Allen's Time

Ferbia Allen had a big smile on his face when he met the media Friday afternoon. There are a lot of reasons. Mainly, the fifth-year senior tight end from Pine Bluff, Ark., is just feeling good about life and football.

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"It's going good," said Allen, at 6-foot-4 and about 250 pounds now. "I've gained a little bit more weight since the spring. I'm feeling good. I'm holding on to it pretty good right now."

Allen, with 37 Ole Miss games of experience the past three years, has worked hard to get in better shape. And he said he had to.

"Last year I was around 235-240, which is small for a tight end," he said. "So I added this weight. Coach Paul (Jackson) has been doing a great job. It helps a lot (in the blocking department). You need that weight to try to push them guys around."

And that's not where it ends. There's the "new" offense the Rebels will run. Fast paced. Quick hitting. High octane. Hopefully multiple points producing.

"You've got to be in shape. You've got to be in shape for this offense," the veteran of Southeastern Conference wars said. "I'm in a lot better shape than when we first started. When we first started, I was begging to get out after three or four plays. Everybody's getting in shape on offense."

An offense that Allen believes is improving day by day. And it has to for the Rebels to be effective in 2012. The playbook is basically in, according to first-year head coach Hugh Freeze.

"He's been throwing in quite a bit (of the playbook) over the past few days," Allen said. "But I guess it's all pretty much over with. I'm sure he will have a few different plays to throw in. But I think it's pretty much in for what we're going to run now."

Oh, there should be some offensive wrinkles weekly. But as of now, it's all systems go.

"It's all coming together," Allen said. "It's way different from last year. Everything is quick, quick, quick, no huddle. We huddle the first time or whatever, but after we are out there, we might switch in a person, but it's constant pace. Non-stop."

Allen believes the pace is to the Rebels' advantage and should make defenses more vulnerable.

Ferbia Allen
Bruce Newman

"It's an advantage for us. And it's different," he said. "I don't think a lot of teams will be expecting that right now. I'm hoping it will throw them off. I'm hoping they won't get a chance to line up, and hopefully we'll have a play to run to that side where they're not lined up and get us a big gain."

As for his own feel of the offense, Allen said he is comfortable with both quarterbacks. He believes in Barry Brunetti and Bo Wallace and thinks both can be effective.

"Barry and Bo are doing a great job. It's difficult enough for just a tight end," he said of the fast pace of the offense. "But to be a quarterback, both of them are doing a great job. We're used to all the quarterbacks right now. They switch in and out. They do a great job of talking to us if we don't understand something. Turn around and ask them a question, and they'll give us an answer right off the bat."

Allen said the team as a whole has a different feel about it this preseason. He said he believes everyone can sense that.

"We're excited. We know we're going to do something this year – everybody," he said. "You can see it in their faces. You can tell how hard they come out here and work. You can tell it's a big difference from last year."

And Allen wants to be the best he can be, so he's been working for that all summer and into camp.

"I want to improve on everything," he said. "My route running. My blocking. Anything can stand to be improved."

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