Soft-spoken. Confident. A teammate in every sense.
Did I mention soft-spoken?
Irish feature back Armando Allen was singled out by Coach Weis in his opening press conference as the team's chief running back. Period. His competitors will be forced to wrest that role from Allen's capable hands.
The humble junior will approach fall camp as if the opposite is true.
Halfback Armando Allen
On the (supposed) benefit of extra carries and touches from scrimmage:
"Some people may say it helps but with our group of running backs we're very, very deep and talented so where one of us leaves off – someone else can take over and we're not missing a step. Everybody's talented from the seniors down to the freshmen. "However many balls coach sends my way doesn't matter; I'm just trying to help this team."
Regarding the three-season broken record of the running game getting better:
"I think our offensive linemen are really motivated about this season – this is the hardest I've ever seen them work as a unit. With that being said I think that allows everybody else to have the type of mindset that they have to do whatever they can to help the running game. I think it just starts with them (the O-line) out there, having fun everyday and being motivated. It means a lot to (boost) everybody (else's expectations)."
His response to Coach Weis' vote of confidence:
(Weis singled out Allen as "our guy." And that "the other guy's have to take it away from him).
"I'm going into this training camp with the mindset that I'm not the number one guy – I'm the last guy on the depth chart – with that being said I'm going to work hard and continue to do what I can to prove to everybody that I'm dedicated to this team and I'm going to do whatever it takes to help out wherever I can."
Regarding the recent statistical struggles of the team's running game
"Everybody would love to get the numbers back up, but the first step is to move forward, not to look in the past – everything that matters is now and we're starting now.
Allen followed up with a comment on talking about expectations:
"We've done enough talking as a team for the past two years. Now we have to prove it to ourselves; not say too much, just get out there and work hard and dedicate ourselves to the team."
On the inherent advantage of being a third-year player:
Personally for me, it helps a lot. My freshman year I was kind of coming in from my junior year of high school (after missing his senior season due to injury). The playbook, man, was ridiculously big – I think with the progress that I have in terms of learning the playbook and getting playing time…it helps me to be more comfortable and confident."
When asked: Why are you better now?
"I really can't say why I'm better – I'll leave that to the coaches, but my main goal is to go out there and give 110 percent every time and I'll just leave it at that."
Allen was then asked if he was faster or stronger:
"I'd say I'm faster, yes. Stronger? Most definitely. I gained 10 pounds; I weigh around 204 right now and I feel good."
"That helped us out tremendously. Working out with each other and going home and just taking a couple of days off – we started back here real intense and it just gave us a head start from where we'd normally be (had they spent the summer at home).
Allen's opinion of why the screen game's progress:
"I think it's about patience (as a runner), but really more of a comfortable confidence thing for us (the running backs). In practice (before Hawaii) we felt we had a great chance to run those types of plays so going in there with confidence helped us a lot."
Will he return kicks if his workload increases offensively?
"I don't know if they'll allow me but if I can I sure would. Anything I can do to help the team."