Wisconsin's Allen living large in the trenches

Wisconsin's Allen living large in the trenches

Published Aug. 29, 2012 8:56 p.m. ET

MADISON, Wis. — The flowing blonde mane and thin mustache curling down below the creases of his mouth suggest Beau Allen is a guy who doesn't take things too seriously.

The words Allen uses to describe his appearance only add to that notion.

"I'm not the best looking guy," Allen said. "But I'm fine with that, man. I'm a D-lineman. That's how it's supposed to be, right?"

The more Allen talks, the more he demonstrates that he's among the most colorful characters on the Wisconsin football team. If there is one word that teammates use most to illustrate his personality, it's fun.


"He's a very fun guy," Badgers defensive tackle Ethan Hemer said. "Real outgoing. A lot of energy. He's so personable with everything that he does. It makes for a unique individual."

Allen, a junior defensive tackle at Wisconsin, isn't afraid to make fun of himself or others. His Twitter account features a variety of short, oddball, entertaining bursts, including: "Wet socks can ruin your entire day" and "Goonies never say die."

"When Beau first came in, I wasn't too sure about him," Badgers defensive end Brendan Kelly said. "The moment you see this kid, he's always got a smile on his face. He always looks like he's scheming. He always seems like he's thinking about trying to slip in a joke or a little pun. 

"Then, I got to know him, and it's just the way the kid is. He's a lot of fun no matter what situation he's in, whether it's on the field or off the field. A lot of his qualities carry over to the field."

Now here's where the contradiction emerges: Despite Allen's fun-loving nature, on the football field, he's the last guy an offensive lineman wants to see barreling up the middle.

Allen stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 335 pounds, which is more than most offensive linemen across the country. But his agility while having such a big body has Wisconsin's coaching staff salivating that he can become an important part of the team's pass-rushing schemes.

Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said that Allen made the biggest jump during spring practice among all his defensive linemen in the pass-rushing category. And Allen's position coach doesn't disagree.

"His fundamentals have come a long way since he's walked in the door," Badgers defensive line coach Charlie Partridge said. "He's confident. He believes that he can make plays, and he's so much more explosive than when he first walked in the door. It's a combination of learning how to play and developing physically and mentally."

In his first two years at Wisconsin, Allen played in all 27 games. Because of his physically mature stature, he is one of just nine players on the roster not to have taken a redshirt season.

Last year, Allen recorded 22 tackles with four sacks as a reserve, and he believes his impact will increase now that he is a starter for the first time.

"I don't want to be just a space eater," Allen said. "Like the big nose guards in the NFL, some of those guys can be typecast that way. I'm excited for the fact that I'm going to be on the field during third down, third-and-long. I don't see myself as just a guy that can plug the middle by any means at all. I'm excited to kind of show that off about myself."

Allen, a Minnetonka, Minn., native, has a family history of athletic success at Wisconsin. Allen's grandfather, Fred Westphal, was a six-time all-American as a member of the Wisconsin swimming team from 1956-59 and a charter inductee into the school's Athletic Hall of Fame. Allen's uncle, John Westphal, was a two-year letterwinner in football at Wisconsin from 1980-81.

That history was part of the reason Allen chose Wisconsin over his other finalists, Minnesota and Notre Dame. He said several cousins still attend Wisconsin, and he makes sure to spend time with them when he can.

"It's kind of cool," Allen said. "We play cards once a week. It's always good to have family close, I think. I really like that."

Then, he was back to talking about his mustache plans three days before Wisconsin's season opener against Northern Iowa. With Allen, the fun is never far away.

"This is my first mustache ever," he said. "I haven't trimmed it up in a while. I'm definitely going to have it nice and clean for the game."

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