Paul Johnson’s option-based offense isn’t going to hold former B-back Anthony Allen back from his chance at the NFL, but those skills aren’t what the NFL scouts want to see this week as Allen practices for Saturday’s Under Armour Senior Bowl.
Allen said he’s not at any disadvantage because of the system he came from, but this week, he’s got to prove to NFL scouts that he can line up differently and run with the same effectiveness. At Georgia Tech, Allen was lined up about three yards behind the quarterback with his hand on the ground. At practices this week, he’s been lined up about seven yards back.
“When it comes down to it, once you get into the NFL, it’s based on you, the person that’s in there, not where they just came from,” Allen said. “If a person loves football enough and they’re willing to do anything to stay on the field and succeed, then that’s what they’re going to do.”
“Everybody knows I can run the ball,” Allen said. “I did a decent job of it at Georgia Tech. But they want to see if I can line up seven yards deep and make the right reads, read the defensive linemen, make the right cuts and bury through the hole and finish some runs. That’s what I’m trying to do.”
So far, Allen said he is “changing some people’s opinions.” Today’s biggest challenge will be faring well in pass protection.
“Hopefully I have the courage and bravery to step up and block some people,” he said.
Allen rushed for 1,316 yards and was a first-team All-ACC selection in 2010. He ranked second in the ACC and 18th nationally in rushing (101.2 ypg). He had five 100-yard rushing games in 2010 and rushed for more than 160 yards in each of the final two games of the regular season. Allen had 1,934 rushing yards in his two-year Georgia Tech career and, including his two seasons at Louisville, rushed for 3,036 career yards.
Yet he still has something to prove this week.
“I’m hoping I can show everybody I can run from seven yards deep, and make the right reads and burst through the holes, and finish a run and be an every-down back,” he said. “I can get down concepts and pass pro and step up and protect the quarterback. There’s some good competition out here.”