BLOOMINGTON — Change remains a college football constant. Conferences expand, athletes now get full-cost-of-attendance money and speculation remains on four-team playoff expansion.
Oh, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh continues to push the business-as-not-usual limits. The latest is the spring trip to Italy to practice, sight-see and learn to fight as gladiators.
So there you go.
Indiana coach Tom Allen talked about that, and more, during a recent wide-ranging discussion with The News-Sentinel from his Memorial Stadium office. This is the final of a three-part series.
PLAYERS ARE STARTING TO SKIP BOWL GAMES BECAUSE THEY WORRY INJURIES COULD HURT THEIR NFL DRAFT STATUS. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THAT?
To me, it’s about your team. If you want to make a decision that is best for you personally …
If you’re injured, I get that. (Linebacker) Marcus Oliver had an injury. He needed to get it fixed. We tried to get him back in time for the bowl game and it didn’t work out. I want to do what’s best for him and his health.
As far as just sitting out so you don’t get hurt, I have a hard time with that. I don’t want to say this bowl game matters more than that bowl game, which is what I hear when they talk about it. To me, it’s either about the team or it’s not. I’d have a hard time with a guy sitting out, when he’s totally healthy, just to prevent a possible injury. That would be a tough pill to swallow when everything we talk about is it’s not about me, it’s about the team. That would be the opposite of that. It has to be about something bigger than you.
WHEN YOU SEE JIM HARBAUGH AND MICHIGAN GOING TO ITALY, IS THAT A CONCERN? DO WORRY ABOUT FINDING THE MONEY TO DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT?
No, that’s not something I’m looking to do. I haven’t been at any place that has the resources to do that. There are only a few that do.
I think you need to stay true and consistent. It’s no different than talking about whether to play a spring game against another opponent or have a team scrimmage. We all should do it the same way.
It’s not an even playing field (with Michigan going to Italy). It needs to be something that everybody has a chance to do. It’s not even an option at some places because of the expense. I like everybody to have the opportunity to do that.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO PLAY AN OUTSIDE OPPONENT IN THE SPRING GAME RATHER THAN A SCRIMMAGE?
I think it’s a great idea. It can be controlled. It would increase attendance. Do it, take all the money and donate it to charity. I watch some spring games and it’s two-hand touch.
WHO WOULD BE THE OPPONENT?
You’d have to stay within your Division I level. It would need to be somebody you’d play in the regular season, but somebody neutral that you’re not playing the next season. That makes more sense to enhance spring ball and interest in coming to games. That might have some merit. We’ve talked about it as coaches. It would be a neat way to increase (spring game interest and attendance).
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT MOVING UP THE SIGNING DATE FROM FEBRUARY TO DECEMBER? THE PROPOSAL IS TO MAKE SIGNING DAY DEC. 20.
I know people were pushing to sign before your senior year, like June or July. That hasn’t happened yet. The progression is sliding that way. I don’t know that anybody likes it, but that seems to be something that people above us like.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE PLAYOFFS EXPANDED FROM THE CURRENT FOUR TEAMS?
I’m a little leery to expand it. I like the four teams. You’ll always have issues with deciding who makes it. You ought to be able to figure out who the top four teams are, within reason. The playoff has been a very positive addition. (An expansion) might happen.
IF YOU HAD THE POWER, WHAT CHANGE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL?
I do feel, even though I want to see us take advantage of tempo, it should be more controlled.
Make it so you can’t snap the ball until after a set number of seconds. Say you can’t snap it in less than 15 seconds. That way you give everybody a chance to get set.
Since the rules are what they are, we’ll take advantage of it. It makes it really hard on a defense to get set at times. At times, you feel you’re going so fast, it’s crazy. You can’t even get a guy off the field.
From a defensive perspective, the way it is now gives the offense an advantage. I think the game is slanted to the offense. The things we do help the offense. I know they want to score points, but I like it 7-6 personally. I’m good with that. I know nobody else is.
I would like to do things to help the defense get set and communicate properly. I don’t think it will happen. Everybody loves tempo and loves to score.
If I was in charge, I would do whatever I could do to control the tempo.
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