Arkansas assistant hopes to gain promotion
Posted: Thursday December 30, 1999 10:55 PM
Houston Nutt will name a permanent defensive coordinator after the Cotton Bowl. Andy Lyons/Allsport
DALLAS (AP) -- Bobby Allen is trying to forget that he has a job audition in front of 68,000 on Saturday.
Allen took over as Arkansas' defensive coordinator when Keith Burns left the Razorbacks Dec. 7 to become head coach at Tulsa. Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said it would be awkward to name a coordinator immediately and that he would make a decision after the Cotton Bowl game against Texas.
Allen was Nutt's defensive coordinator at Murray State and Boise State before following Nutt to Arkansas.
"This game is so much bigger than about trying to get a job," Allen said. "It's about going out there and playing the University of Texas and having the opportunity to play in the Cotton Bowl."
Besides, he said, "I think every time you go out there, it's an audition. The way we always felt on the defense, it might be Keith's name out there but we're all ultimately responsible when it's all said and done.
"Whatever happens, the rest of it will just work itself out," he said.
Nutt said the transition had been smooth. "It's not like there's a big overhaul," he said. "Bobby called a lot of the plays or helped Keith call them."
The biggest change will be that Allen will be on the sideline for the first time in about three years. Louis Campbell, the former secondary coach and now director of football operations, was asked by Nutt to coach the secondary for the bowl game and will replace Allen in the press box.
Allen said the coaches planned to visit the Cotton Bowl Thursday and do a walk-through to become familiar with the headsets.
"The thing you love about Keith is that we felt like we were always on the same page as far as Xs and Os and basically our philosophies," Allen said.
He also said the players had handled the transition well. "They just came to work every day and gave their best, and that's all we can ask," he said.
He said Nutt would stick his head into a defensive coaches meeting to ask about practice, "but as far as the real nuts and bolts of the game, he's letting us to do it."
Allen also said Nutt had offered some insight into the personality of Greg Davis, Texas' offensive coordinator who was on the Arkansas staff with Nutt in 1992.
Allen said Texas has several big-play players and that the group starts with quarterback Major Applewhite, who reminds him of Dusty Bonner at Kentucky.
"A very smart, intelligent quarterback who makes good decisions with the football, understands their offense, seems to never really get them in a bad play and he handles pressure well," Allen said.
The Longhorns do a lot of things to get the ball to Kwame Cavil, who set a Big 12 record this year when he caught 100 passes.
Concentrate on Cavil and wide receiver Montrell Flowers has game-breaking speed, Allen said. Add a huge offensive line and running back Hodges Mitchell, "who is lightning when he touches it," and the Longhorns are difficult to defend.
Nebraska hurt Texas with the blitz in the Big 12 championship game and the Longhorns have been preparing for something similar from Arkansas.
"I don't think you ever got in there saying, 'Hey, we're definitely going to come after them in this situation,'" he said. "There is no doubt, if you look at us on film, that's what we like to do. We believe in trying to put pressure on a quarterback or trying to pressure the running game. Any game, you've got to be able to know when you want to come with it and when you want to back off."
Saturday, Allen will make that decision.
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