Shutting the Door

After suffering an ACL injury that ended his 2007 season at Ohio State, senior cornerback Allen Langford is back, stronger than ever and just as confident as before.

MADISON - Standing on the Wisconsin sidelines in Columbus last October, cornerback Allen Langford, with crutches under both of his arms, did not know what to think.

The Badgers' number two cornerback knew he was injured but was hopeful that his left knee was just a sprain and nothing serious. Days later when the MRI confirmed his worst fears, Langford knew that he would have a busy offseason in order to get back to 100 percent.

Not only has Langford made tremendous strides in nine months, the fifth-year senior is playing better than ever. In two games back, Langford has registered four tackles, one pass breakup and a fumble recovery.

Now leading his secondary into the Valley, Langford is ready for anything that is thrown at him and is ready to make headlines in 2008.

When you got injured at Ohio State, did you know right away what happened?

Nah. I wasn't exactly sure. I got up and kind of jogged off the field. I thought I would be able to run it off but it was a no go. Even after the game, I didn't think I tore it but it was disappointing once I found out that I did. I didn't have any idea until the MRI. I thought it was a regular knee injury, maybe a sprain or something like that.

What exactly happened on the play? Did your knee buckle, get tangled, get caught in the turf?

My foot was stuck in the ground actually. When (the receiver) came and cut me from the side, my foot was stuck in the ground and when my foot was stuck in the ground, it made my knee pop.

Do you feel you are back to 100 percent now?

Definitely. Definitely. I feel like I am better now than I ever was.

Why is that? What happened from the course of the Ohio State game, through winter, spring and summer that has strengthen you through your rehab that has made you that much better?

It was something I focused on as soon as it happened. I mean, everything happens for a reason. I wasn't going to let this injury get the best of me. There are plenty of other guys that have come back from this injury and I wanted to be one of those guys that came back a lot better than they were before it. That's something I focused on through my whole rehab, training, everything.

When did you finally turn that corner during the rehab that you no longer felt like you were on the downswing but on the upswing?

Once I started doing my defensive back drills in my rehab. I felt comfortable and I knew then that I was going to be on track to do what I wanted to do when the summer started and that's exactly what happened.

Without Jack on this team anymore and with Aaron out, have you felt any pressure on you now that you are the No.1 corner and people might be expecting more from you, especially coming off your injury?

Not at all. I don't focus on any of that. I just like going out there and playing ball every single play. I want to do my job every single play and worry about how I am supposed to guard my guy. If the ball comes my way, hopefully I'll be in the right position to make plays.

Mario Goins nicknamed you the ‘Technician' because you're so sound in what you do. Where did that come from? Was that something you naturally had or something you really had to work at?

That's something I work really hard at. I work hard at my technique all the time because I feel that technique can carry you and take you a long way. I definitely take pride in it. I love doing it. I love playing this game and I want to be the best ever at it no matter what I have to do. I feel that if I work on my technique, I'll be great at it.

There's a lot of youth around you. How have you seen the younger players – like Mario and Niles – grow into the role of being a cornerback from week one to two?

Definitely. Definitely. The more experience they get, the more reps they get during the game, the better I think they'll be and the more comfortable I think they'll be with how the game is going. These are guys that came into the season haven't gotten any reps on defense really. The more reps they get, the better they will keep getting.

What kind of problems from a secondary viewpoint does Fresno State pose for you guys that maybe Akron or Marshall didn't?

They line up and shift in all types of different ways. We have to be on our keys every single play and they're going to be a team that looks at the film and sees the stuff that we did wrong against Akron and Marshall. They're a team that will try to exploit our weaknesses.

You have played very well over the past couple years but it always seemed like Jack was getting the headlines of being the top corner. Now that he's gone, do you feel this is your year to make a statement that Allen Langford is a good corner as well?

Well, every year I go into the season thinking that. I just want to go in and do my job and make plays. If the ball comes my way, I want people to know that I am here and I am going to be here all day making plays. I mean, I never looked at Jack getting accolades and me not getting accolades that much or things like that. I don't look at it like that. I look at it as me going out there to play football and have some fun doing it.

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