Before coming to MSU, Allen spent two years playing football at Northwest Mississippi Community College, but had to sit out of football a year to get eligible. During that year off, Allen gained weight and was out of shape for his debut as a Bulldog.
"I had a lot of extra weight on when I got here last fall," said Allen. "I am down to about 340 right now, but I want to get down to 315. That is my playing weight. I can move now, but that is what I weighed in Juco."
In Juco, Allen did everything a coach could ask for out of an offensive lineman. He pulled, he pass blocked and he run blocked, and everything looked easy. But that did not just come naturally for Allen.
"At Northwest I had some really great coaches in Coach Arrington and Coach Franklin," said Allen. "Tank (Arrington) really taught me a lot about being an offensive lineman. I could not just use my size, I had to learn some technique. And Coach Franklin is one of the best football coaches around. They really helped me a lot."
The adjustment to MSU for Allen has been about more than just losing weight, however. At NWCC the basic assignment for the offensive line was pass blocking. And on a team that averaged 516 yards of total offense per game, he did his share of pass blocking. But, MSU is a running team.
"I think my best point is pass blocking. All we did at Northwest was throw the ball, and we were good at it," said Allen with a confident smile. "MSU is a running team, and we are good at it. But, that is a change for me. I have had to learn the basics of run blocking, but I think I have learned very well."
Now, Allen can focus on fine tuning his technique. And that is something he is taking great pride in.
"I think I can block anybody. I don't think there is anyone that can get past me," said Allen. "But I know that I still have a few things to work on to be able to make that statement stand up. I really have to work on keeping my pads low. That is what the coaches have been teaching me. If I have a low pad level nobody can get through me.
"I really want to come out here this Saturday and improve. That is what I try to do everyday. I know that I can always get better."
While he knows that he can still improve on his game, Allen knows what needs to happen for the offensive line to improve on last season.
"We are really working on becoming a unit," said Allen. "We are working on communication and knowing how everyone else plays. That is what we are working on most. Last year we weren't really together. We are working on knowing our assignments and being a team."
Grant Alford is a free-lance correspondent for Gene's Page. He is a student at Mississippi State University. You can contact him by email at email@example.com.