Size not keeping Allen from making impact

Oklahoma junior middle linebacker Gayron Allen (#48 pictured left) talks about his size, his breakout game against Oklahoma State and containing Texas A&M quarterback Reggie McNeal.

NORMAN, Okla. — While the Sooner football team is loaded with stars players on both sides of the ball, you also have players that go unnoticed. One of those players is junior linebacker Gayron Allen, who recorded eight tackles in his first start at middle linebacker last weekend against Oklahoma State, and he could be the starter this Saturday against Texas A&M. Allen sat down with OUInsider.com on Wednesday for the next installment of the Two Minute Drill.

JH: I come to find out that you did play middle linebacker against OSU, which is a switch from the weakside linebacker spot where you normally played. How did that work out better for you?

GA: "I may not be the fastest guy, so I feel that area at middle linebacker, where I cover the tight ends and get to my run lanes, is easier. I don't have to bump out and cover speed receivers like you have to at the 'WILL' so that is why I feel more comfortable at the 'MIKE'.

JH: Last year Texas A&M made a ton of big plays against you, so is there a feeling among the defense this year that you need to inflict a little payback?

GA: "Whenever we lose a game like that we want to come back the next year and bring our ‘A' game. We didn't bring our ‘A' game last year to Texas A&M and we want to come back and correct those mistakes we made last year."

JH: You somehow turn you size to your advantage, don't you?

GA: "Yeah, I have to because I have been playing with my size the way it is for a little while now. know I am not the tallest linebacker. I use my size to get around big linemen. I figure that my size helps me out a little."

JH: What was it like to get your first extensive playing time in front of 85 thousand fans at your home stadium, and then you come up with such a big play on the goal-line stand?

GA: "It was very exciting and the fans were loud. On our goal-line stand, the crowd was going crazy and the play came right to me. I was just able to make a play and finish off the ball carrier. It was a great feeling to know that I helped on that play and that the crowd was really into it."

JH: What kind of challenge is Reggie McNeal for you?

GA: He is a big challenge. Reggie can run very well, but he has a strong arm and can really throw the ball. We have to focus on checking him on defense and contain him so that he doesn't get outside.

JH: How do you compare McNeal to Brad Smith or Vincent Young?

GA: "Similar. He is very similar to Vincent Young and Brad Smith. They can all move and move well, yet throw the ball to."

JH: How do you develop the mentality of staying ready to play week after week after week?

GA: "We try to come out at practice each week and keep the intensity and focus. We take the philosophy that our intensity can't change from Texas to Texas A&M. We want it to remain the same and usually it does."

JH: How about you individually?

GA: "I just try to prepare as if I am going to be the starter and then when my time comes to get into the game I am ready to go. You just never know when you are going to get the call, so I always stay ready."

JH: The coaches always say that you are one of the most fundamentally sound players. How does that help you?

GA: "One way I can use my size to my advantage is through fundamentals. I have always tried to be a fundamentally sound player since I started playing football."

JH: What are you thoughts on Texas A&M?

GA: "They are a good team and we have to come out focused and bring our ‘A' game this year."

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