Video and Transcript: IU football’s Tom Allen on national signing day

Watch as IU football head coach Tom Allen takes questions on national signing day 2022.

Allen discussed the program’s additions since the early signing day in December and then took some questions about the state of the program.

Indiana announced class of 2022 defensive lineman J’Mari Monette after the press conference.

The Hoosiers begin spring practice on March 5.

National Signing Day Press Conference

COACH ALLEN: First December signing was the majority of our guys which was expected. So Brendan Sorsby has officially joined our football team, quarterback from Lake Dallas, Texas. And really excited about what he brings. And I’ll tell you he’s a big young man that has tremendous athleticism and arm talent and the ability. I think, the upside is really, really high for him. And has not played the position as many years as a lot of guys that have that are in his recruiting class here.

So I think that’s the big reason why he was evaluated a little later in the process, but at the same time really feel really excited about what he will bring to our program and leadership and his athleticism and the ability for him to be able to make all the throws, and then be able to create things with his legs when it calls for that. Very excited for Brendan.

For us, also last time we had the signing day press conference in December we’ve added some guys to our roster that I’d like to make sure we talk about.

Connor Bazelak, quarterback from Missouri, a transfer that is now on campus and going to class and working out with us. And really excited about what he brings to our football team, being a two-year starter there, and the Co-SEC Player of the Year — or Freshman Player of the Year offensively in the 2020 season.

Really excited about his character, quality of young man that he is. We recruited him the first time around. That was a big part of us being able to already know his family and have that relationship. He’s already been on campus prior to that and those are things that really matter to me.

And Jared Casey, linebacker coming to us from Kentucky, really enjoyed getting the chance to get to know him here, as he’s with us now, enrolled and taking classes and working out with us. And really think his athleticism has already shown up in our workouts and been noted by our strength staff. And really love his attitude and the football IQ he’s going to bring to us in that room.

Also Myles Jackson, young man from UCLA, transfer that brings us tremendous power and explosiveness. Good size to the bull position and really excited about him. Guy that was probably the first one our strength staff talked about after he’d been here and started working out with our guys.

So really excited about him, just the quality young man. Comes from a really good family and really enjoyed the process. We hadn’t had a chance to get to know them a little bit longer, but really feel he’s a great fit with our program culturally and a great fit on the field as well.

And two high school guys that joined the class after we had the initial signing in December. Omar Cooper signed with us on Friday, that signing period. And really a guy that was committed to us a long time. Very well acquainted with he and his family. Have been watching him play ever since he was a sophomore. Just the athleticism, the ball skills, the ability to go get the football, make plays.

Everybody you talked to in the conference he played in, the teams that played against him, just the consistent theme of his competitiveness and his athleticism and play-making ability, making those plays in space which is a huge emphasis for this class for us. And the quality of his character.

I’ve always said this and I said this to he and his family, but when I first watched him play when he was a sophomore, sit on the sideline talking to the administration from his high school there at Lawrence North, all they talked about was what a quality young man he was. His athleticism was obvious on the football field, but it was the young man that he was and the way he carried himself the way he treated people.

Just the way that they respected him is something that stuck out to me from the very beginning. Love that about him.

And Kamryn Perry, wide receiver out of Marietta, Georgia. Really talented, explosive player. Get the ball in his hands in space and he’s a young man, just had him up here for his official visit, and spending time with his family, got a chance to go down there spend time with him on a home visit. Just a young man that I believe fits with us. And he’s got a chance to come up here and make plays in our offense.

And so just really excited about those six guys that we’ve added since the last time that we have had a chance to meet and talk about them. And obviously have all the guys that are here enrolled.

We have 19 mid-year enrollees currently with us, a huge number of guys that we’re already working with in our program, being developed every single day. And have already met with the majority of them already one-on-one in my office. That’s a very important time for me. That will continue and just to be able to hold them accountable to build those relationships continue to grow, and my ability to understand them and what motivates them, what they care about and the things that will allow me to be able to most effectively lead guide and direct them while they’re here with us.

So really excited about this group. The way the workouts are going. Obviously it’s a process you go through to get ready for spring football but we’re ready for that, in the sense now that we’re off the road. And looking forward to having more questions here.

You talked about Kamryn Perry. Last year you guys brought in D.J. Matthews. I know he was a transfer. But those kind of guys, you haven’t had a lot of them in your program at receiver. It’s been more the 6’1″, 6’2″ type of guys. Was that an emphasis? And how important is it to get the smaller guys who may not have the reach to catch the ball but are fast, quick, explosive and you can really use them in space across the middle of the field?

