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IU football: News and notes from Tom Allen’s weekly Monday press conference — Oct. 12

Indiana head football coach Tom Allen gave his weekly Monday press conference today.

Here are some noteworthy items from Allen and the program with the 2020 season less than two weeks away.

IU opens the season on Oct. 24 at home against Penn State at 3:30 p.m. ET in Bloomington.  The game will be televised on FS1.

Exceptional COVID-19 test results

Indiana has conducted daily antigen testing since Sept. 17 and it currently has no active COVID-19 cases.

In total, the program has conducted 3,016 tests and has seen 4 positive results.  The positives involved two student athletes and two student workers.

Allen’s message to the team has been for the players to make smart choices when they are away from the facility.

“We don’t sleep in the stadium,” Allen said.  “We talked about the choices you have to make as a family and who you choose to be around away from here.  We have to make some sacrifices.”

Freshman OL Khalil Benson lost for the season

The depth on the offensive line took a hit as true freshman Khalil Benson suffered an ACL injury and is out for the season.

Benson committed to IU in February as a three-star recruit and the No. 735 overall player in the country according to the 247Sports Composite.

The 6-foot-6 and 332 pound Southaven, Miss. product was first team all-state in Mississippi as a senior at Eddie Stevenson High School.

The injury occurred at practice last week.

“I hate that for him.  Awesome young man.  We’ve got very big plans for him and that will not change,” Allen said.

Pumping in crowd noise

If you saw this video from Saturday’s scrimmage released by the school, you might have noticed crowd noise in an empty Memorial Stadium.

Overall, the second scrimmage had much more of a game day feel.

“We had officials there which was very good,” Allen said.

With no fans permitted at Big Ten games this season, IU did indeed pump noise through its speakers at the stadium.

“We simulated crowd noise, which we are expecting to be able to have through our loud speaker system along with every setting that we will be in as well,” Allen said.

Tackling takes a step back

A common theme throughout the early college football season has been poor tackling.

Allen and defensive coordinator Kane Wommack indicated that the team tackled very well at the first scrimmage, but things weren’t as promising at scrimmage number two on Saturday.

The scrimmage involved a lot more repetitions, which might have played a role.

“I don’t think we tackled as well on Saturday,” Allen said.  “Stamina, conditioning, fatigue sets in.”

Allen also noted that he would give the edge to the offense for the overall scrimmage, and there were more penalties than the first scrimmage, mainly by the defense.

Scrimmage stand-outs / Guard competition

Allen pointed to young receivers Jacolby Hewitt, Luke Shayotivich, David Baker and Javon Swinton as stand-outs over the last week, along with center Harry Crider.

One of the better competitions for a starting job is at guard.

Dylan Powell, Mackenzie Nworah and Michael Katic are all battling for the first team spot.

“They are all going to play but I like the way they are competing right now,” Allen said.

On the defensive end, Allen mentioned safety Devon Matthews, linebacker Aaron Casey and defensive end Jovan Swann as players that caught his eye.

Allen expanded on Swann, a graduate transfer from Stanford.

“I’ve really seen him this last week increase his production and increase his execution and understanding of what we’re trying to do with him.  Really encouraged by that,” Allen said.

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