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August 13, 2012OXFORD, Miss. -- Much has been said about Hugh Freeze's offensive tempo, and tight end Ferbia Allen doesn't think it's been exaggerated.
It's days like Monday, when two full practices are on the docket, that Allen is thankful for his summer with strength coach Paul Jackson. The senior from Pine Bluff, Ark., isn't sure how he would have made it through without it.
Allen is 15 pounds heavier - sitting at 250 pounds - and in improved shape. That's good because the offense requires him to move a lot.
"Last year I was around 235-240, which is small for a tight end," Allen said. "So I added this weight. Coach Paul (Jackson) has been doing a great job. It helps a lot. You need that weight to try to push guys around."
"You've got to be in shape for this offense. I'm in a lot better shape than when we first started. When we first started, I was begging to get out after three or four plays. Everybody's getting in shape on offense."
Allen focusing heavily on improving his route running. In this offense, the tight end isn't just a sixth blocker. Allen and Jamal Mosley have spent considerable time split out to a side and running downfield as one of the quarterback's primary reads.
It's exciting for the position, but it also requires some extra studying.
"He's been throwing in quite a bit over the past few days," Allen said. "But I guess it's all pretty much over with. I'm sure he will have a few different plays to throw in. But I think it's pretty much in for what we're going to run now.
"It's all coming together. It's way different from last year. Everything is quick, quick, quick, no huddle. We huddle the first time or whatever, but after we are out there, we might switch in a person, but it's constant pace."
Allen has bought into the scheme and believes it will be successful. It tests the defense from conditioning, mental and discipline standpoints. While the hope is for the opponents to tire as the game moves along, there's also the chance the Rebels can set a pace that allows a few big plays.
The quarterback race remains undecided, and the playbook isn't all the way in, but Allen has seen enough to trust the coaching staff.
"It's an advantage for us and it's different," Allen said. "I don't think a lot of teams will be expecting that right now. I'm hoping it will throw them off. I'm hoping they won't get a chance to line up, and hopefully we'll have a play to run to that side where they're not lined up and get us a big gain."
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