Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Dennis Allen hired as Raiders Coach

The Raiders' new head coach may not have any head coaching to look back on. But he is not free of experience and success. He certainly had something that impressed Reggie McKenzie, and it is likely to be the same thing that had him rising in the coaching ranks as quickly as he has.

Allen is just 39 years of age, but football is in his blood and has always been part of his life. His father Grady was a football star, playing linebacker at Texas A&M and later in the NFL for the Atlanta Falcons.

Dennis was also recruited by Texas A&M and played four years at defensive back for the Aggies. While he was at Texas A&M, the team went to three straight Cotton Bowls. Allen had the game clinching interception in 1993 over Texas to punch their ticket to the Cotton Bowl.

Unlike his father, Dennis never played a down in the NFL. He was in Bills camp in 1994 but never made the team. After his playing days were over, he went back to Texas A&M as a graduate assistant working with the Aggies' secondary for four seasons. In his final three seasons as part of the Aggies' coaching staff, the team went to the Cotton Bowl, Sugar Bowl, and Alamo Bowl.

He moved on after that to become the secondary coach at Tulsa University. He spent just two seasons at Tulsa before the NFL came calling, and it was the team for which his father had played — the Atlanta Falcons.

Allen served as a defensive assistant with the Falcons for four seasons. His first full season was spent under head coach Dan Reeves as the Falcons made the playoffs with a 9-6-1 record. In Allen's first season with the team, the defense rose from being ranked 24th the previous season to 8th in points allowed and from 30th to 19th in yards allowed.

continued on Thoughts From the Darkside