Hidden Treasure

Overshadowed by star cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu, senior Allen Langford has quietly enjoyed a successful career at Wisconsin. Now, he plans to make sure the rest of the country knows about it.

MADISON - With All-Big Ten cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu starting opposite from him, Allen Langford knows teams will try and attack him this season and he welcomes the challenge.

"I hope the ball comes my way a bunch because I want to be more involved this year," the junior corner said.

However, teams that plan to travel that route and go at Langford should think before they act. The Detroit, Mich., native led the Badgers with three interceptions a year ago including two against his home-state Wolverines. He was also very active in Wisconsin's Capital One Bowl win over Arkansas, when he had five tackles, including one for a loss as well as one pass defended.

While Langford makes plenty of plays on the field for the Badgers, the University of Wisconsin coaching staff believes his effort off the field is just as important. During the team banquet at the conclusion of last season, Langford was honored with the Jay Seiler Coaches Appreciation Award, which is given annually to a defensive player that, to the best of his abilities, contributed to the team's success.

Throughout his time at the UW Langford has been lauded for his work ethic in practice as well as in the film room. The agricultural journalism major believes that the more film study you do the quicker you'll be able to recognize a play during a game.

"I think the more film I watch the more I can anticipate what's going to happen and I think that's a big thing at my position," Langford said. "If you can anticipate the play before it comes, you can move to the ball that much faster."

Langford is not considered fast for his position, but that didn't stop him from being named honorable mention All-Big Ten by the coaches. Langford excels through the use of superior technique and great communication within the secondary. The second part of that equation will be especially important with the Badgers having to replace two vocal senior safeties, in Roderick Rodgers and Joe Stellmacher. Langford hopes their replacements, sophomores Shane Carter and Aubrey Pleasant, will continue their predecessor's knack for talking as well as playing within themselves.

"They don't have to be all over the place," Langford said. "As long as everyone back there trusts each other it will be much easier. Communication and trust are very important."

As you can tell Langford is now one of the elder statesmen on the team having started 21 times over the past two years. It is now his job to try and help the young guys make a seamless transition from backup to starters in the Big Ten, much like the players helped him when he was the new guy.

Langford and the rest of the defense had a rough time in 2005 finishing 92nd in the nation in total defense. But with those bumps and bruises Langford also learned a bunch, and he credits a trio of former Badger receivers for much of his improvement between ‘05 and ‘06.

"Brandon Williams, Jonathan Orr, and Brandon White were all a really big help," Langford said. "I think everyone of those guys helped prepare me to go up against all the great receivers in the Big Ten."

That 2005 season is a distant memory for Langford and his mates on defense, which bounced back in 2006 to lead the Big Ten in passing defense. Now the question is; can they maintain that level of play with two new starters in the secondary?

"As long as we get better every practice and every game we will be fine," Langford said. "Last year we started out a little slow but then just turned a switch. This year we just need to be good from the start, limit big plays and we'll be fine."

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