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Take two: UM’s Allen kicks back after early woes

Angelique S. Chengelis

Ann Arbor — It wasn’t easy at first for Kenny Allen to handle all of the kicking duties. Early in the season, it showed. Allen missed three of four field goals, including two aginst Wisconsin.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said at the time Allen was rushing his kicks and that the “battery” of long snapper Scott Sypniewski, holder Garrett Moores and Allen needed to work on small timing issues.

Then, after plenty of work, it all clicked.

Allen, a fifth-year senior, made his final 12 field-goal attempts, and his late-season punting was a field-position weapon.

“I didn’t want to have those struggles earlier, but it helped me out in the long run,” Allen said Tuesday. “I think the way we finished as a special teams unit is a testament to the hard work we put it in the season.”

He was second-team All-Big Ten as a punter and honorable mention as a place-kicker.

It took time to get comfortable handling all the kicking duties.

“In the beginning, it was a lot more difficult,” Allen said. “Once we were able to separate things and spend some time working on each one, it was a lot easier to do all three.

“I don’t really think it’s physically that hard. You obviously can’t kick too much. Mentally, when a kicker gets into a slump, it could be really bad. I think in our case, it showed us what we need to do. There was not any time to waste, and I think we did a good job as a team and the coaches helped me a lot, and I think we handled it really well.”

Allen is preparing to kick for his final time for Michigan in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 30. The good news is he will leave cold-weather kicking, which can affect a kicker staying loose, for south Florida and 80-degree temps.

He hopes to play in the NFL, and is open to doing whatever kicking a team needs.

“I see myself more as a punter, kickoff guy,” Allen said.


Michigan players can’t see themselves skipping bowl

Then again, there could be an acting future for Allen. He appeared in Moores’ widely watched Holder of the Year acceptance video, and nailed his performance in two takes.

“I know we had some fun with it. It was a good experience,” Allen said, who was then asked if he will get some movie callbacks.

“I’m still waiting, so we’ll see,” he said, smiling.

Sticking at center

While “Christmas Camp” has allowed younger players to get reps in bowl practices, the older offensive linemen, for example, are getting back to basics.

“In the season, you forget those fundamentals you focused so much on in camp,” center Mason Cole said.

The offensive line will lose three starters after the bowl. Cole started his first two seasons at left tackle and this season at center, where he has found a home, but he is open to moving if needed.

Excited for FSU

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has said he’s looking forward to witnessing in person all of the Florida State traditions, and so apparently are his players.

Linebacker Mike McCray said he’s looking forward to hearing the FSU “War Chant.”

““It seems like a great experience. It is a lot of tradition just like us,” McCray said. “I bet some of them wanted to touch the banner. It should be fun.”

Orange Bowl

Michigan vs. Florida State

Kickoff: 8 Dec. 30, Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla.

TV/radio: ESPN/WWJ

Records: Michigan 10-2, Florida State 9-3

Line: Michigan by 7