BATON ROUGE, La. — When people can even contemplate the idea of a defensive lineman as a Heisman Trophy candidate, you are dealing with a very unusual physical specimen.
That is the case for Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen, who is giving opposing offenses nightmares on a regular basis this season. Allen has 6 sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss, but it’s one play in particular that has everyone talking.
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“I see him jumping over that tailback that tried to cut him and hitting the quarterback underneath the jaw,” said LSU interim coach Ed Orgeron. “Great effort. Tremendous athlete. Good hip flexibility. Great hands. Very well-coached. Plays with a motor.”
On that particular play — a leaping sack of Texas A&M quarterback Trevor Knight — Allen demonstrates why he and the entire Alabama defense are so versatile. Though an edge-rusher by trade, he is lined up as a nose tackle in a 3-4 alignment and simply bulls his way through any potential blockers.
“I’d say every SEC team has a great front seven,” said LSU center Ethan Pocic. “But I was just watching the Texas A&M game when (Allen) jumped over the running back. That was a real, real explosive play.”
Allen’s talent isn’t putting a fear factor through the Tigers, though. As fullback J.D. Moore pointed out, Allen actually took advantage of a miscue by the blocking back on the play.
“That was a play you don’t see every day,” Moore said. “But I think that’s kind of a sin for running backs to cut in the A-game. He went low, and he had the right angle to jump right over him.”
As Moore sees it, LSU will be fine if it minimizes mistakes, like the poor blocking technique that led to Allen’s highlight-reel sack.
“Hopefully we don’t commit the same cardinal sin,” Moore said. “Obviously they’ve got great athletes up front. But we see that same physicality every week with our guys.”