In the last two weeks, his tweets ran the gamut from declaring Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” as his “jam” to his status as a veteran in the “soup game.”
He tries to show a different side to athletes not always seen on Twitter. He dislikes when athletes post about their workouts and use the hashtag “#RiseAndGrind.” He’s just not really into that.
Allen’s account has just less than 3,500 followers, at least 1,000 more than the next starter on Wisconsin’s defense. He’s an easy follow. He likes to show his personality. His quips at teammates and retweets are spiked with sarcasm and humor. It’s good that he’s an easy follow on Twitter because outside of his long blonde hair — which has been ponytailed in 2013 — he’s sort of tough to follow on the field.
That’s because Allen plays nose guard, one of, if not the most unheralded position in football. Allen could have the game of his life and his row in the box score would look like a rough game for redshirt senior linebacker Chris Borland. It’s just hard to notice his work sometimes.
Transitioning from nose tackle in last season’s 4-3 coaching scheme, Allen now lines up over center, with the quarterback and tailback in his sights and mid-play cravings. Life becomes more difficult once the ball is snapped, but that’s the life of the nose guard, and Allen enjoys it.
“It’s definitely a difficult position, but if you’re playing well and they see you grinding in there with all the double teams — and just how much it sucks sometimes — I think you can gain respect from other guys just through that.”
Or the respect of your coaches, specifically head coach Gary Andersen. Following Wisconsin’s controversial 32-30 loss at Arizona State — where Allen recorded four tackles and slowed much of the Sun Devils’ rushing attack — Andersen praised the senior.
“If you sit back and watch the tape, that’s a big time game out of Beau Allen,” Andersen said Sept. 16. “If he plays like that, he’s going to have an opportunity to move on and play at the next level.”
It was high admiration for a guy who hasn’t spent much time thinking about “the next level.” Allen thinks a specific time occurs when the NFL should come into view for college football players, and for him, that won’t be until he hangs up the cardinal and white for the last time. For now, he’s focusing on standing out in the trenches, still a difficult task for most.
Redshirt senior linebacker Ethan Armstrong says to look at the inside linebackers’ stats to see how well Allen is doing. If Borland and Connor O’Neill or Derek Landisch are making tackles, Allen is doing his job.
“That’s always an indication of if Beau’s doing what he’s doing,” Armstrong said. “If they’re running free and making tackles and the other team hasn’t rushed for 150 yards, I think he’s doing alright.”
That takes a big man pushing around another big man, according to defensive line coach Chad Kauha’aha’a.
“The things that people don’t see are if you watch Beau and the center,” Kauha’aha’a said. “He’s knocking that center back and he’s eating up two blocks and he’s playing in the back side.”
Dealing with the constant double teams and strategic blocking on every play, standing out sometimes comes down to getting a little lucky and being in the right place at the right time, like Allen did week three against Arizona State.
He was one of just three Badgers rushing the punter early in the second quarter. As he saw the ball skate past the Sun Devils punter, Allen’s pace quickened, but Borland was pulling away. Borland crashed in, but after contact, the slightly-slower Allen found the ball resting on the white goal line.
Allen threw his paws on the ball first before his 325-pound body followed in flopping fashion, clearing any doubt of who would control the pigskin. He ran 32 yards, a little bit from left to right, and seized his first career touchdown. It was a rare moment for the nose guard, so he wanted to make it a little more memorable; he just couldn’t.
“If I ever make a big play, I’m always so tired from the play that my celebrations are just terrible,” Allen said. “When I jumped on the ball in the end zone, I was trying to do something cool and be all pumped up, but I was so out of breath. I was trying to talk but I couldn’t say anything.”
That probably made it a rare moment, being speechless in the spotlight. Allen is a jolly giant, joking with reporters in just about every interview after Wednesday’s practice. He’ll usually throw his wit around the room when given the chance.
According to Armstrong, he’ll imitate players or an animated coach, simple stuff, mostly harmless, kind of like his Twitter account. Until you realize he played an integral role his freshman year in helping J.J. Watt stick post-it notes all over former safety Jay Valai’s vehicle. There’s a simple side to Allen, as well as a sly, ruthless one.
“He’s kind of a jokester,” Armstrong said, noting Allen teased him both when he had similarly long hair as well as after he cut it off this week. “He likes to be the center of what’s going on. He likes to prank and he likes to crack jokes.”
He’s sprinted the America flag out to thousands of fans at Camp Randall. He reminds Badger faithful to check their drinks for bees during the late summer games. He’s grown out his golden locks since 2010 and takes tips from women about hair care.
“He blocked a punt last year, and now he’s scoring touchdowns,” Armstrong said. “He’s the most interesting nose guard in the country.”