Photo credit - IU Athletics

IU football videos: Scenes from day one at fall camp | Dolson and Allen speak with media

Thursday marked day one for Indiana’s 2020 football fall camp.

Below are three videos from the day, including scenes from the field, and press conferences with head coach Tom Allen and Director of Athletics Scott Dolson.

If you prefer to read transcripts of the Allen and Dolson press conferences, you can find those further below.

See also:  The Big Ten releases the updated 2020 football schedule

Video credits – IU Athletics

Head Coach Tom Allen

ALLEN: Good morning, everyone. Feels weird not having you guys all in here, but I guess this is the new normal for what we got to do. We’ll knock it out, here, just like we always would, but really excited to get back today. It was great to get back on the field with our team. We had a chance to have these walk-throughs the last several days, which was good leading up to fall camp, but it’s nothing like getting out there where you have all your equipment at your disposal and just helmets on. A lot of good energy and effort. I loved the focus of our guys. I really felt like all those walk-through days that we just came off of, even though we didn’t get the full amount of them because of having our team quarantined. It was still very, very evident that those reps and just all the organizational pieces with that allowed us to have a much crisper, sharper practice number one. So, really encouraged by that. Feel like that’s something that helped us have a better day today. Really need to get the guys out there, getting them flying around, catching balls and tagging off at full speed, defensively pursuing the football. A lot of positive things. Really good energy. Love our team. Just got a lot of really hungry guys that really enjoy being around each other. That’s probably been the biggest challenge of this whole time is just being apart. They really do enjoy being with each other and hanging out together. That’s been something that’s really, I think has been hard, hard these last several months. Really trying to do everything we can to protect our guys. The way we practice, the structure, the organization, the field use, keeping everybody spread out, doing a lot more small, smaller groups, more isolated, individual things as much as we can. Then at the same time when we do come together just trying to maximize our field space. Utilizing all the rules, protocols we have to follow for certain number of guys either in a room or on a field or in a facility and that makes it very challenging. But we’ve spent hours, hours and hours planning practice. We’ve had to scrap certain plans, had to redo plans. Just really been a very interesting set of weeks leading up to all of this. Feels great to be back and so we’ll learn something more every single day to allow us to be more effective on the field. Helmets on when we practice tomorrow and we’ll put pads on here day number three. Anybody’s got questions, let’s get started.

Q. On your message to the team with all the uncertainties still in the air including games…
ALLEN: Well, that’s a great question because, yeah, it (2020 Big Ten schedule) came out yesterday morning. We were on a Big Ten call when they gave it to us. That was the first time I had seen it, so I was kind of going through real quickly trying to get it all written down. I knew I was eventually going to get a copy of it, but I was just trying to get it in my head about the flow of the season. I think the thing that sticks out to me is two things. Number one, emphasize the flexibility of the schedule. As you mentioned, there’s a lot of uncertainty about it. You can say, “Yeah, we’re playing this team on this certain date.” We had a Zoom meeting last night with all our parents to just talk about the Big Ten’s protocols that they just put out before fall camp and the season and everything that we’re going to be doing. I just wanted to be able to get in front of them. We talked about, had a lot of questions about the season itself and just different things that pertained to that. Here’s been the message and that was to our team today. We’re going to focus on one thing and that’s today. I can’t control tomorrow. I never have been able to control tomorrow, but more than ever we have to focus on today. Yeah, we’re going to have a plan but man, we had a lot of plans going into all this. Most of those plans have been scrapped. So, it’s going to focus on the short term of today. We’ll have a plan for tomorrow schedule-wise for sure, but we’re not going to go much further than that. I challenge our players, we’re going to control what we can control. We have no control whatsoever on what happens across this country, what happens other places, but we can control our mindset, the way that we attack every single day. Our one word for 2020 is “Relentless.” So, we’re going to relentlessly attack today and control the things that we can control, which is our focus, our effort and the way that we prepare. As the staff, it’s keeping our players safe and it’s getting them prepared. That’s the message and it’s focused on a daily focus of that and not try to go beyond it because if you do, you get into a lot of what-ifs and a lot of different scenarios that we probably waste a lot of energy trying to figure out right now. I know that’s not always comforting to not know where you’re going to be, what you’re going to be doing at certain dates, but it’s reality and I think we’ve all been through this long enough to know that that’s kind of what we’ve gotten used to in some ways. From a schedule perspective, it’s been put out there. That was good. It was good to know kind of even just the progression and the flow, but our job right now is to focus on today and get our team prepared.

