Under the Radar

ARLINGTON, Texas - Day after day, the media stops certain Ole Miss football players after practice for interviews. Two-year starter Allen Walker rarely gets asked. He's flying under the radar despite putting up good numbers. Read about it inside.

It's not like he's not doing his job.

It's not a matter of a lack of personality.

It's not like he's in anyone's dog house.

No, there's nothing wrong with starting Ole Miss Outside Linebacker Allen Walker.

But it seems he's rarely asked for an interview while defensive players like Jerrell Powe, Kentrell Lockett, Kendrick Lewis, Patrick Trahan and Marshay Green are constant requests by the media.

Guess what? Walker doesn't care.

"I think he doesn't get the attention of some of the others because we have guys like Greg and Kentrell and Marshay and Kendrick and Jerrell who are fan and sportswriters favorites, and maybe a bit more flamboyant, but it doesn't bother Allen because he is very unselfish and I like that about him," Reb DC Tyrone Nix said. "Allen has been pretty consistent and has improved a lot. I'm happy with how far he has come since we have gotten here. He lost his starting spot a year ago, but he battled to get it back and has kept it. He is a complete player. He stays in on our third-down packages. We trust him that much. His challenge is to keep getting bigger and stronger so he can knock people back instead of just tackling them."

For Walker's part, he just shrugs and smiles.

"I don't care really. This team is about the seniors. I just go out there and try to do my job. If I do that, my time will come," Walker explained. "I'm not worried about it. This is the time for the seniors to have the spotlight. I'm sure I'll get stopped a lot next year when I am a senior, and if not, that's no big deal either."

For now, Walker is just thrilled to have been a part of back-to-back Cotton Bowl appearances and being a part of turing a losing program around.

"We had a tough couple of years when I first got to Ole Miss. To me, to help turn this thing around and be in this great stadium with my teammates is everything. It means more than I can tell you," he said. "Football, Ole Mis football, means more to me than anything besides God and my family.

"To have a chance to defend our title from last year and to play in the greatest stadium ever built - what else could anyone want?" he asked. "It's awesome. You look at this stadium from a distance and it's nothing that knocks you out, but when you get inside, wow. It's awesome, the best in the world."

Walker said he's aching to get the bad taste from the Egg Bowl out of his mouth and to help the Rebel seniors leave as winners.

"The Egg Bowl is not what we are about. We just had one of those games you can't explain," he stated. "I don't want anyone to gauge us on that game. I hate it that some people are thinking, because of that game, that we aren't a good defense or a good team.

"We have to come out in the Cotton Bowl and show the world what we are made of in this game."

Allen knows Oklahoma State will be a great challenge.

"We have to stop the option. Oklahoma State likes to run the option. We have been working it. If I was them, I would run the option based on how we did against it in the Egg Bowl," Allen said. "They are a balanced offense and we are a pretty balanced defense. It's going to be a fun game. We just have to keep our focus for 60 minutes.

"They have watched film of us, including that fiasco at Starkville, so they think they know how to attack us, just like every team we face feels. We just have to show them we are for real, that we are a good defense."

Walker said he's not creeping into the senior mode yet, but he's ready for that challenge as soon as the Cotton Bowl is over.

"I am letting the seniors lead through the Cotton Bowl, but I can't wait to be one of the senior leaders on this team," he said. "There is nothing better than having the young guys loook up to you for guidance and direction. I want to keep showing them what it takes and how to get the job done. It's every day, not just on the football field."

That comment, in itself, is kind of remarkable.

Walker got off to a rocky start when he came to Ole Miss, breaking some team rules and having discipline problems briefly.

"I was a boy, with no guidance. I made some mistakes, but I turned myself around. I did stupid stuff, but I learned from my mistakes," he explained. "I've gotten some good guidance here. There are a lot of people at Ole Miss who will enlighten you and get you going in the right direction if you let them. I needed that, I got it and I embraced it."

Walker is no longer the immature hometown hero from Olive Branch.

"I feel like I am a man now. I had a lot of growing up to do when I got here, but that all took place due to my wanting to grow up and due to the people around here who will help you in that process, guys like Coach (Tyrone) Nix and Coach (Houston) Nutt and Coach (Don) Decker."

Allen Walker has flown under the raqdar this year a little bit.

It won't stay that way much longer and he's ready to accept whatever comes his way.

OM Spirit Top Stories