Purdue’s Ricardo Allen says he can be one of best CBs in the country
By John Mutka Post-Tribune senior correspondent July 25, 2013 8:44PM
Penn State's Brandon Moseby-Felder lands on his head after making a catch and getting tackled by Purdue cornerback Ricardo Allen during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012, in West Lafayette, Ind. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings
Updated: August 27, 2013 6:43AM
CHICAGO — Ohio State may have gone 12-0 last year, but Purdue corner back Ricardo Allen ranked Penn State No. 1 on his opponents list.
The visiting Nittany Lions thumped Purdue, which was limited to a season-low nine points. Two weeks after the Boilermakers took Ohio State into overtime at Columbus before succumbing 29-22.
“Probably the toughest team we played,” said the Purdue senior Thursday at the Big Ten media days.
Penn State went 8-4 after being slapped with a four-year bowl ban, a penalty spinning off the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal. Its record was unexpected, considering that numerous players transferred from Happy Valley.
Most notable to depart was Silas Redd, who exited after rushing for 1,241 yards in his last year at Penn State. At USC, he was hampered by a nagging knee injury, but still netted 905 yards and nine TDs.
Currently, Redd is on watch lists for the Maxwell and Doak Walker awards.
“Everybody counted them out,” said Allen. “But they came together. You could see how badly they wanted it and they rallied as a team.
“No. 28 — I don’t know his name — was a man among boys.” he added.
Allen was referring to 1,000-yard rusher Zach Zwinak, a downhill fullback-type who bruised Purdue for 134 yards rushing in his first start, then bulled for 141 yards against Nebraska.
Allen didn’t play against Ohio State, but his teammates were impressed with Carlos Hyde in the hardest-hitting category. He cast a dissenting vote for Minnesota’s Donnell Kirkwood.
The Gophers’ three-year letterman rushed for 926 yards and averaged 4.2 yards per carry. He scored six touchdowns. In a shocking 44-20 rout of Purdue he hammered for 134 yards in 22 carries
Allen didn’t skip a beat on the differences between Danny Hope, who was fired after going 22-28 in four years, and Darrel Hazell, who was hired after guiding Kent State to an 11-3 record, including its first bowl in 40 years.
“Coach Hope was a player’s coach,” he said. “I’m not saying he (Hazell) isn’t, but it’s more like tough love with him. “He demands respect. He’s all business. If you don’t get the job done you’re not going to be out there.”
Allen is Purdue’s career leader with four interceptions for touchdowns, the last being a 39-yard score against Marshall on Sept. 29.
“If I get my hands on the ball a bit more I can be one of the top corners in the country,” he said, referring to himself as “somewhat of a game changer.”
Going into fall camp, Hazell expects to pick his quarterback from three candidates after two weeks of practice.
“They all have great arms,” said tight end Gabriel Holmes. “They’re getting their reps so (not knowing) doesn’t bother me at all.”
Rob Henry is the most experienced quarterback, having played in 11 games, but only threw 38 passes last season. Three of his 21 completions were for touchdowns.
His mobility appeals to Holmes, who caught 25 passes last year. “He’s probably the best runner.”
Holmes hopes for an expanded role.
“My job is to make the plays on third-and-five, be someone they can count on.” he said.
That would be a major step forward. Last year the Boilermakers ranked 11th in third down conversions at 30.6 per cent. Only Minnesota was worse in the Big Ten.