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Indiana football: What it needs from the next head coach

The next Head Hoosier needs to have a few things down.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: AUG 31 Indiana v Ball State Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Indiana football has found itself in a... weirder spot than usual.

The team has been very much down for the past three seasons. It hasn’t been without its opportunities but few have materialized. That’s resulted in a change in program leadership at the top.

So for the first time since Kevin Wilson the program is entering a full-on rebuild. Doing so as Oregon, Washington, UCLA and USC are primed to join the league next season. Not the best time to just be finding your footing.

The path is narrow, but it’s there.

Here’s what we believe the next head coach needs in order to succeed:


Head Coaching Experience

Indiana is not a place to be learning on the job. The program should ideally be led by someone who’s been in those shoes before, making the tough calls on gamedays and throughout the year.

The slightest whiff can prove disastrous here as there isn’t enough of a cushion elsewhere to make up for it. The head coach at Ohio State can afford one bad assistant hire most of the time because there’s enough talent and knowledge elsewhere to make up for it.

That margin for error is extremely thin here. You’d do well to have experience on the staff making those calls.

If the hire doesn’t have that experience they should ideally have a guiding hand with that knowledge to help them along the way. Think Phil Martelli at Michigan men’s basketball.

Offensive Experience (optional)

If Indiana can’t be consistently good, which is a lot to ask here, it should at least be an entertaining watch and routinely put points on the board, a la Tom Crean.

This shouldn’t weigh too heavily though. A coach is more than their side of the ball, the best are CEO types able to trust in their staff and is able to run the program as opposed to one side of the ball.

When Allen took over Indiana’s defenses as head coach, which happened twice, the results weren’t ideal. And points win football games, so we’d lean offense here but are open to whatever happens.

Aggressive Gameplanning

Indiana is not the kind of school that can afford field goals against the Penn States, Michigans and Ohio States. Lately not even the programs theoretically on its level.

The Hoosiers need to start playing and calling games with aggression. Take the opportunities that are there and make opponents pay for giving them to you in the first place.

Call that fourth down play in opposing territory or even at midfield. Take those shots. You can’t afford not to. Fans can live with an attempt that goes sideways. What they can’t stand is not giving it a go at all.

Green light here. Just go for it.

Recruiting Savvy

Be it in the portal or high school, Indiana’s coach needs to be able to get players to buy into their vision. Tom Allen was pretty good at this, his lapses were elsewhere.

Ideally Indiana fields something of a respectable team quickly in the portal era but it’s also Indiana so fans will understand if it takes a bit of time. There are players in the state, throughout the Midwest and even the country that want to play in this conference.

Indiana gives them that opportunity. It’s a big stage. Use that.

Please change the uniforms back, man

Indiana wore throwbacks in 2021 that, slowly but surely, became the program’s main digs over the next few seasons.

The uniforms previously worn in 2019 and 2020 were perfect. The school colors were well represented and the iconic candystripes were incorporated in a way that made sense and was aesthetically pleasing.

The Hoosiers’ current unis use a bit too much black, not a school color, for a few peoples’ preferences including my own. This is admittedly low on the list but please make this change happen.

This story will be updated.