Indiana Football: What Tom Allen Said on his Radio Show Wednesday Night

Tom Brew

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. —  As expected, Indiana football coach Tom Allen didn't provide any update on the injury status of quarterback Michael Penix Jr. on Wednesday night at his weekly radio show at the Holiday Inn in Bloomington.

Here are the three biggest takeaways from his talk with radio legend Don Fischer:

1. Update on quarterback situation

It's Indiana's policy to not talk about injuries, and that remained true Wednesday night. Allen didn't share anything on the status of Penix, who came up wobbly after a big hit at the end of the first quarter last Saturday in the 34-28 win against Maryland.

He came back out and played four more downs, but then went into the medical tent to be evaluated and left for the locker room, never to return. His availability for Saturday's game at Nebraska will come down to a game-time decision. 

"It is a game-time decision, so there really is nothing to talk about,'' Allen said. 

If he can't go, junior Peyton Ramsey will get the start. Ramsey has done that before, of course. "It's not a lot different,'' Allen said of getting either quarterback ready to play. "They're similar enough players in a lot of ways, and the right-handed, left-handed thing is probably the most obvious. But even that's not a big thing to our guys.''

2. Depth on defense provides more competition

Thanks to the two best recruiting classes in Indiana history, the Hoosiers finally have some depth at all three levels on defense. That's allowed the defensive coaches to flop starters here and there and rotate guys all game long to keep teams fresh.

"It's a great thing to have depth to motivate guys, because now, if you're not doing your job, we can replace you,'' Allen said. "It's also nice to see those guys who stepped in going out there and finishing games. We had two turnovers in the fourth quarter, and I like it that way, closing out games like that.

"I loved that we found a way to win. You have to experience it to learn from it. It would have been a lot less stressful if we had scored that touchdown instead of kicking a field goal. All they needed was one play. To win in that situation made it so special.''

3. Sampson James: His day will come at running back

Allen talked about freshman running back Sampson James tonight, which was good because there's a great stat about him that I didn't get into my David Ballou story today. James has increased his power statistics in the weight room a whopping 33 percent since he arrived.

"He's going to be special. He really is,'' Allen said. "There's just so much to learn. There's a lot more to it than just running the ball.''

James is a true freshman from Avon, Ind. He was a 4-star recruit who spurned Ohio State and others to come to Indiana. He's only had 31 carries so far for 85 yards, but he has scored two touchdowns. He'll play a big role down the road.  

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