COACH ALLEN: Yeah, that would be accurate that it was a focus. It’s something that I really felt we had a need for. Obviously you saw how effective Whop Philyor was in our offense and the way he created those mismatches in the interior of the defense in trying to get open and create that space.

There’s a role for those kind of guys. We try to have, you want a receiver room that has different body types in it. And you don’t want to have too high a number of guys that aren’t quite as big. But at the same time there’s no doubt in my mind that those guys created issues for defenses and do a great job of getting the ball to them in space and allow them to make guys miss, create separation and get first downs and score points.

So, yes, I’m excited about adding Kamryn to our team in that role as well as already having D.J. here for an additional year. That was the focus when D.J. was brought in here to replace Whop. And obviously his season was cut short with the injury. But now I’ve had a chance to bring in a true freshman that will come in here and be developed in the same way. That’s the kind of vision we have for that spot.

Want to ask about Sorsby. Just how important was it to get somebody like you say could made the sort of off platform throws that could make things happen when there’s not a clean pocket? And how do you feel about the quarterback room as a whole having added him and Connor? That was obviously a priority getting a transfer in high school.

COACH ALLEN: It truly was. And that’s what our objective was from the beginning of this process was to be able to bring in an older transfer as well as younger player. And I looked at several different options for that and obviously the off platform throws that you mentioned to me I kind of say it to be able to create something out of nothing is really the simplest way to put it.

And that is often with your legs and to be able to create. Things don’t always go — you watch every game at every level, that’s the reality, the great ones are able to do that.

And just having maybe the size as well. I love the guy, 6’2″-plus frame and 220-plus pounds already not even in college yet. But just to be able to have a guy that can make those movements and create extended plays and to be able to give the secondary more stress as the receivers have a chance to get open when those things break down.

Brendan is a guy that meets those qualities that we’re looking for. And did a national search to be able to find him. And they’re really excited about what he brings to us.

Linebacker room, seemed like that was an area where you really addressed the transfer portal in January. Just curious if you found additional competition there and will Cam Jones be included in that position?

COACH ALLEN: To me, Cam’s obviously our leader at that position at the stinger position there. And he’s established himself. So excited see his leadership even grow more in the time we’ve been back on campus. And he’s a young man I met with when the season was over with and he’s a guy that we just really wanted to see grow in that role. He’s already been a strong leader for us.

And with the graduation of Mike and moving on to the NFL now, and that to me is really a great opportunity for Cam to take that role.

And Jared Casey is coming in as we mentioned and Bradley Jennings, two transfers coming in. And already excited to get those guys and their maturity and their experience as well.

And then Aaron Casey is a guy that we’re going to in the springtime have him move to Mike linebacker and be able to play that position. He’s one of our bigger, stronger, faster speed-ratio guys at that position. As you know we brought in some freshmen as well. Got some guys here already to compete for those spots.

But Dasan McCullough will be at the linebacker position as well as playing the bull positions in rush down situations to be able to learn both of those. Then we’ve got Kaiden Turner also a true freshman that’s with us right now.

Just some new faces in that room. But as we’ve talked about defensively the value of that position and how critical it is to have great linebacker play and just having a guy like Cam back with his experience and his athleticism, it’s a huge plus.

But I expect those other guys to step up that have been playing college football and the new guys will come in, Isaiah Jones will be here in the summer another guy I have high expectations for and also several guys in that room that have been here and I know Matt Holt is a guy we singled out in the past how effective he was.

Really a guy that caught my attention early on since he’s been here. And a guy I expect to be there and compete and earn playing time. So it’s a room that’s got new faces, without question. But really excited about the potential of those linebackers.

You have several unprecedented things going on right now. Such a huge class for one. You’ve got 19 kids you mentioned already here too. But a lot of them were recruited by coaches who aren’t here anymore. Has this been sort of a different January now into February for you, too, where there’s been sort of a lot of new relationship building going on as well?

COACH ALLEN: You know, in some ways I think, yeah, that would be accurate. I think that the common denominator, though, would be me. And when you talk to the guys as changes have unfolded, that’s been kind of the, as we talk to them and go through even talk about the change that might have affected them in their position room, that’s kind of been the thing. Even their responsibility, coach, you’re still there that’s a big reason why I’m here and that’s a big part of all this.

I get it. It’s part of it to be able to have other people involved with those. The new guys coming in to be able to start. That’s where the relationships are being built are with the new coaches that have joined our staff after they had already either signed here or committed here or a little bit of both.

