Indiana football coach Tom Allen: ‘We’re all chasing Ohio State’

PISCATAWAY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 29: Head Coach Tom Allen of the Indiana Hoosiers adjusts his headset during the third quarter against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at HighPoint.com Stadium on September 29, 2018 in Piscataway, New Jersey. Indiana won 24-17. (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)
Caption
PISCATAWAY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 29: Head Coach Tom Allen of the Indiana Hoosiers adjusts his headset during the third quarter against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at HighPoint.com Stadium on September 29, 2018 in Piscataway, New Jersey. Indiana won 24-17. (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)

Credit: Corey Perrine

Credit: Corey Perrine

Indiana football coach Tom Allen certainly sounds like a realist.

While his Hoosiers carry a 4-1 record into their matchup with undefeated Ohio State this Saturday, there is a discernible difference between the teams represented by more than one game in the loss column.

“We’re all chasing Ohio State,” he said after crediting Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer with forcing the rest of the Big Ten to recruit at a higher level to try to keep up with the program that has more than twice as many conference titles as anyone else in the league since 2000.

RELATED: What Meyer said about his team and Indiana on the Big Ten teleconference 

That was just one of several topics Allen discussed during the Big Ten coaches teleconference on Tuesday:

  • He confirmed depth remains an issue for his team when facing Ohio State. "That's a challenge," Allen said. "I'm not bashful about saying that. I said it a year ago. I said it after that game last year: We just kind of ran out of gas throughout that game and they wore us down."
  • Recruiting and player development can close the gap, but that takes time. "It's not going to be fixed overnight," the second-year coach said. "I feel like we're getting closer in that area, but we're a very young football team overall. We do have more depth, but you don't have the same kind of depth I want us to have. It's a process growing that."
  • He was happy to get a win at Rutgers last week, although the Hoosiers nearly blew a 24-7 halftime lead before winning 24-17. "Excited to be 4-1 at this stage of the season and have the opportunity to head to Columbus and take on a great football team."
  • On Ohio State's K.J. Hill: "We always look at guys and say who is a go-to when they need something? Who comes through in the clutch? That's the guy."
  • Regarding quarterback Peyton Ramsey's growth since last year when he broke into the lineup as a freshman: "I think the improvement has come in his poise and confidence of knowing where to take the ball." While the Cincinnati native was quick to run last year, he is showing more patience in the pocket this season. He is also bigger, faster and stronger than last year, as one might expect. "He just keeps growing and keeps leading and I'm glad he plays for the Hoosiers."
  • Allen sees a gap in talent between the Buckeyes and the rest of the league. "That's really the game-changer component. I don't know if I would use the word significant difference but it's a pretty strong difference. That's a credit to them."
  • Suspended running back Morgan Ellison is practicing with the team but still ineligible to play in games. "The bottom line is he's been allowed to be with our team recently and we still have no answer yet for his game opportunities, but he's been able to be around us on a consistent basis which has helped."
  • On Ohio State's Chase Young: "Boy, he's impressive. He's just so long. I thought as I watched him throughout the season on film he's just getting better and better."
  • Despite the loss of Nick Bosa, Ohio State's defensive line remains strong, a credit to coach Larry Johnson. "They're gifted. They keep rolling 'em in. Next man up there. That's what you want. Those elite teams have great d-linemen, great d-line coaches, and they have all of the above."
  • In terms of Ohio State's penchant for allowing big plays on defense this season, Allen said, "They make it so hard on you, so if you can find a way to create a big play that's a huge positive. Just going and trying to figure out what we can do. That's obviously part of our plan to get the ball in a guy's hands who can make a big play."

The Buckeyes and Hoosiers are set for a 4 p.m. kickoff Saturday at Ohio Stadium.

About the Author

ajc.com