Penn State officially names Tom Allen its defensive coordinator and linebackers coach

Penn State has officially filled its defensive coordinator position by formally announcing the hiring of Tom Allen. Allen comes to Happy Valley after spending the last seven seasons as the head coach at Indiana.

“I have always had a ton of respect for Tom Allen, and we are excited to welcome him to our staff,” Penn State head coach James Franklin said in a statement. “I’ve enjoyed following his coaching career and his experience as a head coach and defensive play caller will bring tremendous value to our program. Coach Allen has led aggressive, attacking-style defenses that will complement what we have already established.”

Allen joined the Hoosiers coaching staff in 2016 and turned around one of the worst defenses in the nation into a formidable unit. Before his time in Bloomington, Allen served successful spells as an assistant under now-Auburn head coach Hugh Freeze. Allen worked under Freeze at Arkansas State and Ole Miss, where he led the Rebels’ linebackers, a position he will also hold at Penn State.

“I am thrilled for this opportunity with Penn State Football and want to thank Coach Franklin and Dr. Kraft for believing in me,” said Allen. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for Coach Franklin and having been across the sidelines from him, I’ve seen what he is building here. To be trusted to join this storied program has me fired up, and I can’t wait to get to work alongside this coaching staff, these student-athletes and to immerse myself in the Happy Valley community.”

At Indiana, Allen was known for turning around bad defensive units, but his job at Penn State will be to keep one of the nation’s top groups at the same level. In his eight-year tenure with the Hoosiers, IU’s defenses were known for getting off the field on third downs, ranking in the top five in the Big Ten on third down in five seasons and in the top 15 nationally twice. The Hoosiers ranked sixth in the conference in third-down defense (36.6%) during the eight-year span.

Tom Allen, being a household defensive name to replace another respected defensive mind in Manny Diaz, is just what James Franklin was looking for to avoid any dropoff from one of the nation’s best units.

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Story originally appeared on Nittany Lions Wire