But the relationship that’s why one thing we staff recruit a lot here is to be able to create those relationships without just more than one person that’s recruiting your position, recruiting coach, that side of the football, that whole side. And obviously myself, very involved, very involved with these guys getting to know them and their families and spending time with them.

But I think there’s just been some change, no question about it. And that’s part of this at times. And so we’re going to be able to I think one thing that we do really well here is build those relationships, whether it’s growing them once they get here. Obviously they start throughout the recruiting process.

But that’s obviously some new challenges as well but it also is right in our wheelhouse of what I think is what makes us who we are.

We just have to do a tremendous job. That’s one big charge for me and our guys but also when you hire guys that align with us and share in that value of relationship building and know how critical it is to be successful in that room, then that process has just been started for them but the emphasis is no different than it’s always been.

I think that’s why it makes even more exciting this offseason to be able to have some new faces, new things, and especially certain positions that we kind of started this week was our first time getting in position groups and doing some things that we’re allowed to do at this time of year has been, you realize how many new faces there are in those spots. That excites me looking forward to have these guys grow and develop.

With the early signing period, it’s been around for almost a handful of years now. With so much fluidity with players transferring, coaching changes and all that stuff, is this something that needs to be tweaked? Does it need to go back to one signing day period? What needs to happen to make it a little more efficient? It’s there for all parties?

COACH ALLEN: That’s a good question. We had our head coaches meeting at the convention a few weeks ago. That was discussed. I think there’s a lot of unknowns that aren’t being resolved yet. They will be I think here in the next year or so. I think even just the whole — there’s a lot of questions and discussions about the transfer portal window and what that should look like and how that should marry up with the signing days and the different opportunities that that creates.

There was definitely a compressed time period once even the second signing took place to when you were trying to get guys to enroll by second semester before you started class and not everybody starts class on the same day.

So how does that match up. So there was a lot of variables right now. I can’t sit here and tell you that I have the answer to all of them. I do feel like that in one sense of it, the early signing has been a super positive thing for a program like ours to be able to focus on certain group of guys get them here in the springtime in the summer for the visits and then they make the decisions to commit somewhere in that window before their senior season starts then you just continue through that.

When the season is over they sign there in December. So, it’s the change that now has been more a part of college football with the transfer portal and the coaching changes continue to be probably as much as it’s always been. I don’t know, numerically if there’s more than in the past, but there’s been quite a few a lot at different places.

So I think that would make some sense to be able to have guys have a chance to have more time to make their decision about who’s going to be coaching them in those situations.

So a lot of change. It’s been happening lately. I think there’s going to be more change coming. And in regards to some of these things. But definitely a lot of discussions. Not a lot of clear answers. A lot of people have opinions about that.

I don’t think they’re going to go back to one signing day just from hearing the talk. But there’s definitely trying to decide when those signing periods should be and if they need to be adjusted.

Like you said, I think sometimes where the transfer portal and all that that has created, that needs to kind of maybe level itself out to kind of see how it’s going to look moving forward before they make some dramatic changes that affect that strongly.

So I do think that there will probably be some change in the signing. I don’t know exactly whether that will be sooner or later than the current date. But I do think there’s some pressure to be able to make it a little later so guys can have opportunity to make the best decision possible.

You put together your best ever recruiting class right on the heels of a pretty rough season. How much time did you have to spend reassuring guys that were interested that this past season wasn’t indicative of the direction of the program and what was your primary message to them?

COACH ALLEN: Well, I don’t know that — I was very aware of that. But I don’t know that it caused us to spend more time. We’ve always spent a lot of time with them throughout the season. Throughout our week of the year, no matter whether things are going your way or not, you’re getting guys on phone throughout the season, especially early in the week on Sunday night, Monday night, Tuesday night, just being able to systematically spend time with guys, just stay in constant communication with them and their families.

And then also the constant things that I try to send to them from my phone throughout that whole period. So I think that there’s definitely a conscious effort to make sure that they understood the foundation.

But it was interesting because I felt like as I talked to guys, there wasn’t a lot of guys who were like, you know, really waffling a lot. I know that may seem surprising maybe, and I get it. Maybe I was maybe encouraged by that as well that it couldn’t have been more of an issue.

But the relationships were pretty strong. And the belief is strong in what we’re doing and how we’re doing it and how we’re building this place. And, yeah, there’s no question this season was extremely difficult and not close to what any of us wanted or expected. So I think the strength of those relationships held us together.

