One tackle against San Jose State two weekends ago may not be a statistic that jumps out at anyone who reads the box score, but for true freshman defensive lineman Beau Allen, it was an exciting moment that he will never forget.
The Minnetonka, MN native hopes there will be a lot more tackles that Badger fans will remember in the years to come. But right now Allen has a lot more things on his mind than just football, like his Econ 101 homework.
“You have to be disciplined. I can’t just go to bed; I have to go home and do chapter four of my econ homework tonight,” Allen said. “I can’t just play Halo: Reach either.”
While a lot of Allen’s fellow freshmen are playing Halo, he is trying to stay focused on making that big jump on the field from the high school to collegiate level.
Allen comes to Wisconsin as a highly touted prospect. He was a finalist for Minnesota’s Mr. Football, and according to Rivals, the fifth best prospect coming out of Minnesota. He realizes that things are different now, and that it’s not just the change in speed of the game that everyone talks about.
“Focusing on the little things is important,” he said. “If you take a bad step in high school you can correct yourself just by using your power or your size, but in college you can get buried by being off one inch with your footwork.”
Allen’s main goal right now is to increase his production on the field and become a better player overall.
“I have only had that one tackle in about 40 snaps,” Allen said. “I just want to get more tackles, more pressures [on the quarterback] and focus on the little things so that I can improve my technique.”
Defensive line coach Charlie Partridge agreed with Allen’s assessment but feels that he also has a lot of potential.
“The way he approaches the game and works on his fundamentals gives him a chance to be successful,” Partridge said. “Freshmen like Beau need the drill work; thousands and thousands of reps to build muscle memory so that when they are out there they don’t have to think about it.”
Although Allen may have some work to do to achieve the results he desires, junior defensive lineman J.J. Watt has been impressed by what he has seen of Allen so far.
“He is one of the most college-ready defensive tackles that I’ve seen come out of high school,” Watt said. “He’s only 18 or 19 years old and he already has a Big Ten, defensive tackle’s body along with some great technique and footwork.”
However, his impressive size and skills don’t keep Allen from escaping the typical freshman treatment.
“He’s not allowed to ride in the elevator or sit on the leather couches,” Watt added.
Watt also mentioned that the team has nicknamed him “The Polar Bear” because of his apparent likeness to those in the Coca-Cola commercials.
What Allen may not realize about being kept from riding the elevator is those extra stairs may help him with the little things, like his footwork, that are so important. That footwork will earn him more playing time, more production on the field and may even allow him to earn a spot on the coveted leather couches.