Was it ever going to end any other way? After starting the season 3-0, optimism was plentiful around the Indiana football program. Fast forward to today, and the Hoosiers are sent packing with a 5-7 record for the second straight year at the hands of the Purdue Boilermakers. It was never as close as the final score suggests. Purdue dominated this game from start to finish.
Two years of Tom Allen, two years watching bowl games at home. There are questions that need answered.
Same offense, different day
The issues with Indiana’s offense have been litigated ad nauseam this year. The playcalling has been endlessly frustrating. The quarterback play has been equally headache inducing. Third down calls short of the sticks. Throwing in situations when a simple run with your bellcow back would have sufficed. Today was a redux of everything Indiana fans have endured with Mike DeBord and Peyton Ramsey leading this offense the last two years. Compare that to what we’ve seen from Purdue’s offense. There’s dynamic playcalling. Playmakers get the ball in space. They throw the ball downfield, and sometimes they even complete the pass!
Shooting themselves in the foot has become a staple of Indiana football. It exists a perpetual state of one step forward, two steps back. Take today for example. The defense gets a huge stop on fourth down deep in the red zone. The offense responds by going three and out, and Rondale Moore burns them deep on the very next play. There were multiple personal fouls that halted any momentum the Hoosiers might have been building. Chalk some of it up to youth. Chalk some of it to coaching. Chalk all of it up to a program that still has no idea of how to build a consistent winner.
Where do we go from here?
There are going to be a lot of hard questions that need answered in the coming weeks. You can make a strong case that Mike DeBord should not be brought back as offensive coordinator. Is Tom Allen able to see that and act accordingly? If not, that may raise the question if Allen is the right guy for the job. Another thing Allen will have to consider is relinquishing defensive playcalling duties by hiring a defensive coordinator. Indiana’s defense this year was disappointing, especially when you consider that Allen’s a defensive guy through and through.
Then there’s the question of Allen himself. Indiana did not conduct a coaching search before Allen was hired. He gets paid the salary of a G5 coach. The assistants get chump change compared to the rest of the schools in the Big Ten. Fred Glass and the rest of the university will have to think long and hard about whether Allen is the guy. Do you admit fault and cut ties now? Do you invest in the program and hope Allen can fill out his coaching staff with the right people? Do you keep the status quo and continue to be content with mediocrity?
There are going to be a lot of questions that get answered this offseason, and many of those revolve around the coaching staff. If the past has been any indicator, whatever changes are made won’t be enough to get Indiana over the hump. But you already knew that.