When we have those strong relationships, that’s why I say this as the case in general, when you have a great foundation, whether it’s in recruiting or whether it’s in your life or whether it’s in this whole program, when the storms come and things get shaken, when the foundation is strong, you weather that storm.

And if the foundation is not strong, then things start to fall apart. So there’s no question. There’s been challenges and those challenges continue, and you just continue to stay locked in and focusing and continue to build and grow.

So I think these guys, they were all in. They were bought in. And they believed in what we were doing. And you talk to somebody, like, coach, I never once wavered no matter what happened.

That was encouraging to hear. But at the same time I was aware of it. And we just kept being who we were. And don’t make excuses. Don’t look for ways out. You just confront things head on and you just keep building.

And that is to me the whole focus in what we’re trying to do even now with our guys that we get ready for the 2022 season. I think it was neat to see these guys stay together. They built a strong relationship with the group together. That’s another thing, with social media those guys they message each other. They stayed together. They were title as a group.

I think that helped them stay together through a tough time.

This is the first class I know that got the full cycle, a pretty substantial portion of it where I imagine people are asking about Name, Image and Likeness, how it’s evolved. Probably all manner of questions all the way down to the microscopic level.

Just again I know it’s only one class. I know it was kind of inserted a little bit midway through. But in your experiences, how did it come up, where was it I guess? On the priorities list of recruits and their families, what kind of questions were you getting, what perspective did they seem to have on it and want on it from you?

COACH ALLEN: That’s a good question, because I will say this — maybe it was because, like you said, the rule was passed in the middle of this class, in July.

And so I honestly did not get near as many questions about it with this class as I thought I would. Definitely received questions. A lot of times it was just when you have a chance to get people here, you sit in your office and you’re sitting there one-on-one and you just kind of go through and you kind of — they’ve just maybe asked what does that look like here? What opportunities did your current players, what have they been given and just to go through and talk about that. And so but there’s I think a lot of people still and even with this class for sure didn’t really know exactly what it really entailed and so there were questions about that. What does this really look like and what opportunities could this create for our son.

And I’ve had very few players, the young men themselves asked — a lot of times it’s parents asking about what that looked like and how that would be able to be something, to be a part of when they came here. I would expect that to be more of that with this next class. I think it will be a topic without question, as more people have seen what’s out there, what’s going on in other places. That’s why we have to continue to grow it here and continue to educate our alumni base and the things we can do as a university to be within the rules to be able to maximize this.

So that’s a big emphasis and priority for us. So I think it’s a very intriguing future for all of us as we go through this together and figure it all out. But I do think it will be more of a topic of discussion with this next class because there’s a lot more information out there right now for them to be able to draw from.

Of the classes coming in, marrying recruits to coaches and schemes and things like that, when you have the change that’s going on that’s gone on with the players, how do you still marry the individual recruits to the coaches, to the scheme and keep everything as consistent as you want it to be?

COACH ALLEN: I think that’s a key point. And you talk about probably each side of the football is probably a little different. I think it still comes down to — I always say this, that they want to see how do I fit into this.

And so I think even when you have, when you go through offensively and just per the position. The guys are already committed to us. And when some changes were created there, the first question is how is this going to affect me?

How does our new offensive coordinator view this position, and how is he going to use this position, how am I going to get used? And talking through that, having a very specific plan to explain to them I think that’s critical. Defensively it’s a little different because the system is our system. That hasn’t changed. It’s not changing.

So with my involvement, that’s kind of a more of a staple and more of a stabilizing force, I think, because of that consistency there. But, yeah, it always comes down to they want to know how does this affect me. And sometimes it’s as simple as saying, you know what, everything we’ve said to you from the beginning, since I’m involved in all this recruiting process, I know exactly what they’ve been told and how we plan to use them. And so either side of the ball.

But I think my involvement in this whole process, that’s a huge part of this. But at the same time they need to hear it from me. Sometimes it’s a matter of a phone call or a face to face or whatever to be able to reassure them that everything you’ve been told in the past, is this is going to be how it is. And if there’s not a phase of that, that’s what we’ll tell them. At the end of the day that’s what they want. That’s what they deserve, clear up the communication, this is how they’ll fit into the schematic portion of our system.

And then the other part is, this is where I tell them — I’m telling our current team with this, when we had changes, you have to trust me. I’ll hire somebody that fits with us in terms of the kind of men on the field that are coaching your son or going to be coaching you or going to be brought here to coach you and influence you on a daily basis. That’s where the fit of the staff and the fit of the culture is such a critical thing to me and it also creates the consistency you’re looking for to be able to have guys come in here and be a part of this and not have — you already have different personalities. I get that, with different coaching styles and different things, whatever the role might be.

