- Heather Dinich, ESPN Staff Writer
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Earlier this week, I spoke to Georgia Tech's Anthony Allen about his upcoming role in the Jackets' offense now that leading rusher Jonathan Dwyer has decided to leave school early for the NFL. On Wednesday, coach Paul Johnson said Allen will enter this spring as the B-back. Here are the highlights of my interview with Allen, who could be Georgia Tech's next 1,000-yard rusher:
How did you take the news that Dwyer was leaving and how do you see this affecting your role?
Anthony Allen: The first thing, I was happy for Jon. He gets the opportunity to go to the NFL and do some big things with the rest of his life. Another part of me would say it’s a good friend leaving the program, a good player who’s dedicated to the team, dedicated to the school. As far as my role goes, it opens an opportunity for me to compete. We’ve got some good backs back there competing for that B-back position. We can get some more touches, do some more things next year.
Did Dwyer talk to you about his decision? Did you know it was coming?
AA: Oh yeah, I knew it was coming. With us being the same position, running backs, we hang out sometimes, but me and Jon definitely talked about it. I asked him questions about me leaving, and he asked me questions about him leaving. I knew what he was going to do, what his heart was leaning towards.
Did that influence you at all to stay?
AA: Oh, I don’t want to make it seem like, ‘Oh, Jon’s, gone, so I’m going to stay.’ I don’t want to make it seem like that, but it definitely played a part in my decision.
What do you think you’re capable of next year? Have you even thought about individual goals?
AA: You always think about individual goals. I’m waiting to see what’s going to happen after spring time, when we get into camp and everything. When I see what exactly I’ll be doing, I’ll make my goals from there, but I know when I get the ball in my hands I’m going to try to make something happen with it.
Is there any chance of you playing any A-back, or is it pretty much a given that you’ll be a B-back?
AA: I don’t even know. The coaches aren’t back yet. I haven’t met with Coach yet to talk about next year. I’m kind of taking this week to relax a bit. Of course when Coach comes back in we’ll talk about what we’re going to do for next year and we’ll find out.
Do you think you guys could be as productive offensively without Dwyer and, what is it, two starters on the offensive line?
AA: I mean of course, that’s how college football goes. You lose players and you get more in. It’s just a matter of us staying consistent.
What was up with the rumors I heard about you possibly leaving early?
AA: I sent my stuff in to the draft board. I had my two years of tape from Louisville, along with this year. I was just weighing the possibilities, if I went into the draft what would go on, but I talked to my family about it, and of course we decided to stay in school.
Are you willing to share what they said?
AA: I didn’t want to leave the Georgia Tech fans after just one year. I wanted to come back and of course get my degree and everything like that.
I mean the draft advisory board.
AA: Oh, you’re talking about them. [He laughed.] I said all I want to know is what round y’all are projecting me in. Let me know if it’s going to be in the first two, and if it’s not, then I’m straight. If you tell me it’s not the first two rounds, I’m good. I don’t need to know any more.
With all of the depth back there, do you want to be the guy, or will it be a group effort?
AA: We’ve got some great backs. I’m a big guy, but I played the A-back position. Coach is going to do whatever he can to get the best guys on the field. If you watch tape from his early years at Georgia Southern and Navy and everything, he’s always had a main B-back and a guy who came in to relieve him, and his A-backs rotated. I feel we’re going to do the same thing this year, regardless of who’s at the B-back position.