Tom Allen to Lead Conference Rival's Defense

Penn State Head Coach James Franklin Hires Former Indiana Head Coach Tom Allen as Defensive Coordinator

Indiana Football
Indiana Football / SOPA Images/GettyImages

When Oklahoma hired Bob Stoops as head coach in 1999, he hired a somewhat unknown offensive coordinator named Mike Leach. When asked about the move, Stoops said that Bill Snyder, one of his mentors, told him to hire the offensive coordinator that gave him the most fits. Kentucky never beat Florida while Stoops was defeive coordinator, but he hated preparing for that offense.

Tom Allen and the Hoosiers beat the Nittany Lions in 2020 and played them tough every year, including one score game this year, 2019, and 2018. It only makes sense to hire the coordinator who has given you fits. Allen might not have won many games in Bloomington, but they played Penn State tough most years.

The move comes on the heels of former defensive coordinator Manny Diaz replacing Mike Elko as Duke's head coach. ESPN's Adam Rittenberg first broke the story of Penn State hiring Allen:

Allen was 33-49 during his tenure at Indiana. He was initially hired as part of Kevin Wilson's staff and was promoted when Wilson was fired amid an investigation for player abuse. Allen's tenure started well, with the Hoosiers reaching a bowl in 2019 after consecutive 5-7 seasons. The New Castle, Indiana native's pinnacle was in 2020 when they defeated Penn State and Indiana on their way to a 6-2 finish.

After that season, the program seemed to bottom out, with the Hoosiers going 9-27 in the three subsequent years.

Penn State head coach James Franklin has been adamant about his coordinators being head coaches on their side of the ball. Manny Diaz was outstanding as defensive coordinator after being fired by Miami, so using that formula twice might not be a bad idea.

If there's one thing that Franklin is getting in a Tom Allen-coached defense is tenacity. Allen is one of the great motivators in college football; his players give maximum effort to him and one another. Add that to the improved talent in Happy Valley, and the formula might work again for the Nittany Lions.