But, yeah, you’ve just got to, once again, you start building that relationship with them with that new staff member and sometimes it’s just like, wow, you kind of, you know, it can become a really, really good thing.

That’s just part of it. We’re just embracing it right now.

Now that you have the running backs job open again, where do you want to move with that in terms of timing? Do you have someone in mind. How quickly do you want to move with that? And then I guess to kind of follow up with that, because it is an unusual situation, what are the conversations that you have with Coach McCullough’s sons who are on roster? I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a position like that before where you had basically players who had a parent on staff and then the parent moved but the players decided they wanted to stay. Just wonder what are those conversations like?

COACH ALLEN: I think the first part of that. I would say efficiently is the answer, to be able to find a new running backs coach. I think that that process is obviously underway in a big way. So I don’t expect this to drag out very long.

Definitely have guys that you already have on the short list that you want to be able to talk to and bring to campus and get in front of our staff. So that process is going on right now. I don’t expect this to be dragged out very long.

And in regards to his sons, just the two young men that are here with Deland Jr and Dasan, just knowing them and talking with them and understanding that they chose to come to Indiana and they want to be here. This is their home. They chose to play here and they’re here with us now. And that to me is a testament to them wanting to be part of this program.

I’ve had a situation happen previously in my career. Not exactly like this, but in some ways where you had a departure of a father that I was coaching his son now. So just once again relationships. Sitting down one-on-one, face to face, and talking and being able to know that that part hasn’t changed and they’re their own person in regards to why they chose to come here. That’s why I think even for I think about myself with my own son when he chose to come here. Always wanted to make sure that he was coming here because he wanted to come to Indiana, not because I was coaching here.

And I know Coach McCullough feels the same way, as now a dad of two of our players and one that’s committed to us.

So I just know that that’s one thing, it’s all relationship driven. And guys that, they have strong relationships with guys on our staff and that’s part of it. They have strong relationships with their teammates and those things are very important. So it’s definitely unique, without question. And definitely wish Coach McCullough great things in his future.

So just have his boys here. Glad they’re here. Glad they want to be here and excited about their development and their future in this program. So Dasan made obviously a choice to be a big part of this class, help us recruit guys. He was actively involved in recruiting his teammates that are here now. Guys coming in June. And a huge part of that. Came in every weekend, spent time with us, came on the visits and helped us recruit and was really just dove into it.

So there’s no question. That’s why it really didn’t surprise me with his decision to be able to stay. But you know what, that’s a testament to him and what he wants to be a part of.

Obviously that did make for four guys leaving obviously, one being your decision, the other three being theirs. Are you in any way worried about that? Obviously you’ve been able to make hires, and able to find replacements quickly but the fact you had three guys go a different direction, does that concern you at all about just the direction things are going?

COACH ALLEN: No, you just believe in what you’re doing. There’s no doubt. Opportunities are presented to guys and they’ve got to make decisions about their future where they want to be. And I get coaches calling me to want to interview our guys.

We’ve had a lot of guys in the last few years receive opportunities because of what they’ve done here and I’ve had those coaches reach out and say I want to talk to so and so about a position on our staff.

Those things happen here just now, and there’s no doubt that change can be hard. You don’t always want it because you’ve got to obviously go through and find other people to come in here. But you know, to say concerned, no. But it’s just part of the challenge of being able to continue to build and continue to — once again I think it’s no different than what we talked about with the players that chose to come here and all the challenges that we had with this season and they chose to stay the course.

You have coaches here decide to go pursue a different opportunity. I know every situation. All of them. And I know exactly as we’ve talked and I’ve shared with them and I’ve talked with these guys.

There’s a lot of respect we have for each other with what we do. And so there’s a lot of open, honest communication is what I want our guys to have. That’s part of it.

And I know that I have beliefs about things and I’m not going to be distracted and not going to blink when change occurs or things happen that I didn’t expect to happen. But at the same time you believe in what you’re building.

Accountability, toughness and love is our foundation. That hasn’t changed and LEO is a big part of who we’re about. It’s about those accountabilities within our program, our players and coaches. For me just to find a way to continue to grow and develop our team. We’ve got to get better. There’s no question. This last season was not acceptable and gotta create change.

Sometimes these opportunities give us a chance to create that change in different ways that you might have expected and allows us to grow and continue to build this program. So that’s our mindset.

