Allen talks Ravens, draft, triple option

Greetings, all-

Hope the day finds you well. I spoke with Anthony Allen Monday about the draft and his future as a Baltimore Raven. He had some interesting things to say about the triple option impacting his draft position, how his undrafted teammates are doing and being welcomed to the NFL by Ray Lewis.

1. On Saturday (when he had to wait about six hours to get picked): “It started off a little nerve-wracking. I was sitting there trying to watch it (on television). You really shouldn’t do that. People were telling me you shouldn’t do it, but I was hard-headed and did it anyway. Once you’re seeing guys fly off the board that you played against and you know their capability and you know [you're better than], you start to stress a little bit.”

Once the seventh round started, though, he started getting phone calls from teams that told him they were going to try to pick him, which eased his anxiety.

Ready to be a Raven.

Ready to be a Raven.

2. Allen’s plan for now is to just wait out the lockout. (A federal appeals court in St. Louis is expected to make a decision in coming days on the NFL’s request to keep the lockout on. If it’s granted, the lockout could last into June or July. If it isn’t granted, then teams would have to open their doors and resume NFL business, probably including offseason workouts, rookie mini-camps and the like.)

If the lockout ends, he’ll go up to Baltimore for rookie mini-camp. If it doesn’t, he’ll stay in Miami, where he’s been training.

3. Allen got the draft call from Ravens running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery. He also talked to coach John Harbaugh and owner Steve Bisciotti.

“Everybody pretty much said the same thing: It’s hard to judge out of the triple option,” Allen said. “They don’t know what a person can do out of that system. They had faith in my running abilities after I got past the first line so they should give me a chance.”

Allen said he’d heard similar talk from other teams as he went through the draft process, despite showing in the Senior Bowl that he could line up seven yards deep in a conventional formation and read holes and pass block.

“When it came down to it, those guys are spending millions of dollars,” he said. “They have to make sure they get a guy that they can trust. When it got down to it, they couldn’t get over the fact that I played in the triple option.”

I asked him if it gave him any regrets about transferring to Tech from Louisville instead of somewhere with a more conventional offense. He said no, citing a number of reasons, including playing for Paul Johnson, playing in the offense and the education.

Said Allen, “I wouldn’t be the man I am if I hadn’t gone to Georgia Tech.”

4. My two cents: I think a lot could be riding on how Allen and Jonathan Dwyer do. If they turn out to be productive backs, it would probably remove some of the stigma that Allen referred to. However, I’d think to some degree it would always exist; NFL talent evaluators and coaches generally aren’t known as a risk-loving bunch.

However, I’ll offer Johnson’s standard defense about the offense regarding the draft. If you can play, the NFL will find you. That’s how players from Abilene Christian, Slippery Rock and Yale, among other places, got picked in this year’s draft.

5. Allen said he spoke with Joshua Nesbitt and Jerrard Tarrant after the draft. He said both had gotten calls from teams during the draft that wanted to sign them as undrafted free agents.

“They were pretty positive about that,” Allen said.

6. Allen said he’s been investigating Baltimore – the city and the team. He hasn’t been up there yet, but he likes both.

“Because they’re a smashmouth team,” he said. “They take it at you.”

7. He said he’s already thought about the first contact scrimmage in training camp when he runs into the line with Lewis, the future hall of famer,  coming at him.

“Still trying to figure out what I’m going to do or what I’m going to say to him when it happens,” Allen said. “I don’t think I’m going to go in there with a plan. I’m just going to go on pure reaction and see what the outcome is.”

"Pleased to meet you, Anthony."

"Pleased to make your acquaintance, Anthony."

8. Allen didn’t have a prediction on who’s going to be his replacement, praising all the candidates, Preston Lyons, Charles Perkins, David Sims and Richard Watson.

“They’re good natural runners,” he said. “We’ll see what they do during camp. It was a battle last year with me. There was no clear-cut winner until you line up that first game on Saturday.”

