Student view:

Matt Allen: From the stadium to the backyard

April 8, 2020

Matt Allen is a redshirt senior offensive lineman on the MSU Football team. He is studying food industry management in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. This story has been repurposed from Spartan Athletics.

I wasn't really anticipating spring practice being canceled at all. I don't think anybody really was.

Luckily, it was just a spring football season that was canceled. A lot of other athletes had their entire real season canceled — even basketball couldn't finish out the rest of their season, so I'm just fortunate that it was during our offseason.

At the same time, I know that we were still really excited to get to work with the new coaching staff, and even though we're not at the building, work is still getting done.

We've been having Zoom sessions three times every week, and there has been an Eagles meeting with Coach Tucker once a week. We’ve really been getting after things and making sure everybody's staying on top of their stuff and still doing what they need to do — even if they're not in the building.

I have the advantage of working with my brother, Jack. We have little weight racks in our basement, and I've been working out on that four days a week, and then I'll go outside and usually do stuff on the field three days a week.

I'm thankful that I have Jack as a brother so he can be here for me in this time of need, so I’m going to squeeze as much out of him as I can. Hopefully, he doesn't start to get too tired of me, because I'm going to keep pounding on him to help me strive to get better every day.

Some guys have better equipment than others, but all have been really good at adapting to the situation. I know AJ Arcuri is still in East Lansing, and he's been working out in his little home gym by using cinder blocks and a wooden broomstick.

We also have a team group chat, and there are guys like Dom Long who have been sending us workouts; he's been buying gallon water bottles every week and adding more and more gallons to the rack he's been using.

I was a little nervous at first about what the team would be able to do, but everybody has been posting videos in our group chat to make sure everybody is staying accountable getting their work done, so it's really good to see.

I'm just leaving the idea of a fall season in God's hands and doing as much work as I can every day to prepare as if we're coming back tomorrow.

I'm excited for what's to come as far as the new offensive philosophy. Although I have built relationships with my coaches over the past four years, and not being able to see them anymore is tough, the new coaches coming in gives a little bit of life to everybody in the program.

It has really lit a fire under everybody, and everybody's been coming to work every day.

One of my goals during this time is to talk to two to three teammates once a week, just to make sure they’ve still got that fire and passion in them.

Having a mix of veteran and young teammates helps a ton. I heard a quote once; I'm a big quote guy. It was from Jordan Burroughs, an Olympic gold medalist wrestler.

He said, “A hungry lion hunts best.”

Basically, what he meant by that was when guys get comfortable, they start to relax. Having those younger guys nipping at the older guys heels is helping everybody improve.

Even though it doesn't seem like a great thing that some guys might get a lot more playing time than others, it's pushing everyone along as a whole, forward, and it's making everybody better, and that's what I'm excited about.