Linebacker Dakota Allen made his Red Raider debut against Sam Houston State in the opener and then topped it with a solid performance on Saturday in the 69-20 victory over UTEP.
Allen was ready to hit the field and got his opportunity against Sam Houston State after senior linebacker Micah Awe left the game with a shoulder injury.
“It felt great to get back on the field because I was redshirted last year so I put in a lot of work over the summer and the spring so it felt to great be back on the field,” Allen said.
In his first week Allen made three stops in the limited time he played, but he was the bright spot for the linebackers against UTEP. In week two he lead the team in tackles with a total of 10, including one tackle for loss.
“That first week we kind of got blitzed with the tempo with a bunch of different formations and things that we're doing, had a great scheme offensively,” sad Klff Kingsbury on Monday. “This last week a younger guy like him was able to see it, huddle, break the huddle, see where everyone was lined up, and I think it helped him progress.”
Although, Allen thinks the whole defense improved, and by looking at the numbers it does show improvement. The defense was able to hold UTEP to only three points in the second half and less than five yards per carry for the game.
“I think really the team improved a lot from week one to week two. Our alignments are better, our assignments are better, we still have a lot of room to improve though,” Allen said.
He contributed some of their success to being “tough together” one of their mottos coach preaches to them. This is something anyone around the program can see, the defense supporting each other and playing together.
“I definitely do feel like we are playing more together and as a team, as brothers, as a family,” Allen said.
Looking to next week it’s no secret that Arkansas is going to bring the run, with the weapons they have at running back and their massive offensive line. Allen said the linebacker corps is going to prepare like they normally do, but this team has more focus and knows they have to stop the run.
That is an area Allen said he wanted to continue to improve in this week. Specifically being able to read his keys faster, eliminate false steps and get stronger against blockers in order to be downhill for the run game Arkansas will bring.