After last week’s rough performance, Tom Allen set clear expectations for his Indiana football team this week.
The Hoosiers got to 2-2 with a win over Akron, but they were outplayed by an inferior MAC team. After that quadruple-overtime escape, Allen expressed disappointment in the focus his team showed in the week leading up to the game. He felt his team was not properly respecting its opponent.
And so Allen, at Monday’s press conference, said he expected much stronger focus in practice this week as IU gets ready to take on Maryland.
“What I expect is a very highly focused, very intense, best week of practice of the season this week,” Allen said. “I really expect us to have a really, really good week of practice, a physical, high energy, great focus, and great attention to the execution of the game plan.”
On Thursday’s media availability on Zoom, Allen said he’s been pleased with what he’s seen from his squad this week.
“We’ve had a good week of preparation, as we prepare to head off tomorrow to face a very good Maryland football team,” Allen said. “Like the focus of our guys and the preparation that they’ve continued to put in.”
Saturday’s game is Indiana’s first true road game of the season. The Hoosiers played Louisville at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, so they’ve experienced a pregame buildup and routine away from Bloomington already. But that environment was a neutral site game, with a sizable IU contingent in the crowd.
Indiana will see a less favorable atmosphere this week at SECU Stadium in College Park, Md.
“I look forward to road trips,” Allen said on Monday. “I know it’s obviously challenging to play on the road. You’ve got the noise level of different stadiums that becomes a variable and a factor for offenses on the road and to be able to communicate effectively. So just going to do a great job preparing for that and handling that.”
Redshirt freshman quarterback Tayven Jackson took some steps back against the Zips in his second game as Indiana’s starting quarterback. His teammates didn’t make life easier for him, with some drops by receivers and a lot of struggles by the offensive line. But Jackson left a lot on the field. He went 11 for 26 with a touchdown and an interception, and he finished at -19 rushing yards on six attempts.
Allen, along with many of Jackson’s teammates, has touted the redshirt freshman’s leadership ability since he was named IU’s starter ahead of the Louisville game. Jackson, on Monday, said he talked with each of the other offensive position groups in the day after the Akron game about what went wrong and how they can move on.
Allen said Jackson responded to the bad outing the way he wanted, and has set the tone in practice.
“As a quarterback practices, so practices the team, in a lot of ways, in terms of just being able to execute things,” Allen said. “He didn’t have his best performance, and he knows that. And he takes ownership for that, just like I have to take ownership for the whole team. Bottom line is, he’s young and growing, and I’ve been encouraged by his ability to lead, and I expect that to continue to grow each and every week, as he gets older and more confident in himself and what we’re doing and what he’s doing.”