Ann Arbor — In last week’s season opener, with the exception of a few quick on-field appearances, Kenny Allen was a blip on the football field.
He didn’t mind, though.
“It was a good thing,” said Allen, Michigan’s master of all things kicking.
For the fourth time in program history, Michigan did not punt, leaving Allen watching the game much of the day.
But didn’t he get bored?
“We kicked a lot of extra points,” he said, smirking, adding the kickers kept warming up on the sideline just in case.
In the 63-3 rout of Hawaii, Allen did kick five of the team’s nine extra points in addition to six kickoffs.
But as far as the punting goes ...
“Hopefully we never have to do punting,” Allen said. “Maybe we won’t.”
It’s likely Michigan will have to punt at some point this season — perhaps as soon as today’s game against Central Florida — and Allen is expected to be out there handling that role, along with his other kicking duties.
“I started doing all three in high school, so it takes me back to my roots,” Allen said. “It’s fun.”
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said just before the opener that it hadn’t been decided whether Allen would handle all three kicking disciplines, but to start the season, that looks to be the direction.
“He’s a very good punter,” Harbaugh said. “And he’s a really good kickoff person. Right now, he’s been the best at all three. ... If that remains the case and he’s clearly the best, then he’ll do all three.
“We’d like for him to not have to do all three. It’s just closer (competition) in the other areas, kickoffs and field goals. And Quinn Nordin is pushing in terms of kickoffs and the field goals. Ryan Tice … he’s making a lot of field goals. He’s doing a good job, but we’ll see.”
Tice kicked the other four extra points, while James Foug made the final four kickoffs.
Jay Harbaugh, Michigan’s tight ends coach who also is working with special teams, said Allen has improved in every area.
“We ask a lot of him to really shoulder the burden in all three phases, which not many guys do in the country,” Jay Harbaugh said. “Kenny’s excelled. He’s improved in every way. It’s exciting for him as a senior to be playing so well in every category.”
Still, it’s not set in stone Allen will handle all three all season.
“We’d be more than comfortable with it,” Jay Harbaugh said. “I think ideally you’d like to take a little bit off his plate, but it’s a long season. As other guys develop into certain roles, I think that could happen, but we’d be more than comfortable with him doing it if need be.”