50 comments Add your comment

spjacket

May 3rd, 2011
7:50 am

Thanks Ken, I have been impressed with your coverage of the Jackets! You have even covered baseball. Keep up the great coverage

FullMetalJacket

May 3rd, 2011
8:09 am

Good to hear that Allen is getting ready for the NFL and that he appreciates his time at Tech. I agree that to some extent the eventual success of Dwyer and Allen will help shape the perception of future Triple Option runners in the league.

FullMetalJacket

May 3rd, 2011
8:11 am

Ken, we’re enjoying the regular stream of information out of the Tech beat and appreciate your insight and diligence.

Who cares (the original)

May 3rd, 2011
8:19 am

I agree that if Dwyer and Allen can ease the apprehension of drafting Tech RBs, and seeing that they both are with teams that love to run the ball they will have their chance. They have to take advantage of it when it comes.

Go Jackets!!!

KC in Smyrna

May 3rd, 2011
8:37 am

Great job on the beat Ken. Thanks for the AJC mgmt for the GT love.

Brokenstinger

May 3rd, 2011
8:53 am

Joshua Nesbitt for Heisman!!! CPJ coach of the decade!!!

CaryJacket

May 3rd, 2011
8:55 am

Ken: Nice read. Very fair & balanced. Loved the quote from AA to sum up his GT experience. Glad you’re on the Tech beat again.

Good luck in the NFL, Anthony. Thank you for your contributions to the team.

GT GRAD

May 3rd, 2011
9:02 am

Thanks for the interview.

I think Dwyer & Allen will be very productive in the NFL………..this success will help to dispell the ludicris opinion(s) that B-Backs from the Triple Option offense cannot be effective RB in the NFL!

juvenal

May 3rd, 2011
9:07 am

great coverage(& nice new masthead!)-AA should be able to handle any playbook, as should any footballer who goes to Tech-very few bcs schools run the pro O, in any event…….

Ken Sugiura

May 3rd, 2011
9:11 am

thanks for the kind words. i’ll do my best to keep it up. if there’s anything in particular you’d like to know about, feel free to tell me. not saying i will find out, but i can try.

DScottGT91

May 3rd, 2011
9:20 am

Great read, Ken. I look forward to hearing more from our other guys once they get picked up. As far as suggestions for future columns, I would love to get comments from NFL folks (coaches, GMs, etc) on their view of the triple-option as a viable offense to prepare our players for the pros. Is it really that much worse than the spread? What about the impact on linemen,etc? Perhaps if they were allowed to comment anonymously, they might be more forthcoming.

Just an idea. GO JACKETS!!!

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

May 3rd, 2011
9:22 am

As a Georgia fan, I think Allen was undervalued in the draft. I wish we had a runner like him at Georgia. He runs hard and is fearless. I hope he does well and I think he could get a good shot in Baltimore.

Tech Fan Since 1950

May 3rd, 2011
9:54 am

The NFL people are a real puzzle full of excuses. A major factor in football is toughness and for a running back the ability to block, run tough and fast. Yes, catch the ball a time or two too. Anthony Allen has proven he can do all of that. The B-Backs at Tech get smashed on every play so maybe Ray Lewis should look out in the summer scrimmages. I think every other defensive player in the NFL should too. Allen is a winner and he will do well at Baltimore.

DawginLex

May 3rd, 2011
10:15 am

I’m glad Allen got drafted but it is a puzzle to me about the TO statements. To me, (I know i went to Georgia but work with me here), Allen had to make QUICKER decisions in the TO versus the pro set. Maybe the issue is that in the NFL you have to learn to let the OL make holes and read the openings where in the TO, you are running a specific route that you are hoping will provide an opening.

I don’t know but he definitely has the size and speed to play in the league.

James Stephenson

May 3rd, 2011
10:20 am

Very few BCS teams run the Pro O, really.

