Worth the Weight

Armando Allen added 10 pounds to his frame in the offseason, which has allowed him to become more physical as a runner. Allen had a breakout game last week and now head coach Charlie Weis is going to hold him to that standard, which is fine with Allen.

When sophomore running back Armando Allen was informed that he had to fit in an extra media session on Wednesday after his big game on Saturday he thought that reporters were asking for the wrong guy.

"The only thing I think about is my offensive linemen. When they said that I had an interview on Wednesday, I was like, ‘Why are they interviewing me? They should interview the offensive linemen,'" said Allen. "I'm very, very happy for those guys."

The offensive line did have a big day against Purdue, but it was Allen whose talents were most visible as he had 247 all-purpose yards, including 134 rushing yards and a touchdown.

"I think the biggest thing is that everyone was working on the same page as far as the receivers, the offensive line, the running backs," said Allen. "I think everyone working on the same page allowed us to do a lot of good things."

Between running the ball, catching the ball and returning the ball, Allen's speed was on display more last week that at any other time thus far in his young career, but one thing that has been clear throughout the season is that Allen is a much more physical back than he was in 2007.

Allen enrolled at Notre Dame in the winter of 2007 after an ankle injury that sidelined him for his senior season of high school. Allen said that he was a little discouraged about missing his final prep year, but that he received support from a familiar source.

"I was kind of depressed at first, but with my Mom in my ear 24/7 telling me that everything is going to be OK and my faith and God, it kind of worked out in my favor," he said.

Still, it was tough to hear people doubt his ability to come back, but that it lit a fire under him.

"That was the worst thing I ever experienced. After my injury hearing a lot of bad comments from a lot people," he said. "People saying I'm not going to be able to run again like I used to. It was kind of like motivation to me, I'm always a person that loves criticism."

The surgery caused Allen to lose 10-15 pounds before his freshman year and it was obvious to him that he needed to pack on some weight before 2008.

"I knew I had to put on a couple pounds. I was real light last year, so I put on about 10 pounds," said Allen, who added the weight through working out more and a heavier diet.

Only a third of the way through the season, Allen can already feel the benefits of the extra weight.

"Putting on some weight kind of got my legs stable," he said. "When you're going against defenses and you're able to break a couple of tackles that you know you couldn't have last year, you can kind of feel the difference."

And Allen still hears his Mom when he doesn't.

"Even when I'm tackled by one person I can hear her saying, ‘You could have broke that tackle,'" he laughed.

Now that they seen what Allen can do, Charlie Weis abd the staff will hold Allen to a higher standard.

"We watched him in practice every single day, and all he's done from the day he's got here until now is continue to get better and better, so it was just a matter of time and it's just that the time finally came," Weis said. "Being a matter of time is one thing, so now that he's got there and as we talked the other day, you have a new bar to set, and, ‘OK, this is what we've seen you do, so let's get going and see this on a more regular basis.'"

Allen accepts that responsibility, but says that nothing has really changed except for his confidence.

"(Just) go out there and continue doing what you've been doing, which is give it all you've got," he said.

The next challenge for Allen is to continue build on last week's performance with a strong outing against Stanford on Saturday.

"Stanford is a very, very aggressive team," he said. "We have to come out and be on the same page when we go against that effort."

Allen could not compare the Cardinal defense to any that the Irish have faced this year, but was able to draw similarities to one with which he is very familiar.

"I go against our defense every day," he said. "Our defense is real aggressive, so if you want to talk about being aggressive than you can compare them to our defense."


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