Allen takes over for Dwyer in Ga. Tech backfield
Jonathan Dwyer is off to the NFL, but Georgia Tech’s potent
rushing attack might not miss a beat.
Anthony Allen moves over from A-back to the featured B-back
position in coach Paul Johnson’s spread option offense, and he
could be even more of a threat than Dwyer, now a rookie with the
Allen averaged 9.7 yard per carry last season and is convinced
that figure doesn’t have to decline despite the switch and a
”Who says I can’t match it,” asked the speedy 229-pound
senior, breaking into a smile.
Allen had a Louisville record 275-yard rushing effort in 2007 as
a sophomore before transferring. He is now at more of his natural
position, running from behind the quarterback after playing on the
wing last season.
”I think Anthony will have a really good year,” Johnson said
after Georgia Tech’s third practice session. ”He’s a very talented
guy and I think he’s excited about moving in there.
”He actually was a B-back when he came here. That’s where he
first started. So it isn’t like he’s going back there and trying to
learn from scratch.”
Allen, from Tampa, Fla., had just 64 carries last season, but
gained 618 yards and scored seven touchdowns, one receiving. He
broke off an 82-yard TD against Clemson and had a 60-yard run
against Florida State.
Dwyer, who declared for the NFL draft after his junior season,
carried 235 times a year ago as he repeated the 1,395-yard rushing
total that earned him ACC Offensive Player of the Year honors as a
”I can’t lie. I’m really looking forward to that part,” Allen
said when asked about the extra touches he’ll get at B-back.
A key element in the Georgia Tech offense is the exchange
between quarterback and B-back. Joshua Nesbitt missed spring
practice because of ankle surgery, but Allen said things are good
between them after working on handoffs during the summer.
Although Dwyer left a year early, Nesbitt gives Georgia Tech a
senior leader as the Yellow Jackets try to repeat as ACC champions
in Johnson’s third season as coach.
”You don’t have to worry because you know Joshua knows what he
is doing and is going to make the right reads,” Allen said. ”It’s
In addition to Dwyer, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, defensive
end Derrick Morgan and safety Morgan Burnett left early for the
NFL. But the Yellow Jackets list 15 returning starters from a team
that finished 11-3 last season. Georgia Tech beat Clemson for the
ACC title before losing to Iowa in the Orange Bowl.
Despite the returnees, Georgia Tech was picked to finish third
in the ACC’s Coastal Division during preseason media voting.
”We’re not worried about it,” Allen said. ”They did the same
thing to us last year. We just use it as motivation that people are
still looking at us as underdogs. We’ll prove ’em wrong
”People talk about the players we lost, but I’d rather focus on
the 15 starters coming back,” Johnson said. ”This is the first
time since I’ve been here that we have a large senior class.”
The Yellow Jackets will hold their fourth practice on Sunday as
they work toward the opener on Sept 4 at home against South
Carolina State. Georgia Tech plays at Kansas the next week before
opening the ACC season at North Carolina on Sept. 18.
”It’s been rough. It’s been hot,” Allen said of the first
three days of practice. ”We’ve been making it happen, though.
We’re looking good out there. Real good.”