Frost/Allen connection

I’ve recently contracted an illness that will for surely consume me until the end of April, but more likely will last much longer than that.
I came down with a drastic case of football fever last week as the Huskers suited up for spring practice and continue working toward its spring game April 21.
Listening and reading player reactions to the new Scott Frost system as well as hearing the head man’s thoughts on his new players has me head-over-heels intrigued.
However, one player in particular has me buzzing with anticipation more than maybe any other that I can recall.
Austin Allen -- the hometown kid.
The redshirt freshman entered spring ball with high hopes after finishing winter workouts. The last measurements I saw listed were 6’8” and 210 pounds.
That weight seems a bit light to me, judging by looking at him and talking to him quick over spring break.
There was something about him though that caught my eye the previous two times I’ve talked to him in passing during recent weeks.
The kid is determined and focused. He wants to make an impact and he wants to be on the field in September. And truthfully, it’s all possible.
Just after the first few practices, tight ends coach Sean Beckton pointed to Allen, among others, who have really performed well early on.
I’m paraphrasing here, but I read something along the lines from Beckton saying that Allen was perhaps the most suited of the returning guys for what the Huskers are asking of tight ends also adding that Allen is getting stronger.
Here’s what it comes down to -- if Ozzy can prove to the coaches that he has a full grip of the offensive scheme and that he knows what’s being asked of him, he’ll earn a spot on the field.
That seems like the easiest part. Allen is ‘football smart.’ I’m not breaking any news there, we saw that on Friday nights.
Once Allen gets on the field, he’ll have to diagnose the defense. He has to see how the defense is adjusting to him and understand what to do pre-snap.
Gone are the days of having tight ends line up in-line. For those that didn’t catch a lot of Frost’s offense before now, you’ll see the tight ends flexed out, in the slot, out wide, in the wing or even the backfield.
However, just because they’re not on the line doesn’t mean the tight ends won’t be asked to block -- it’ll just happen on a different spot on the field, according to what coaches have said so far.
What’s intriguing to me is the relationship between Frost and Allen and what that might mean for Allen’s playing chances.
Back in 2016, Nebraska was the first school to offer Allen a scholarship. Just about a week later, Allen’s next offer came in from a new coach at UCF -- Frost himself.
Frost actively pursued Nebraska kids and tried to lure them to the Sunshine state. Some in fact came, like quarterback Noah Vedral, who has now transferred to Nebraska and followed Frost.
It’s funny how things like that work sometimes. Frost wanted Allen because he knows what the Aurora native can do in his explosive and fun offense. Now, we all get to see that unfold in Lincoln.

RICHARD RHODEN can be reached at

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