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Tom Allen At IU Football's Media Day: 'Goal Is To Play In The Big Ten Championship'

Head coach Tom Allen speaking at IU Football Media Day 2021.

(Indiana University Athletics)

Fall camp officially starts Friday for the IU football team as it heads into a new season with high expectations.

"We've been pretty clear on our goals. Haven't shied away from it," said head coach Tom Allen. "We finished second in the Big Ten East last year. Our goal is to play in the Big Ten championship and win the game."

Indiana tied a school record with six Big Ten wins in 2020 and were ranked in the top 10 in the nation six times, reaching as high as No. 7.

READ MORE: Indiana Football Ranked In Top 10 For First Time Since 1969

Allen was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year and the American Football Coaches Association’s Coach of the Year, the first time in 53 years an IU coach had won that honor.

This allowed Allen the opportunity to rework his contract, increasing his annual salary to $4.9 million through the 2027 season. 

Much of the team's success in 2020 came as a direct result of quarterback Michael Penix Jr.'s play. He threw for 1,645 yards and 14 touchdowns in just six games before tearing his ACL against Maryland on Nov. 28. 

"It's about the change of direction. Any time it's a lower-leg injury, lower-body injury, you're talking about can they accelerate, can they slow down, can they move the way they need to move," said Allen. "Those are all cyclical. You have a progression you're looking for."

And Allen said that progression over the offseason has led to the team expecting Penix to be fully recovered by the time the season kicks off. 

"I have a great support system. This whole team, they all picked me up in those hard times," said Penix. "They kept me levelheaded and kept me positive and when I’m in the training room, we got great trainers here that are helping me out. They give me a lot of confidence."

Penix has been named to the preseason Walter Camp Football Foundation Player of the Year Award watchlist as one of the 35 best players in country, but he's not the only player on the team receiving accolades. 

A total of 10 Hoosiers are on preseason watchlists and considered some of the most talented at their positions this year in college football. 

Among those players to watch is the reigning Big Ten Wide Receiver of the Year Ty Fryfogle, who decided to return for his senior season after testing the NFL draft waters. 

"He felt like he had unfinished business, and you can definitely see that in him when he works out every day," said Penix. "All offseason he’s been working extremely hard, trying to make sure he stays strong and just perfects his craft."

In a shortened pandemic season, Fryfogle flourished with 721 receiving yards that netted him 7 touchdowns on nearly 20 years per reception. 

"We're trying to prove that last year wasn’t a fluke and that we’re a team that can compete with anybody," said Penix. 

The Hoosiers open their season on the road against Iowa Sept. 4. 

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