Allen focused on fixing run game in offseason
Many times during the 2020 season, the Indiana offense got off to a slow start, especially in terms of the run game.
On the season, the Hoosiers finished the year 12th in the Big Ten out of 14 teams in rushing offense, averaging 108.7 yards.
In eight games, the Hoosiers rushed for 869 yards on 278 carries and found the endzone 12 times. Stevie Scott III was the featured back, accounting for 561 yards and 10 touchdowns, including two in the Outback Bowl out of the wildcat position.
Sure, Indiana went up against some good defensive fronts this season, especially when they took on Ohio State, but this is a unit that for whatever reason thought it could continue to lineup and run the ball up the middle too many times this season.
Only one time this season did Indiana put together something that resembled a strong running attack and that was against Maryland, as the Hoosiers went for 234 yards on the ground.
With Sampson James and the likes of Tim Baldwin in the mix, a crowded running back room featured some very talented pieces.
However, those pieces didn't produce much as the season progressed. Baldwin had 141 yards on the season, of which 106 came against the Terrapins, and James finished the year with 96. Neither scored a touchdown, as Indiana's other two rushing touchdowns came from Penix.
Head coach Tom Allen told the media this week that finding ways to run the football in 2021 is a huge point of emphasis for him this offseason.
“To me, it is just being more multiple, even schematically,” Allen said.
Allen, who guided the Hoosiers to a 6-2 record and an Outback Bowl appearance in 2020, admitted that Covid-19 played a role in the Hoosiers inability to run the football, as Indiana went with more vanilla schemes than he would have liked.
“We had to cut back for sure, especially in certain areas,” Allen said. “Sometimes that might’ve hurt us, and sometimes that might have helped us, sometimes you get better when you do less things.”
Allen gave the media an idea of how tough Covid-19 could be with a program.
“You also knew that you could show up on Wednesday, and lose a guy or two at a certain position, and you wouldn't be able to have a younger guy ready to do those things…So I told our staff I said ‘guys we have to have the mindset to keep this as simple as we can to where we got three deep of guys that can execute what we need to be able to do. And that may cause us to be a little less whatever schematically’, but in the big scheme of things that we got we lost guys on game day that we'd had to list them as inactive and they failed, the COVID test, you know, on Friday night, or, you know, Saturday morning, the day the game, you know and that's a huge blow. And that happened to us, you know, and then the thing that also people will lose sight of with at the end when we had the have to, to, to go on pause there for those seven days well we had 28 guys that tested positive, those guys were out for two weeks, they couldn't do anything for two weeks, so I mean we're talking about no running no lifting no nothing.”
Many times during the season, Allen discussed the lack of a rushing attack. While he offered no real specifics on what changes may be made, he did say that he and his coaching staff would be watching every clip and looking at ways to improve prior to the start of the 2021 season.
“We have to find ways to run the football better. I am not going to be too specific about what that is going to look like. I just see us expanding ourselves schematically and doing more things in the run game, being more multiple in the run game, and being able to have multiple types of abilities to attack certain points on the line of scrimmage and how we set those up as well. So, we are going to have an extensive study of that this offseason, and that is going to be huge for our offensive staff and for our program, is to run the football better,” Allen said.