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Kaytron Allen’s Development As Complete Back Improving Under New Offensive Leadership

Penn State football is just a few weeks away from its annual Blue-White Game with an all-new offensive scheme. After a complete shakeup of last year’s staff, Penn State’s new offensive coordinator, Andy Kotelnicki, has had a short time to develop his vision of what the offense should look like and how it should perform.

The talented running back duo of Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen were key players the Nittany Lions relied on to keep the offense moving last season.

“It isn’t just you standing in the backfield,” Allen said after spring practice Tuesday. “You can be in the slot, you can be the outside receiver, you’re just doing different types of things.”

Allen led the team with 902 rushing yards last season, outpacing Singleton by 200 yards. He averaged over five yards per carry and was responsible for six rushing touchdowns. However, Allen added that there’s more to the position than the typical duties of a tailback.

“You’ve got to do more than just run the ball. You got to play without the ball, you have to catch the ball, you got to help other players on your team and block for them,” Allen said. “You can’t just be one-dimensional. I can’t just want to run the ball. I got to do everything for the team.”

Allen was significantly less utilized in Penn State’s passing game last season compared to Singleton, tallying 81 yards on 14 catches while Singleton hauled in 308 yards on 26 catches. Kotelnicki’s offense is focusing on installing a creative way to get the running backs involved including a run-pass-option package and outside zone run schemes.

“That’s going to create a lot of natural distortion. For our run scheme and our running backs, you always want to have balance in how you’re going to run the ball but having that play and running that play is something that not everyone does,” Kotelnicki said last week.

Kotelnicki added that both coaches and players alike are invested in becoming the best possible versions of themselves each day.

“Aside from what myself and the rest of the staff are doing on offense, the players are buying in because they are yearning to perform at a high level,” Kotelnicki said.

So far, Kotelnicki likes what he sees in the Penn State offense, highlighting his appreciation for the commitment the players are showing toward the new scheme installation.

“I have been in every day since winter workouts to now, and I’ve been really impressed with the players, even just collectively as a team and their willingness to compete — to fight, to sacrifice their own time to work ahead with installations and things and being engaged,” Kotelnicki said. “I can tell you collectively, I’ve been really impressed with everybody.”

Additionally, Allen added that the running back room is putting in the work during the first few weeks of spring practices to adapt to its new offensive scheme and is set on proving its nationwide dominance in the position.

“We’re trying to get better every day…doing certain things that we’re not comfortable doing,” Allen said. “We are the number one running back room in the country. That’s what we want to prove.”

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About the Author

Cooper Cazares

Cooper is a sophomore majoring in digital and print journalism from Virginia Beach, Va. He can be found with a long face on most Sunday afternoons for he is unfortunately a lifelong Washington Commanders fan. When he isn't watching sports, Cooper is usually tearing up at "Rudy" or taking a well deserved nap. To reach him, follow him on instagram (@cooper_cax) or on twitter (@CooperCazares). You can also email him at [email protected].

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