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We’ve all heard and read what everyone around
the Giants has to say about first-round pick Will
Allen. So we decided to delve a little deeper and
seek out Allen’s position coach from his senior
season at Syracuse. Steve Bush, former head coach
of Manalapan High School in New Jersey, now serves
as SU’s quarterbacks coach. However, last year,
Bush manned the secondary for the Orangemen and
got to watch and interact with Allen on a daily
basis. Here’s what Coach Bush had to say about Allen:
What stands out about Will to you?
Oh, so much. He’s a great competitor; he has great
speed, excellent feet. His change-of-direction ability
is strong as well. He can tackle real well, and
is an excellent cover guy. He’s a tough guy that
will never back down from a challenge and a guy
who’s a real playmaker. He’s a very smart player,
a real intelligent kid. He picks things up pretty
quickly and retains it.
Many of the so-called draft experts claim that Will
had a better junior year than senior campaign. Did
you find that to be true?
I don’t know if that’s true. I know a lot of teams
shied away from throwing at him. I know a bunch
of teams hardly threw the ball his way at all. He
really took a lot of top receivers out of the game.
In junior year, he was closer in talent to the other
guys, but this year, there was a real disparity
between our corners – Will was a lot better. People
came into the game thinking that they’d go after
a younger, less experienced corner than Will, who
had proven he could do the job in previous years.
When they did throw at him, he was usually all over
the receiver, especially in man coverage. So, after
that, they stopped looking his way.
Is he a coachable kid?
Yes, he’s very willing to learn. A smart kid, he
always picked things up pretty quickly. We have
a multiple defensive system here, so he’s used to
doing a lot of different things. He’s shown that
he can handle a lot of different things. If you
tell him something once, that’s it. You don’t have
to explain something to him a couple times before
he understands it. He’s a student of the game who
watches a lot of film. He’d always study his opponent,
looking for anything that could help in the game.
I think he’ll continue to do that, and get better
and better because of it.
Coming from such a diverse defense, do you think
it will take him long to step in at this level?
I think he can make an immediate impact. Obviously
the coaching staff there will determine exactly
when, but I think he’s a guy that can step in and
be one of the starting corners, if not play as one
of the nickel corners right away. I think he’ll
be ready to handle whatever challenge they hand
him and that he’ll pick up their system right away.
We hear he’s really fast. How much speed does Allen
He ran a 4.25 here in the past. He has excellent
speed and can run with anybody. He has great make-up
speed. If someone did ever separate from him, he
has the ability to catch up to them. He’s shown
the ability to run with everybody, including top-notch
receivers. That’s a great asset. To be a good corner,
first off, you have to be able to run. He definitely
has that ability.
Was he much of a leader for you guys?
No doubt. He was definitely the leader of our secondary
and all the kids looked up to him. He’s not a super
rah-rah guy, but he’ll compete and get it done.
Guys have a lot of respect for his ability and his
will to compete. As a result, they had a lot of
respect for what he had to say, and really listened
to him. I think he can be an excellent leader.
How is he on the kickoff returns?
He’s got the good hands, and coupled with his speed,
he almost broke a couple for us this year. He had
a bunch of long returns for us this year that he
just missed breaking all the way. He was only one
block away on a bunch of them. He definitely did
a good job for us on that all year long and that’s
also something he can do.
Is there anyone else – on the college or pro level
– that Will reminds you of?
I can’t really think of anybody off-hand. That’s
tough. I don’t want to compare him to anyone or
lump him in with other players. He’s his own guy
and I’m sure he’ll make a name for himself.
What kind of person is Will off the field?
He’s a good kid. He matured a lot in the last year
or so. He’s married with a child now. He had to
go through a lot up here, because he grew up right
in the city of Syracuse. When he came to school
here, he had to try to separate himself from all
the problems that were going on with former friends
and things like that. He did a good job of handling
himself in that situation. He’s a kid who handles
himself very well. He’s very likable and is a fun-loving
In a couple words, how would you describe Will Allen?
say he’s a great competitor.