Q. On the position changes…
ALLEN: Well as far as those two individuals (David Ellis and Gavin McCabe), still working David at running back because, like you said, the spring was cut short. We know what he can do at receiver. He’s just one of those guys you want to get the ball to. Getting the reps at running back, I thought, was really important during spring and then allowing him to continue to develop in that area. You’ll see him in both spots for sure and obviously on special teams as a return man. I feel like that that’s something that we’ll continue to utilize him both as a running back and as a receiver. Then in regards to Gavin McCabe, yes, he’s full time on offense. Working hard. Getting bigger and stronger. Really excited about his growth there. Just needs reps. That was where he really needed the spring. It was unfortunate for him for sure at that position, but everybody else on the team, yeah, we made some positional moves within the defense and those have all pretty much stayed true to what we did during spring football. Once again there’s a lot of versatility back there. You know, Jamar Johnson can play really all three safety positions and that’s really important for us. Raheem Layne is at safety right now. We know he can play corner. That versatility and flexibility is going to be really, really important. Bryant Fitzgerald, same thing. He can play multiple positions in the secondary. That’s going to be a big priority for us to maximize the flexibility of our guys skill sets and allow us to put the best guys on the field.

Q. On your biggest concerns between now and your first game…
ALLEN: Well I would just say, you talk about all the time when you’re challenging your players about how you can’t shape the game. What does that mean? That means you can’t take shortcuts. You have to prepare a certain way to play. Well that means for getting ready to play your season and so the things that we’ve missed, you can’t just speed that up and say “Okay, well we didn’t get to do all this.” You have to make adjustments. For me, the challenge is and the balance is how do you maximize reps but also do a really, really good job of paying attention to the bodies of your players. So, we started today. One huge blessing, I think, for us is the fact that we got Aaron Wellman. He’s coming straight from the NFL. He was a part of a committee that studied the last five years of training camps and how you prevent injuries, how you get your teammate to peak performance during that time, how you maximize all those things. His expertise in that area has already been tremendously helpful and I’m going to really rely on him heavily to make sure because that’s a big piece of getting your team physically ready to play. I think the mental piece, I feel good about that. You know one thing we were able to do in the time away with the Zoom meetings and I thought they were extremely effective in allowing our players to really maximize their knowledge of our systems. Offense, defense and special teams, especially offense and defense. They even did a lot of good work on special teams, especially later in that time period, but you can’t speed up the physical part. So, I just think the physical preparation, getting our guys bodies right, the timing that you have lost by not having spring practices in the passing game, I think that’s big. Weren’t able to throw. I did not do 7-on-7s the entire summer. We usually have player practices all summer long. Did not have one of those. We’re not allowed to. Those are the challenges, the timing that you have to have, the reps that you need, the balancing those reps with protecting your players and not having those nagging and frustrating soft tissue injuries that could often limit you. Being able to utilize the wisdom and the experience of Aaron Wellman from a physical perspective and matching that up with schematically helping our guys get the reps that they need to be ready to play, that’s the biggest challenge.

Q. On COVID-19 potentially affecting redshirts and walk-ons usage…
ALLEN: From a physical perspective from the health part, it’s the biggest challenge because you kind of touched on some key points. First of all, we’ve kind of got nearly good at the lingo of how you identify these different components, you know, from when a person tests positive. We have certain protocols for them. They get put in isolation, but then you have all those that are in close contact with them and then how the CDC defines that, how the NCAA defines that. Which, basically we follow the CDC. That is absolutely what we’re going to do and then the contact tracing component when we try to figure out who did he have contact with. He as in the person who tested positive. Who did he have contact with that puts them at risk? So, then those individuals get put in a 14-day quarantine like you mentioned. And so, we’ve experienced that first hand in a very, very widespread way throughout the six weeks we were here in the summertime. So, how does that look during the season? That’s kind of a million-dollar question. How did they, the local health group that decides that contact-tracing component once an individual tests positive, it’s who does he also pull out because they were in close contact, whether that’s a roommate or somebody you hung out with. That’s been the issue. It’s what has happened away from the facility. Things have not happened here and they try and go back and target where the contact occurred and it’s been off campus. That was the fear from the very beginning. We feel really good about what we can do when they’re with us. What do they do when they’re not with us? That to me is now that you start practicing and you’re tackling guys because all these things are going on and we weren’t blocking anybody, we weren’t tackling anybody. We still haven’t done that. All the walk-throughs that we had at the end of the summer here were that. There was no physical contact. Even today’s practice there’s no tackling, there’s no blocking yet. It’s closer to that because you’re getting your hands-on people now that we have helmets on, we’re going at practice number one, but we still haven’t tackled guys and still haven’t had that so that’s just a big challenge I think for every team right now. NFL’s dealing with all of it. We’re all dealing with it as a highly, high contact sport that football is. That’s where everyone is trying to figure this all out. We don’t have all the answers for that yet. We obviously will follow protocols and guidelines medically that CDC sets out and then the NCAA, floats down to the Big Ten and then we do everything we can do within the guidelines at the local level to be able to do a great job of keeping our guys safe? So, and I know that’s kind of a long answer because it’s not simple at all and we’re trying to figure it out. We’ve never had this situation before. We’re trying to go through and say, “How do you do, how do you play this sport?” It is going to affect the way we practice. There’s going to be, I think, less tackling in practice. We’ve got to use sleds a lot. We’ve got to use dummies a lot. We got to do a lot of things that are going to help us. Those things that affect how we practice, I see us doing more walk-throughs. I see us doing less live-go’s together. We’re going to have to maximize those kinds of things to prepare our football team to be able to play and stay healthy throughout the season. But, once again, you got to balance that with getting your body ready to play Big Ten games, which is hard to do physically. That continues to be our objective and challenge and all that wrapped up into one to try to figure this all out.

Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Scott Dolson

DOLSON: Thanks to all of you for joining us today. I hope all of you are healthy, and your families are safe, and again appreciate you being here. But I’ll just make, a couple just brief comments and as Jeff said definitely open it up for questions. I want to start, I just want to thank Fred, Fred Glass. This is the first time I’ve kind of met with you post-July 1. I just want to thank him. He was awesome in the transition, and I couldn’t have had a better situation in taking this over in working so closely with Fred. And he’ll continue to be a tremendous advisor and close friend obviously. Basically since, I was thinking about this the other day, since I took over, or since actually I was named on March 17, I’ve participated in close to 100 meetings with my fellow ADs in the Big Ten, along with Commissioner Warren and several of the Big Ten staff. To me that was just interesting as I started thinking back about that. So right after I was named, Fred and I were on the meetings together, and then obviously July 1 since that point it’s just been me. In the typical normal time, the athletic directors meet about four times a year. And so, I started thinking in four months, or four and a half months, I’ve basically had 25 years worth of meetings with my Big Ten colleagues. Just wanted to mention that because, you know I hate that we have to meet, hate that we’re in this situation, but it’s been extremely beneficial to me. I’ve been so impressed with the Big Ten, with Commissioner Warren, with my colleagues and just the respect that we have for each other, that they have, and the collaboration, and just the values of the Big Ten. So that’s been a real, sort of silver lining, which again I hate that we have to meet. I just actually got off a call. It’s every morning at eight o’clock, just hung up, and it’s just been a really, really big deal to be in that group and to listen and gives me confidence moving forward just being a part of that group. I said this before, I said this maybe shortly after I took over, Mike Bobinski at Purdue, not to single people out, but he’s been terrific. We talk regularly and it just means a lot to have that ability to confide, and seek advice, and to go back and forth, so he’s been terrific. An example earlier this week, Josh Whitman from Illinois texted me and helped me out of a situation. So again, not to belabor that but I just think, I think that’s the point that not a lot of fans would see because there’s so much intense competition, which we love in the Big Ten, but the respect and the working together is really, really great. Also wanted to mention our medical advisory group. Dr. Larry Rink, Dr. Tom Hrisomalos, Dr. Andy Hipskind is our CMO. You know, I think Fred and I said from the very beginning, we can’t eliminate the risk but we can mitigate it as best as possible by getting the best medical experts around us, and the entire medical team has just been fantastic, but the medical advisory group and has really, really been, they’re tirelessly working with us to help us through this situation. I also want to mention our trainers and really the rest of our medical staff. Things have just sort of been on this roller coaster and the medical staff has just been tremendous in that, working tirelessly to help us through this crisis, so I just want to really single them out in how great they’ve been. Finally, I guess before we open it for questions, I also just wanted to specifically thank our coaches, our staff, most importantly our student-athletes, specifically for their patience and understanding. If you ask me what the biggest challenge has been so far, it’s just the lack of clarity. It’s tough because everybody wants answers. We have so many meetings just like this, Zoom calls and for me as a leader you want to provide clarity, you want to provide direction, you want to answer questions and it’s one of the biggest, if not the biggest challenge is just not being able to take big steps. We have to take baby steps, one at a time, but for the most part, again I just can’t thank enough our staff and our coaches and student-athletes. It’s really been gratifying to see how they’ve reacted and the openness and communication we’ve had trying to work through this. So, with that I’ll open it up for questions.

Q. On financial assistance for IU…
DOLSON: Right now, all of our conversations that I’ve had, which are frequent, have been with our university CFO and really working really closely with him. We did that prior to Fred’s departure July 1. Most of you read about the initial phase one actions we took and cutting 10 percent out of our budget, and what we’ve tried to do is really put together all kinds of different contingency plans in not knowing exactly which way we’re going to pivot, but be ready for all different kinds of scenarios. And the partnership on campus and in working through everything with our CFO, he’s been really, really helpful. I guess specifically to your question we haven’t gotten into exactly which direction we’re going to go or anything outside of the university at this point. But the collaboration with the university’s been really, really strong.

