Allen Effort On PAT Made Difference Vs. Hogs

Alabama Offensive Coordinator Lane Kiffin may have been thinking, “And now we’re going to talk about that?” As if his day hadn’t been bad enough in a game in which the Crimson Tide offense struggled against Arkansas, the difference in the game reminded many of a blocked kick that helped Bama to a national championship in 2009.

No one is talking about Alabama for the national championship this year, even though the Crimson Tide is 5-1 halfway through the season and ranked seventh in the nation. But they were remembering how Alabama barely got past Tennessee – coached then by Lane Kiffin – to get a 12-10 win on a blocked field goal and then go on to win the 2009 national championship.

This year’s block came last week when Crimson Tide defensive end Jonathan Allen got just enough finger on a point after touchdown kick by the Razorbacks to knock the ball off course and end up the difference in Bama’s 14-13 win at Fayetteville.

When Allen talked about the blocked kick, he made it clear that it wasn’t a solid block. “I think [I got it] with my fingertips,” he said. “I haven’t really looked at the film yet.” He said it didn’t hurt.

“We feel it’s an effort thing,” Allen said. “The extra point is a very important part of the game, as you can see. We really focused and worked on it and I really feel that it helped us out.”

He said the technique to block a place kick “is very similar” to rushing the passer or stopping the run.

“It starts with a great push from A’Shawn Robinson,” Allen said. “He got a great push and allowed me to kind of squeeze (Allen is squeezing a 6-3, 272-pound body in among the big men) my way through there. I kind of threw my hand up there and got a piece of it.

“One thing we defensive linemen think is getting off the ball; having good hat and hand speed. If you do that I feel you ought to get good penetration.”

As the game wound down, almost everyone watching (on both sides) probably gave some thought to the one point Allen had taken away from Arkansas.

Not Allen, though.

“I didn’t even think about it,” he said. “We’re just focused on one play at a time. Minute you start to look back at the past, the team will score a touchdown on you. We’re just focused on what we need to do better and taking it one play at a time.”

The one play of greatest joy for Alabama came in the final moments when Bama safety Landon Collins made a game-clinching interception.

“It was great,” Allen said. “Running down the field, I was tired, but I had to go celebrate with him. I was happy for him. He’s a great guy and works hard and he deserves it. It was the most emotion we’ve shown all year. I think we need more of that. A team that is emotionally attached to one another will play harder for one another. I feel that’s a big key of playing defense.”

Unlike almost everyone else, though, Allen didn’t think the game was over.

“It wasn’t a sigh of relief,” he said, “There were still about three minutes left. You never know what can happen.

“So we were excited for the offense, waiting for the offense to go out there and do what they did.”

While Allen agreed that Alabama can sometimes be almost robotic in its businesslike approach, he said, “We’re working very hard and growing closer. I think our emotion is growing each and every week.”

He thinks the front seven is coming around. He said, “We spend a lot of time together outside of football, which I think is another big part. On the field we know each other’s playing style, we work well together, we work well off each other, and I feel that’s a big part of our defense.”

This week Alabama is preparing for a different type opponent than run-oriented Arkansas. The Tide will host Texas A&M at 2:30 p.m. CDT Saturday in Bryant-Denny Stadium. CBS will televise the game.

The Aggies are an up-tempo, pass-oriented team.

Allen said the different styles makes for “a big switch,” but said “the preparation, the intensity is still the same. We take each and every opponent seriously. We knew Arkansas was going to be a good game, so we had the same amount intensity for Arkansas as FAU, USM, West Virginia. So we had the same amount of preparation and intensity for every game.”

Texas A&M is led by quarterback Kenny Hill, who is replacing former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. Allen said, “I feel like that have pretty similar playing styles. Great arm, can run, very elusive, hard to bring down, have to contain them. So we feel they have a pretty similar playing style.

I feel like one thing we’re taught is if you can’t get to the ball, get your hand up and bat the ball down, so we’re going to be working on that along with getting off the ball, good hat and hand placement. So we’re going to look at the film from Arkansas, take what we can from it, and move on to Texas A&M.”

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