and the most Big Ten wins since 1987, Indiana coaches and players believe they can battle for their first Big Ten title since 1967 and eventually win it when John Pont brushed the sidelines .
“I want our team to act out the belief that we can do what we can do when I got here, which is win a Big Ten championship,” said Allen. “I understand that this is a challenging goal. I understand a lot of people disagreed with me when I said that with our time, with this program, that’s what we’re going to do. We recruited a team and built a team to believe that. “
Allen said this was the first offseason he’d allowed his team to abandon drills with “Big Ten Champs” since taking over the program in 2017.
“I had heard us before (as a defensive coordinator in 2016) and I just felt like they were empty words and I didn’t feel that those words were believed,” said Allen. “I just had the feeling that it was more negative than positive …
“For me that is the vision and the attitude we need to have that we influence this opportunity through our daily actions, that is the focus. And then the courage, persistence, and passion to overcome all of these obstacles that you know will be along the way, even through a long two and a half week fall camp and a long difficult Big Ten season. That is clearly the goal. “
For IU players, the boast was evident throughout the Friday afternoon event when returning All Big Ten quarterback Michael Penix Jr. and receiver Ty Fryfogle were dressed in European cut suits and adorned various chains. It was Fryfogle who persuaded Penix to buy a gold chain with a goat in the middle.
“I just told him, ‘you’re the GOAT,’ you have to get this necklace because one day you will fit that description,” Fryfogle said, referring to the acronym Greatest Of All Time.
Penix, who finished as the Big Ten best last season at 274.2 yards per game, said he was on track to kick off the season opener in Iowa on September 4. Managing expectations, Penix said, will be one of the keys to getting into the 2021 season.
“Things don’t always last forever,” said Penix. “We have to come back this year with the same mentality. We have to come out, make sure we’re working extremely hard this year to be successful this year, and we’ve been doing that all summer. “
IU junior linebacker Micah McFadden, the captain of a defense that returns nine starters, said the team’s maturity will allow him to stay focused. Eliminated with a cruciate ligament rupture last season, senior defensive back Marcelino Ball is another key defensive player who is expected to take the lead in what became the Big Ten in both interceptions (17) and in last season also cited in Sacks (25).
“For us it’s just about being consistent in our preparation and not standing too far in front of ourselves, who we play against and what opponents we have to face,” said McFadden. “But do what we can, control the controllable things and do our best every week.”
Allen has set various improvement goals in all three phases, including giving up less explosive defense games, more performance from the running game, and better returns for specialty teams. The addition of multiple transfers on either side of the ball including defensive lineman Ryder Anderson (Ole Miss), defensive lineman Jaren Handy (Auburn), running back Stephen Carr (USC) and wide receiver / kick returner DJ Matthews (Florida State) could add up in all help these areas.
“Everyone has to stand up,” said Allen. “You want to do something special, you want to do something you haven’t done in 60 years, you’d better get everyone to improve their game.”