IU’s Allen sees Ohio State opener as ‘breakthrough’ opportunity for program

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Indiana University football will host the biggest home opener in program history Thursday night as No. 2 Ohio State visits Memorial Stadium. This also marks Tom Allen’s first full season at the helm of the Hoosiers' program.

“There’s a lot of excitement for sure, there’s a lot of anticipation about the season,” Allen said before his radio show Monday night. “We’ve got a great group of young men back from last year, and I think the fans have bought into the idea of us having an opportunity to breakthrough this season. That’s something that we’ve embraced as a program, and our fans and all of our Indiana Hoosiers out there have really come along side us for that. So, it’s a great opportunity to play one of the best programs in the country. You couldn’t script it any better than that for an opportunity for us to step up and do something special.”

Thursday will also mark the return of former IU head coach Kevin Wilson, who is now the offensive coordinator at OSU.  Wilson resigned as IU head coach in December 2016 upon which Allen, the defensive coordinator under Wilson in the 2016 season, was named head coach. Allen said previously that one of the Buckeyes’ strengths lies with their speed on all sides of the ball, and that’s something IU will look to contain in the opener.

“The biggest key for that is your positioning on the field, whatever phase it’s involved in on the field, having great pursuit angles having great technique and being able to tackle well, that’s a big part of it for me from a defensive perspective. To me, it’s about leverage and angles and that’s how you control speed.”

Thursday will also be the first time that ESPN’s popular “College GameDay” franchise will pay a visit to Bloomington. Former IU head coach Lee Corso is one of the show’s personalities and will be honored during the game.