Calvin Allen admits that last season was difficult for him as he had always been the star of his high school team and found himself redshirting his freshman year in college.
"Last year was definitely tough not being able to play and redshirting," Allen said. "I was used to always starting, so it was a wakeup call that I needed to work harder and push myself. Now that I have gotten the opportunity, I am working harder.
"I've come really far. I spent all last season and most of the season with Parker Whiteman working on my speed and strength and trying to become more ready and a better player."
As he approaches his first game, Allen is more confident in his ability than he was at this point last season.
"I am definitely more comfortable," he said. "Now that I know the defense better, I can play faster and harder. Now that I am stronger, it all comes easier."
Allen had some help getting more comfortable, specifically from two players.
UNLV coach Bobby Hauck sent some mixed messages this week as to what type of offense his team will be playing, but it does not seem to bother Allen.
"UNLV plays a lot of power, so we have been working on power blocks and how to play that and get ready for everything.
"It does not matter to me. I just play my technique and do what I am told."
What will Allen's mindset be when he takes the field on Friday?
"I always get nervous no matter who the competition is," he said. "This is my first college game, so I am real nervous. I like to keep to myself and focus in before games."