There’s been a lot of interest on social media, Twitter and such of players going out being in restaurants hanging out somewhere at somebody’s place. How much have you seen the team bond here in the winter since the end of the season and try to come together with the mindset to try to obviously bounce back from last season?

COACH ALLEN: The thing that excites me we have a core group of guys that came to see me after the season and just wanted to be a part of the change to be able to know that, hey, this is unacceptable and we want to create that.

It didn’t happen anywhere close to what we wanted. Got a lot of strong leadership on this team. Just doing some things as a program to be able to encourage that. We knew we were going to have some new faces this year. And we had 36 seniors that went through the senior day for us here that had graduated and were in that situation because — it’s a group twice the normal size due to the COVID year that everybody’s been given. We knew there was going to be some turnover and you only have so many spots.

We had to go back to the 85. We have 19 guys currently on our team that weren’t here in the fall that are here this spring. Wanted to be able to encourage ways to find ways to build our team and build those relationships with these new guys. And so just they’ve dug into that that’s what they’re doing. They’re trying to be together and find ways to be together and spend time together get to know each other outside of the things that we do in football, going to class together. But things off campus and whether it’s going out together, eating together going bowling, doing activities together that’s what we’re trying to do.

Our guys bought into that, accountability teams we’re using here since the first time I’ve been here to create those different things. I’m excited about what our guys have bought into and our coaches as well.

It’s just building the team. That’s what this is all about. And the core of that is relationships, relationships with each other as players and then build relationships with coaches as well.

So, that’s definitely going to be really critical as we have a lot of new faces to be able to come together, because as always is the case the best team wins on game day.

(Question about D.J. Matthews)

COACH ALLEN: D.J. Matthews is definitely back and doing his rehab. As a matter of fact, today was probably his most aggressive day working out with us. He’s out there yesterday as well.

He and I meet weekly and just excited about him and his progress. I know the recovery from an ACL injury is not easy. It’s very challenging physically and mentally.

And so excited for him to be able to be with us here for an additional year. Wasn’t expecting that when he first came here a year ago. Thought it was going to be one season. He had a redshirt year he was able to use. He’s utilizing that. Excited for him.

Those guys, Cam chose to come back for an additional year as well. So guys that we’re really counting on and a guy like D.J. special young man. And just really enjoyed getting to know him to a high degree.

Spent a lot of time together. That will continue. Just trying to get him full speed for this summer so he can be able to have a great — he will not be practicing in the spring, but we’ll continue his rehab. But he’s on schedule, and he’s doing well.

As you are near getting ready to actually get on the field and do stuff in the spring, based on sort of what just happened, what are the two or three things that you’re really looking most forward to making sure that you get accomplished this spring?

COACH ALLEN: Well, you know, we’re about a month away. March 5th is our first spring practice. I’ll go through set out specific things we want to do as a whole team. But there’s no question, I think, when you have this many new faces of players, some new coaches, more new coaches than we had in the last couple of years here, collectively.

So I think just being able to develop our guys within our system. To me there’s just fundamental things we know we need to get better at. There’s no question, I talk about running the football better. To me that’s a big focus, and the fundamentals of that, being able to increase our ability to be effective in that way.

Right now to me it’s throwing the football better. We’ve been a team that’s thrown the ball well the last several years, and that did not take place last year.

So those are two key base things that we have to be able to do with new receivers, new running backs and continue to build and develop our offensive line to me is going to be huge for us, defensively, we went from being the number one team in the Big Ten taking the ball away in 2020, to the worst team in the Big Ten at taking the ball away, which is inexcusable. Some other categories on defense we went from the top to the bottom in one season.

So that’s things that we’re going to be addressing, without question. And to be able to reestablish some of those things.

So to me it’s really kind of a refocus on some fundamental things, take-aways, tackling, effort on defense, toughness on offense. I want to see us have up front. To me is going to be a huge emphasis and develop the fundamentals be able to do the things we have to do to be able to run the ball effectively, blocking on the front and perimeter, and being able to do a great job of implementing new things schematically.

Going to be a lot of things to accomplish, a lot of things that I’m going to focus on. But to me those stick out to me right now.

Just a sense of urgency to be able to get back out there and get the bad taste of 2021 out of our mouths and obviously it’s just a thing that you don’t dwell on the past. It’s a huge motivator because I know that it’s not who we are, what we want to be.

That to me spring is a great time for us to be able to work through those things, get back on the football field and get back to playing football the way I know we can. And I expect it soon. And I believe we will.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports