By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Wednesday, January 25th, 2012 at 9:34 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Spent a lot of time the last two days digging into the background of Dennis Allen, the choice of Reggie McKenzie to be the next coach of the Raiders.
Talked with Allen’s high school coach, Tim Edwards, (Allen played for the L.D. Bell Blue Raiders in high school) as well as his college coach at Texas A&M, R.C. Slocum. Reached a pair of his former college teammates and former NFL Players in Terry Mickens and Hunter Goodwin, as well as Allen’s father Grady, a former NFL player with the Atlanta Falcons.
“He’s always been ahead of the game,” Slocum said. “He’s mature beyond his years.”
Slocum said Allen, who was under consideration for the St. Louis Rams job that went to Jeff Fisher, had three different job offers when he left the Atlanta Falcons for the New Orleans Saints. According to Grady Allen, his son’s mentor while with the Falcons was longtime defensive coordiantor and defensive backs coach Emmitt Thomas.
Said Grady Allen: “He’s always had a knack for being around the ball, making plays, and he probably played at a level maybe one or two steps above what his athletic ability would lead you to believe that he could play because he’s such a student of the game.”
Click here for a link to the story which runs in Thursday’s Bay Area News Group papers.
Raiders punter Shane Lechler, another part of the Texas A&M family, was a redshirt in 1995 during Dennis Allen’s senior year at Texas A&M and was the Aggies’ punter when Allen served as a graduate assistant coach.
Lechler told reporters at the Pro Bowl he was intrigued to see what Allen can do as a head coach.
Near the end of our conversation, Slocum relayed the story about how the East Bernard High School standout switched from quarterback to punter.
“I got him one day and said, you know, you can hang around here for a few years and probably play some quarterback, because you’re a good athlete. But if you work on your kicking you can kick for a long, long time and make a living doing it,” Slocum said. “I told him, what I want you to do is go over there every day with the deep snappers and work every day on your punting and you’ll be the best punter in college football. Next time you see him tell him he owes coach Slocum.”