Lets just take a quick rundown, Tenn, UGA, UF (now), South Carolina, Ala, LSU, Ark, just in the SEC alone, over half the teams. ACC, FSU, Clem, Virg, Miami, Duke, NC. heck half the teams in the ACC.

Learning to pick up the block is very important in a pro set for a back. And the backs in PJs offense are either decoys or runners or pitch men. How often have they had to read a defense and attempt to pick up a blitzing backer.

JasonGT

May 3rd, 2011
10:40 am

There were many great running backs that went undrafted this year out of traditional offenses (Miami’s Graig Cooper for one). Dwyer’s draft stock was hurt by a poor combine performance and the accusation that he was on performance enhancing drugs (later found out to be a prescription, not sure why adderrall is considered performance enhancing except that it’s an amphetamine). Allen’s draft stock was hurt by the fact that this draft was one of those line building drafts. People weren’t drafting as many people at skill positions. He’ll be a good alternative to Ray Rice in Baltimore and should be able to surpass Glass-knees McGahee

Big Dawg Daddy

May 3rd, 2011
10:48 am

Best wishes Anthony Allen on a successful NFL career.

Ken Sugiura

May 3rd, 2011
10:52 am

DawginLex – I believe you’re right; a b-back goes right into the hole on a dive play, whereas NFL running backs are typically required to read the line as the play develops to know where to go.
DScott – I was thinking the same thing. thanks.

Ken Sugiura

May 3rd, 2011
10:54 am

Three Georgia fans praising a Jacket and wishing him well? what sort of bizarro world post is this?
I applaud your sportsmanship. Thanks.

DoggieHouser

May 3rd, 2011
10:57 am

Bank Walker, thanks for your perspective and class. Yeah, I think AA was undervalued; we’ll see. Tashard Choice always amazed me with his ability to find a small slit in the line, and get through it quickly. It IS different from the TO, but I think really good runners in a TO will be able to make the adjustment.

DawginLex

May 3rd, 2011
10:57 am

riding the Navy Seal 6 wave Ken

Mel

May 3rd, 2011
10:58 am

Very nice read – thanks!

BYRDDAWG

May 3rd, 2011
11:03 am

I’m not really sure why many RBs that are in a option O don’t do well in the pros but I’m a huge Steelers fan( GO HINES) & when they chose Dwyer last yr I thought we had our back now….only for him to barely make the team! Last yr he was 4th string & only carried the ball 9 times for 28 yards….I’m not sure if it’s ability to read blocks or what but he sure was a stud in college!!!!

juvenal

May 3rd, 2011
11:04 am

pure west coast/ no wildcats, etc.? draft expert on 680 said today pure, drop-back, stay in the pocket QB’s rarer now……….hey, Lex, be your way mid-month, no tornados i hope…….

GTJACKETS

May 3rd, 2011
11:09 am

Wow UGA Fans are in a good mood. Surprising. Great read Ken. As stated above, love the work you are putting in! I look forward to more Beesball coverage as the year winds down and hopefully a long run in the post-season. Need to sweep this weekend. Go Jackets and Go Hawks!!

Old Blind Dawg

May 3rd, 2011
11:25 am

Good luck to AA

DawginLex

May 3rd, 2011
11:35 am

Million inches of rain in april. May not much better.

Bring an umbrella

michael

May 3rd, 2011
11:38 am

hope he makes it. i hope the others do also. i’m more of a college fan so i like to hear allen state that he wouldn’t be the man he is w/o tech.

GT Fan by Marriage

May 3rd, 2011
11:41 am

What a pleasure to read the comments today…overall very informative and helpful read – my blood pressure didn’t even go up a smidge. Thanks Georgia fans, glad you could join us with some very helpful comments – hope you have a nice day!

