Tom Allen has reportedly made his first hiring decision as a head coach, and he’s bringing one of his former co-workers to Bloomington.
FOX Sports’ Bruce Feldman reported this morning that Ole Miss wide recievers coach Grant Heard will be coming to join Allen’s staff at Indiana. Antonio Morales of the Clarion-Ledger adds that Heard will retain that same role over wideouts at Indiana.
Heard is a longtime former colleague of Allen’s — making stops together at Lambuth, Arkansas State, and Ole Miss under Hugh Freeze — and one of the most respected names in the country when it comes to coaching passcatchers. The Houston native and Ole Miss alum is something of an ace recruiter too, himself bringing former 5-star and current Minnesota Vikings rookie wideout Laquon Treadwell to Oxford. Spending the past five seasons at his alma mater, you can also count Colts wideout Donte Moncrief as one of his products, too.
Before coming to Ole Miss, Heard coached quarterbacks and worked as the Passing Game Coordinator under Freeze at Arkansas State in 2011. Tom Allen was the Assistant Head Coach on that Red Wolves football team.He’s called an offense all his own before too, working as the OC at Lambuth under Freeze before the duo headed to Arkansas State.
Per RebelNationMagazine, Heard was turning Ole Miss into Wide Receiver U:
“I think the offense attracts them because they see how much we throw it,” Heard said. “I’m not saying we get all the top wideouts, but they’re at least interested because of our style of offense. And having those type of guys like Laquon and Donte helps. Everyone wants to play with good players. Seeing the success that they’ve had, I think they want to be a part of it. For me to be able to say that we have a guy that we coached in the NFL that is being successful, and for me to tell a kid that he has those same type skills, and we think you can reach that same goal, that really helps. And to do it from our offense really helps because a lot of people say we’re not a pro-style offense or that it doesn’t equate to the NFL. Donte is a guy that has been in it and he’s doing fine.”
If you were worried about Indiana’s offensive bona fides under Tom Allen, this move should make you feel much better.
But what does this mean for Indiana’s current staff?
Kevin Johns will likely be the full-time OC -- or he’s on his way out of Bloomington. Johns was a known close ally of Kevin Wilson’s and worked closely with him as his offensive coordinator, but it’s not known how much of the play-calling duties he shouldered. Johns handled quarterbacks and receivers along with his OC duties, two roles that have now been filled by strong pedigree assistants that weren’t on the full-time staff in 2016. Allen promoted quality control assistant Shawn Watson, formerly the OC at Texas and Louisville under Charlie Strong, to quarterbacks coach shortly after his hiring.
Allen said the offensive coordinator position will be handled after the bowl game.