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John Allen Era Begins at LHU

Written by: on Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

By Bill Albright
WesternPAFootball Writer

LOCK HAVEN — Are you ready for some football?

With the beginning of spring football practice culminated by the annual Crimson & White intrasquad game, a new era in Lock Haven University football began under the leadership of “rookie” head coach John Allen.

Allen is no stranger to the LHU football community, having served as an assistant to the Bald Eagle program from 1996 through 2003. During the past several years, Allen was a member of the Penn State football family just up the road in Happy Valley.

Excited about the opportunity when he accepted the position as head coach of the Bald Eagles, Allen’s excitement level is even higher now as he led his troops through spring practice that was culminated Saturday by the annual Crimson & White scrimmage.

“Absolutely,” said Allen about his elevated excitement level. “It has been a great opportunity for me and the players have really done a great job of preparing themselves and doing what we asked them to do. We have a long way to go from the execution standpoint with the technique stuff, but they are playing hard, they are excited, enthused and they are having fun.”

Although it was just a spring controlled scrimmage, it didn’t take a rocket scientist to make one observation about what was taking place on the all-weather turf. The young athletes in Crimson and White uniforms were having fun playing the game of football.

“They are really having fun playing the game and that is the biggest thing I have tried to explain to them and that we are trying to get across to them,” said Allen. “They started playing football at a young age and that is because they loved the game and had fun doing it. It doesn’t change now and I want them to have fun. We (the coaches) are going to demand some things from them and we are going to ask them to do a lot of things, but at the end of the day, let’s have fun doing it. I think they are starting to see that our coaches have fun coaching, I enjoy what I am doing and hopefully that will set an example for them.”

As for what Allen and his assistants were looking for in the scrimmage, it was all about effort.

“The biggest thing I want from them today was effort,” he said. “I wanted to see some effort and I wanted to see some enthusiasm and excitement. I also wanted to see if we could make some plays from both sides of the ball and I wanted it to go back and forth and whether one side or the other could score, that is something I am not really concerned about now. It was all about effort, enthusiasm, excitement and making plays and I was able to see that from them today.”

Although Allen has only been in control of the LHU program for a little more than a month, he and his staff have been busy hitting the recruiting trail and they are excited about that aspect of the program.

“It has gone well and we have a large group of them here with us today,” said Allen. “It is winding down, but we still have about five or six more guys who we are actively recruiting to finish up this class and we will announce that here fairly soon. I have only been it for about a month and I had to jump right into it, but Terry Szucs, Chris Sprague and Eric Saenz have really done a great job of staying after kids throughout this entire transition and I take my hats off to them for doing a great job.”

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