Allen Walker's journey to the first team defense has had a couple of bumps along the way, but now all of that is behind him and he's producing on and off the field.
For a brief recap, Walker impressed the "new" coaching staff back in the spring and won the starting Sam Linebacker position, but between then and the season, he got in some trouble off the field and then hurt his knee in August when practice cranked back up.
Walker has overcome a lot on his route from the doghouse to the penthouse.
"I was in the doghouse and I'm still on thin ice - I have no room for error," said Walker bluntly. "I'm just trying to do right every day.
"When I did come back from my offseason punishment, there was no awkward vibe or anything. I did what I had to do to get back straight. I am glad I am on the right path now because I did not want to transfer and start all over. I'm glad that is all behind me now."
With a new lease on life, so to speak, August rolled around, but Allen suffered a knee injury that kept him completely out for a couple of weeks and behind Lamar Brumfield - who moved in to take his spot when Walker was injured - for a few more weeks.
"Brum stepped it up and did a good job and when I came back I was second team. I just went to work and tried to get the job back," Allen stated. "I worked hard and got my shot a few weeks ago and now I feel I'm getting in more of a groove."
Walker said the game is now slowing down for him.
"The more snaps I get, the more I recognize and the quicker I can react. I'm playing much faster now than I was. I'm thinking faster and reacting faster," he said.
Walker feels good about the direction the defense is going now.
"We are working hard and are starting to understand everything better. I think we all needed a few games in this system to get it down pat," he explained. "What we are trying to do is work together and everyone is challenging everyone else to not be the weak link in the chain.
"That motivates you to do your best so you won't let your team down."
Allen said the coaching staff has not made a big issue out of some of them going back to Arkansas after coaching there for a decade, but they know it's an important game to those coaches.
"It's the most important game of the year because it's the next game. That is the approach the coaches are taking," Walker stated. "We all know, though, that it's a big game for more reasons than that. We know we will be doing Coach Nutt a favor if we win this game."
Allen Walker -
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