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Indiana Coach Joins Chorus Against Friday Night Games

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Copyright 2017 Journal - Gazette Jul 25, 2017

Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

 

As thrilled as Tom Allen is to be the Indiana football coach, the native Hoosier, who cut his coaching teeth at Indianapolis Ben Davis after playing for his father at New Castle, is not happy about the Big Ten's decision to play a series of Friday night games in September, going head-to-head with high school contests.

On Sept. 1, FS1 will televise Washington at Rutgers, and ESPN will carry Utah State at Wisconsin. On Sept. 8, FS1 will televise Ohio at Purdue, and on Sept. 15, ESPN will have Illinois at South Florida. On Sept. 29, FS1 will televise Nebraska at Illinois.

"Yes, I'm very concerned about it," Allen said Monday during Big Ten football media days. "I'm not going to sit here and try and make a big issue in terms of what I think. My history as a high school coach for 15 years is strong. It's who I am, it's how I started, and it's been so many years."

Allen firmly believes that especially in the Midwest, Friday nights should be reserved for high school football, the lifeblood of college recruiting.

"I think that's a special night," Allen said. "I don't like playing games on Friday night. I think that's high school night. But it's not always my decision, but I'm one of those I'm not going to just not tell you what I believe.

"I think that's a situation where I would prefer that we didn't. But I understand there may be factors outside of my control for that. But to answer your question, I would like to keep that night special for high school football. That means a lot to me."

IU's Scales among10 to be honored

Indiana senior linebacker Tegray Scales, who led the Big Ten with 126 tackles in 2016, is among 10 players selected to the conference preseason honorees list.

Scales is joined on the East Division honorees list by quarterback J.T. Barrett and defensive end Tyquan Lewis of Ohio State and quarterback Trace McSorley and running back Saquon Barkley of Penn State.

A 10-member media panel selected the honorees.

In the West, running back Justin Jackson and safety Goodwin Igwebuike of Northwestern, linebacker Jack Cichy and tight end Troy Fumagalli of Wisconsin and Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell were picked as the division's five best.

Meyer happy to have Wilson

As Ohio State coach Urban Meyer sees it, hiring former IU coach Kevin Wilson as offensive coordinator is a huge plus for the Buckeyes, who struggled offensively at times during an 11-2 season in 2016, capped by a 31-0 Fiesta Bowl loss to eventual national champion Clemson.

"This is the first time we have gone outside one of my staffs to hire an offensive coordinator, but Kevin has led some of the best offenses in the nation, including his time at Oklahoma and at Indiana," Meyer said. "Obviously, we had some offensive issues at times last year."

In 2016, Wilson's IU offense ranked second in the Big Ten and 28th nationally in passing yards at 273.8 per game. The Hoosiers finished 6-7 with Wilson being fired after beating Purdue but before the loss to Utah in the Foster Farms Bowl.

Spartans expect to solve problems

After years of success, Michigan State experienced a stunning 2016 season, finishing 3-9, 1-8 in the Big Ten. For veteran coach Mark Dantonio, 2017 is about re-establishing what made the Spartans so dominant.

"In this profession, there always are challenges," Dantonio said. "To fix it, we have talked to our players about togetherness and responding to challenges. Last year, turnovers and playing three quarterbacks were at the core of our problems.

"We had problems, but when I was hired at Michigan State, I was hired to solve problems. We will get this fixed."

Michigan State has four consecutive home games to begin the season - Bowling Green, Western Michigan, Notre Dame and Iowa.

Credit: Jeff Washburn For The Journal Gazette

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