Jaguars rookie QB Brandon Allen adjusting to 'redshirt' season after college success

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Leading a college program can be a daunting task for a young man.

After enduring such high expectations from coaches, fans and himself, it can be even harder to take a step back in responsibility.

Both scenarios have been notable adjustments for Jaguars rookie quarterback Brandon Allen.

The young quarterback played high school and major college football in the same town. He was the native son of Fayetteville, Arkansas, growing up minutes away from his eventual college program at the University of Arkansas.

Now he's in a whole new city and is largely an unknown.

That's a big transition from a program where Allen's father was an athletic administrator and his brother was his backup quarterback.

Allen is now learning the NFL's game from the sidelines.

Following a preseason where he saw enough action to earn a precious roster spot, Allen has been regulated to being an observant apprentice to starting quarterback Blake Bortles and veteran backup Chad Henne.

"I guess it’s just different – in the preseason you get reps, you get to run your own plays – and here you’ve got to watch and learn,” Allen said.

“We adapt certain things to each opponent, change protections for certain teams and not for other teams, it’s kind of cool to see the process of how it works.”

Allen was redshirted as a freshman at Arkansas. He is now essentially doing the same thing in his first NFL season.

“It’s almost a little similar – it kind of is – in terms of having guys in front of you and learning from them,” Allen said.

"Really trying to pick up the offense as fast as you can and get comfortable as fast as you can heading into the next coming season. It’s almost – right now – like a redshirt year in college.”

The rookie was a three-year starter at Arkansas and threw for 7,463 passing yards, 64 touchdowns and 26 interceptions during his college career.

Like most NFL rookies, he is now being forced to learn instead of perform.

“I think that’s at every position,” Allen said.

“Guys go from getting every play in practice and playing all games, to sitting and watching guys in front of them. I think it just feels different when it first happens. I get a few reps here and a few reps here, which is different, but you learn to take a lot of mental reps. That’s the biggest thing, paying attention to what the other guys are doing, because you’re expected to know what they do. That’s how I’ve kind of taken that approach.”

In a season that has seen several quarterbacks succumb to major injuries, Allen's approach should help him - if by some chance - his number is called.

Until then, he will sit, observe and learn.

Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.


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