Q. On if testing will be a financial burden on IU…
DOLSON: To be totally candid with you, haven’t really even added it up at this point. It’s a really good question and I don’t want you to think that’s being irresponsible, but what we’ve done in terms of any of our expenses related to COVID preparations, or PPE, or testing, everything, we are doing what we feel is the right thing to do. We’re certainly, our internal CFO is tracking on everything, but it’s such a fluid situation that I’m not exactly sure where the cost is on that at this point yet. We’ve got really two different avenues that we’re working on in terms of testing. We’re working in close connection with the university and from their perspective in some of the gateway surveillance that they’ve acquired through third party. And then also the Big Ten level, like Commissioner Warren, the announcement yesterday, conference wide we’re accessing. Hopefully when we’re able to start that we’ll all be using the same testing across the conference as well, but in terms of the exact cost on that I just don’t have that yet.

Q. On his biggest worry or concern…
DOLSON: For sure it’s health and safety. For sure, just want to make certain that as I said when I started out, that we can’t, we know we can’t eliminate the risk. We know it’s not an athletic virus, we know it’s everywhere. But to try and make certain that we can mitigate it as best as possible and control what we can control. The challenge is that, you know, extremely confident in everything we’ve done internally and I commend everyone that’s put together our plans and worked collaboratively with the Big Ten and on our campus, but at the same time our student-athletes are here two hours a day and so there’s so many things that we can’t control. We really work well with them and have a lot of dialogue in making certain that it’s a commitment, it’s a partnership that we work together on, but we can only do so much on our end here, and certainly a partnership is really important. So, no question it’s just the health and safety and just trying to control everything we can control.

Q. On confidence that football will be played and when basketball will start…
DOLSON: I’d say right now, and I thought Commissioner Warren did a great job of answering some of those questions yesterday, you know extremely hopeful and I feel like we took a nice step yesterday, but to be honest with you, to be totally candid, I feel like we’re day-to-day. And I feel like, back to what I said, one of our biggest challenges in our communication is providing clarity. The key thing for us is that we don’t get out ahead of ourselves and that we make certain that we’re really deliberate. We’re taking everything into account every day. The medical advice, making certain that we’re following what’s happening in our localities, in our states, across the country, and really just trying to make certain that we’ve got a plan, we’re committed. You saw the schedule yesterday. We’re hopeful but just, for me, I’m just really thinking almost more day-to-day. As it relates to basketball, we’ve had, I’ve had lots of long talks with Archie, and by the way our coaches have just been really great in being, you’d think at times that maybe coaches are just champing at the bit saying hey we just got to get this done, we got to get out there, we’ve got to make certain we’re practicing just like you said, when are we going to play, but our coaches have really been, hey we’ve got to do this right. If it takes more time, it takes more time. Like I said, I’ve had long talks with Archie about that, and we’re talking. We started with the fall sports at the Big Ten level and we’ve certainly talked about basketball, but we really haven’t gotten to the level where we really can make a, I can give you a good feel for where’s that’s going to be. We just need to again take baby steps where we are right now.

Q. On fans being in the stands for football…
DOLSON: Great question. We’ve been working on contingency plans for attendance really for months. In fact, our Ticket Manager, his name is Mike Osmundson, and he is a numbers cruncher. He’s really terrific and I can’t tell you how many different scenarios we’ve put together. At one point we had a discussion, should we go ahead and put something out there because again, we want to provide clarity, we want our season ticket holders, our fans to understand and know what our plan is and what we’re thinking. But we really took the strategy, which I think was the right way for us to go, was to really take our time. We’ve got lots of different, I mean I can’t tell you how many different plans we have. What we want to do is really take as much time as we can. We want to wait until the last minute and really base those decisions on where everything is locally, where we are as a university, where we are as a state and then release that plan at that point. I’m confident that we’re open to, or will have contingency plans for just about any scenario out there, not only just fans in attendance, but just all of our social distancing protocols, and how would you serve concession stand food in a social distancing situation, all the different, from tailgating, to parking and there’s different scenarios in each one of those. So, I’m proud of our staff and all the contingencies we’ve put together, worked months on them. Obviously, we’re close because you can see where the schedule came out yesterday, but I just feel it’s prudent to just wait because I wouldn’t just want to put something out there and three days later something changes and say well now it’s this. So hopefully we put it out there, at least for the first few games it’ll be whatever it’ll be, but we’ll also say that that could change throughout the season as well.

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