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July 26, 2013
CHICAGO - Ricardo Allen always has goals that seem unattainable.
That's the only way he can stay motivated to "be great," one of the mottos he lives by.
But, then, he'll point to last season, a down year by his standards, and he'll still say how he had three games in which he didn't allow a catch.
So what's the big deal about not intending to allow any in his final season for the Boilermakers? Even in practice.
Allen already has told teammate Dolapo Macarthy that. Allen joked he'd get a pass interference call on him before Macarthy would get a catch.
Not that he actually would get called for a flag in games.
"It's going to be the toughest catch of a lifetime," Allen said Thursday at Big Ten media day about opposing receivers. "I don't PI them, I just give them something to think about. I never grab. Sometimes I think, 'I should have PIed him. But if they have a chance to catch the ball, I'm going to try to get it out. I'm giving them the ground that every time you go against me, you have to give me your 110 or you're not going to catch a ball.
"I feel like I've developed a respect of all the wide receivers, once they go against me, they will try to get a catch on me, they will go as hard as they can. That was one of my goals, I don't necessarily PI them, I just tell them, 'You're not going to catch a ball on me.' "
After coming off a season in which he was limited because of injuries, Allen was happy to report that his body feels good and he's had a productive offseason.
He said he's gotten stronger, feels faster and added some weight, up to about 191. He knows he'll lose some of those pounds during camp, but he'd still like to play at about 188 this season. That'd be a couple more pounds than he played at last season.
"I just wanted to develop my game a bit more to help me get off blocks, to help me get more fits in the run, to be a more aggressive player," Allen said.
Always one to look for new ways to train and challenge himself, Allen added a ladder routine and worked in the sand volleyball pit at his apartment complex this offseason. He actually played some volleyball, but typically he'd use the court at night to work on foot speed and keeping his steps light.
Much of his work has been geared toward man tendencies, both in anticipation that Purdue could play more man this season and also because he feels like he's knowledgeable enough already to have a firm grasp on zone coverage.
"I would love to play man," he said. "I didn't like the man I played last year. I was very conservative because I couldn't do as much as I wanted to with my legs. But I like playing man."
Perhaps if the Boilermakers play more man coverage - and how much they do most likely will depend on the opponent - Allen can see a nice boost in his statistics. And if those increase, maybe he'll have a legit chance for one of the awards he landed on the watch lists that he landed for this preseason, the Jim Thorpe Award and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy.
Not that he's measuring himself by that.
"I don't look at any of that stuff. That stuff is for my mom," he said. "Once they see stuff online, I tell them don't tell me. I don't care about that stuff. I care about winning, and I think we can (this year)."
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