JM

May 3rd, 2011
11:51 am

Best wishes to Allen. He’ll get a good look in Baltimore.

rxdawg79

May 3rd, 2011
11:53 am

Almost all the UGA fans I know want all GT players to do well in the pros. It’s only when they line up opposite the Red & Black that we want them to fail. Once they leave Tech they are no longer an enemy!

Keep up the great work Ken!

May 3rd, 2011
11:53 am

Thanks Ken for the solid reporting. It’s night and day from what Doug Robertson used to write up. Finally glad to have a competent GT beat writer on the AJC!

Joe 12-pack

May 3rd, 2011
11:57 am

He needs to be talking practice squad.

.

Steeler fan

May 3rd, 2011
12:00 pm

Jonathan struggle mightly in a pro-offense. The steeler coaches had to teach him how to pass block and amazing re-teach how to take a hand off in a traditional pro set offense. He barely made the team and played only in the 17th week when were resting players. The transition appeared to be much more difficult for jonathan than the steelers anticipated. Hopefully he will have a much better 2011 season. CPJ is right that the nfl will find nfl talent. But playing in the triple option definately makes your chances for success to play for the steelers much more difficult. 2nd year player Issac Redman from tiny Bowie State dressed for the steelers and play a signficant role as jonathan watched in street cloths. At least jonathan is not blowing up his twitter accound like mendehal.

Ramblin Man

May 3rd, 2011
12:00 pm

BYRDDAWG,
I agree with you on thinking Dwyer would be a great fit for the Steelers and a future starting back only to watch him fall lower and lower on the depth chart. Little known fact some outsiders may not have known is that whereas Dwyer was a great BB for GT he was constantly being watched for weight issues. I think he let the hype get to him as for as the accomplishments in college, then fell into a depresion over his draft status and did not prepare for the draft or Steelers like he should have. True any RB out of the TO will have to learn or relearn some fundamentals, but a true athlete should have no problem with that. If the lockout ends I hope Dwyer has been training properly and people will see his true potentiol. AA should have no problem as he seems to have a good head on his shoulders, a great work ethic, and a positive attitude.

Rodney Dangerfield

May 3rd, 2011
12:50 pm

AA developed really well over last season at the BB position. The first half of the season he seemed tentative running the ball, but in the last three games of the season he ran fearlessly. I wish he had one more year of eligibility to build off of those last three games. Tech needs more like AA!

Ted M

May 3rd, 2011
1:15 pm

Dwyer & Allen’s draft position is going to really hurt the Jackets recruiting. It does not matter how they turn out as pro’s the damage is already done.

Ted M

May 3rd, 2011
1:19 pm

I could not believe Dwyer only got 14 reps w/225 at the combine. That pretty damn weak for 235lbs prospective pro athlete.

Razorjacket

May 3rd, 2011
1:23 pm

Let’s look back at history. Was Billy Sims good enough for the NFL after playing in the wishbone at Oklahoma? Would Marcus Dupree have been good enough, if he had not flamed out. What about Mike Rozier at Nebraska? (I am sure others could name more). They used to ask these same questions when these offenses were more widely used, and once again it comes down to the individual talent, not the sytem, to define ability to play in the NFL.

D A DoubleU G

May 3rd, 2011
1:41 pm

I agree with many of you on here saying it is the player’s ability looked at, not the system. It would take a fool not to recognize that Dwyer or Allen would have been great no matter where they went.

If I were a Tech fan, the biggest concern for me would be recruiting, and continuing to get these calibers of talent to fill the needs of the Triple O.

Over the last 5 years or so, we have seen a revolution in recruiting, and the attitudes of High Schoolers being recruited. Social Media (including these very blogs we are on right now) has given the kids being recruited a sense of entitlement, and a platform to showcase their abilities with absolute ease. All of a sudden we are faced with kids who have unbelievably unrealistic expectations (Crowell), and the second they are fed these expectations by the media and the fans (us), they feel they are about to enter the NFL minor leagues as opposed to a University or Institute of learning to fulfill the required years until NFL eligibility.

