Linebacker Jeffrey Allison had a breakout game against Alabama Saturday, his best individual performance as a Bulldog to date. The sophomore finished with a career-high 14 tackles, half of which were solo tackles. Allison’s performance has earned him this school year’s first Top Dog of the Week honor.
WR: You’re coming off your best individual performance. How are you feeling right now?
JA: I’m feeling good, kind of upset. I feel like I could’ve done a little bit better, but not just myself. As a team I feel like we could’ve done better. I’m just proud of the way we came out to compete, so right now I’m feeling good just because I know how we can play and what we can fix.
WR: I read in The Fresno Bee about how much this game meant to you because of the 36 family members that were there, most of them Florida natives, and your mission to get their minds off of the devastation being caused by Hurricane Irma. Do you feel like you accomplished what you set out to do in that regard?
JA: When we got there I actually tried to play with a clear mind. I don’t want to think about things like that, but as a whole, I feel like I did clear their minds and brought them a sight of enjoyment because I don’t actually get to see my family like that. I actually think I cleared their minds just by having them have that connection with everybody together. It was a pretty good feeling, so I think they enjoyed it.
WR: You received Academic All-Mountain West and Mountain West Scholar-Athlete honors your freshman year. How are you able to balance being on the football team and being a student so well?
JA: It’s just being a student of the process. Like they say, ‘school comes first.’ Without school, I won’t be here on the football team because I have to get my education first if I want to be able to play, so I take that as the major key. I’ve got to get my work done. If I don’t get my work done, no football. But when I step on the football field I try to use what I do in my schoolwork.
WR: What are some of the biggest changes you’ve felt when comparing your freshman season to your sophomore season, so far?
JA: As a team, we came more together. I can really say that we’re a family now. We probably had our little differences last year, but we’re all together. As for myself, I feel like I’m playing a lot faster. Last year I was trying to get a feel for the college game, since it was was my freshman year, but I feel like I got equipped to it after a couple of games last year. This year I’m starting off kind of fast. As a whole, I’m just proud, just proud of what this team has really become.
WR: How are you looking to improve your game during your remaining time at Fresno State?
JA: To become more of a leader, play a lot faster, be more physical and really, I could just tackle every aspect of my game. Also, focus on the aspect of becoming a leader for this defense, for the team, just to keep pushing my brothers so we can be better together.
WR: How do you plan to make sure the performances like the one against Alabama become more of a constant?
JA: Just putting that game in the past, keep trying to make progress, just keep moving forward. You can’t rely on memories of what you did and everything, you got to push it to the side – keep ballin’, keep practicing, keep working.
WR: What would you say is the most difficult part of playing the linebacker position?
JA: Reading the keys. You have to try to read what the running back is doing, read the formation, read o-linemen. I can say reading is the most difficult part.
WR: I know it’s a little early, but do you have any plans for yourself after college?
JA: If I could make it to the pros, that’d be great, but if not, try to open up a recreation center for kids and, you know, do a lot of sports kinesiology with them – football, basketball, whatever – for kids that don’t really have the opportunity to, if it’s lack of income or things like that.