When coach Hugh Freeze was named head coach of the Arkansas State Red Wolves, he spoke about bringing in coaches which would help bring a new attitude and some excitement to the program.
Enter Tom Allen. Allen is the Red Wolves assistant head coach and linebackers coach, and he is intense. Very intense.
His coaching style can be noticed on the sidelines during each game, as well as in practice. He likes to jump around, fist-pump, and will even do the occasional flip when he gets excited. That enthusiasm has worn off on his players, and it has shown on the field.
Coach Allen sat down with RedWolfReport.com to give his thoughts on his corps of linebackers.
"We really have a great group of guys playing for us," said Allen. "We we first got here, we wanted to sell the idea that we needed to utilize our depth, and our guys have bought into that. With our offense being the way it is, we need to be able to go two and sometimes three deep on our depth chart in order to keep guys fresh. Our guys have bought into that, and not a one of them have been selfish about how we split up playing time. I'm very pleased with that."
Allen also gave high praise for several of his guys.
"We have some great kids at mike linebacker," said Allen. "Nathan Herrold, Nick Nelms, and Qushaun Lee all rotate there, and they have all made some great plays this year. Having that many guys make big plays helps you keep everyone fresh because you can rotate them in at anytime. That is an advantage for us defensively."
He also stated that one guy has separated himself from the pack as the leader of the group.
"Demario Davis has separated himself from the group," said Allen. "He is a leader not only verbally, but he is also a leader on the field in how he makes plays. He is just getting better and better each week, and you like to see that in a guy like him."
Allen also praised the play of Najel Byrd.
"Byrd just continues to get better for us also," said Allen. "He is a great compliment to Davis. I've been very pleased with him, as well as our entire group."
The Red Wolves are flying high and enjoying a five game winning streak. They are atop the Sun Belt Conference standings, and will play a Florida Atlantic team which is win-less thus far this year. However, none of the coaches are taking that for granted.
"We can't worry about them not having any wins this year," said Allen. "You can not over-look that at all. We just have to continue to be focused on what we do, and go down and do our best to win. We believe that playing tough defense is the key to winning on the road, so we are going to continue to focus on our techniques and doing what it takes to come back home with a victory."
While the coaches are not speaking about being bowl eligible, Allen did say that it is great to be on top of the conference.
"It is a very good feeling to be on top," said Allen. "Every coach on this staff has been in a situation where we did not control our own destiny. It is a tough spot to be in when you come up short because someone else wins out. We like that we are on top right now, and we do control our own destiny. We don't have to rely on anyone else to get us to where we want to go. We just have to go out and get the job done ourselves."
Earlier in the week, I transcribed a thought on twitter. That thought was re-tweeted by several Red Wolf players and coaches. The tweet is as follows: Got to love @HughFreeze_ASU's not talking about bowl eligibility. Shows he is hungry and on a mission. #NotSatisfiedYet .
Allen spoke about that tweet, and how the staff and the team are using the word "hungry" as motivation.
"We are hungry, very hungry." said Allen. "We have spoken about that very thing with the team this week. What do wolves do when they get hungry? They attack. Get ready to see us attack even more."
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