I truly feel that from this day on, HS recruits are going to look at the system that will best get them prepared for the NFL. And when they hear the concerns addressed by NFL scouts, it will be a giant red flag in their prima donna minds.

I personally see a huge concrete wall between Paul Johnson’s offense and recruiting the big time running backs for the foreseeable future. Please feel free to tell me I am out of line, but that’s the big picture I see.

Best of luck to Allen. He is a proven worthy competitor on any level.

GTBob

May 3rd, 2011
2:04 pm

I personally see a huge concrete wall between Paul Johnson’s offense and recruiting the big time running backs for the foreseeable future. Please feel free to tell me I am out of line, but that’s the big picture I see.

You certainly aren’t out of line and for the most part you are probably correct. I think that brings up one of the reasons we hired Paul Johnson though which is that recruiting is very difficult at GT with all of the surrounding football powerhouses. Because of his specialized offense we will be more competitive with less highly touted recruits which we usually can’t get anyways. At least, that is the theory. Hiring an NFL head coach and trying to recruit potential NFL players got us a 7-5 record every year.

James Stephenson

May 3rd, 2011
2:20 pm

GT Bob: Hiring an NFL head coach and trying to recruit potential NFL players got us a 7-5 record every year.

That is true but his eye for talent got you guys a 9 win season followed by an ACC championship.

JasonGT

May 3rd, 2011
2:39 pm

It’s not the system at all. If that was the case then GT wouldn’t have had 2 first round wide receivers in the last few years (and I know Calvin was back in the Gailey days but he had Reggie Ball throwing it to him so he didnt get the yards he would have gotten on a better team). Talent makes waves and where GT does well is recruiting big talent out of the smaller schools. People transferring highschools to play on a more recruited team is the heart of this whole prima dona attitude.

GTBob

May 3rd, 2011
2:57 pm

That is true but his eye for talent got you guys a 9 win season followed by an ACC championship.

And it got us a 6-7 season. Most of the starters from last years team were Gailey recruits. I guess the real question going forward is can CPJ win with his own recruits. We will see. Overall Gailey was an awful recruiter who had one decent class. CPJ took that class and ran with it. Something Gailey probably wouldn’t have been able to do.

BYRDDAWG

May 3rd, 2011
3:00 pm

I don’t think PJ will have a problem recruiting backs to play in his system….I think where it’s gonna hurt is recruiting TE & WR! The really good ones want to catch the ball- not just block! He would NEVER have gotten Calvin in my opinion…..

secfactcheck.com

May 3rd, 2011
3:01 pm

Allen is a great, refreshing young man. I wish him the best. One of the few coaching decisions I disagreed with CPJ was putting Allen in the B-Back position. GT hurt on the outside because Allen was not there at least blocking or breaking tackles. The other B-Back guys could have done the job inside.

GT and CPJ are great fits. Recruit the guys that will make it work. Get the defense up to snuff. Offense was down due to turnovers last year but production was good. The three season success directly mirrors the defensive strength or lack thereof. I am optimistic for 2011!

GDBurdell

May 4th, 2011
12:46 pm

So I can’t find where ALL of the other tek draftees are going in the NFL except for Allen (Ravens)

ATLER (ramblin wreck)

May 4th, 2011
5:06 pm

Nice story ken, great job!!!!!!! Keep up the great work. Unlike the 2 idiots you work with. (J.S. & M.B.)

hiveredtech

May 5th, 2011
7:54 am

The NFL must have some appetite for risk…they drafted a complete moron in Cam Newton as the top overall pick…a self-involved thief, liar, and extortionist.

Old Dead Dawg

May 5th, 2011
4:06 pm

Allen and Dwyer are better than any running back we have had in 20 years. I’m sure that they will make it big and lead their respective teams to many Super Bowls. King and Ealey will never make it in the NFL because Boo Boo calls horrible plays.