Allen stopped to chat after a recent organized team activities workout where he discussed expectations for the defense in 2015, his position switch in the new defensive scheme, and the veteran coaches hired in the offseason by John Fox.
Are you convinced you guys can be better than last season on defense?
Allen: "I think we were one of the worst [last year] so we have to be better. It's totally different though. Everything is different. It's kind of a fresh start. In defenses I've been in over the years overall, and being in this scheme, this is a fun defense to play in. There's a high-level of accountability for everybody and I've always felt that breeds greatness. There are no excuses. Either you are right or you are wrong, and you have the freedom to make plays. I think the sky is the limit for us, I really do."
Moving to outside linebacker, have you watched film on anybody in particular?
"Yeah, I've got film.... We watch a lot of Niners film, obviously. But I've got film of Aldon Smith on my iPad. I've got DeMarcus Ware. I'm looking at Tamba Hali, Justin Houston, and a lot of these 3-4 guys, to learn the different rush angles. It is slightly different when you've got your hand in the ground on what you can do. Watching them and understanding foot concepts and getting your feeling on what can be able to work and take what I do and see if it's still effective, even though I'm standing up. I'm always studying. It's actually cool watching different players that I might not watch during the season because of different styles. And I'll try to mash those up."
You never really had to drop back into coverage at defensive end. How is that going?
"Obviously, I'd rather get my nose dirty going forward. But you're a little out of your element, so sometimes that's fun to be able to make a play on the ball. Not even sometimes that. To see the quarterback looking your way and have to go there, can you do it? And you've got your guy covered and did the right thing. You become a factor in the entire defense instead of just what I got to worry about in my four-foot box going forward, my gap, my responsibility."
The instruction, the way they're teaching it seems different. Does that come with the scheme change or is it just a different approach with new coaches?
"It's just different coaches, a different approach with different coaches. There's a reason these coaches are very successful. I love the way that Vic explains it. And then coach [Clint] Hurtt, I didn't really get it last year, but he's phenomenal coach and the breakdown of it. It is [different]. They're just going to yell at you about being in wrong place or right spot. They're going to teach you where, what, why and how you're supposed to be there. For me, that makes it easy. And to install something, watch the film on it and then bring out to the practice field and then go back and watch it, it is cool. It's almost methodical. But at the same time, they're going to test you, they're going to put you in some situations that are going to be a little stressful and they want to see how you react as a football player."