FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas cornerbacks coach Bobby Allen will remain with the Razorbacks as part of Coach Bobby Petrino’s staff it was officially announced on Saturday. Allen has been with the Razorbacks since 1998. Allen will continue to coach on the defensive side of the ball. A specific position assignment for Allen will be determined when the remainder of the defensive staff is established.
“We are pleased that Bobby will continue to be a part of the Razorback staff as we move forward,” Petrino said. “He has proven himself as a coach and as a recruiter. Bobby brings to the staff a wealth of experience including a decade at Arkansas. We are happy that he has decided to remain at Arkansas as a member of our staff.”
Bobby Allen is in his 10th season at Arkansas and his 25th overall as a collegiate coach. For the fifth-consecutive year, he was responsible for Arkansas’ cornerbacks.
“I appreciate the opportunity Coach Petrino has given me to be a part of his staff,” Allen said. “The opportunity to remain at Arkansas and be part of the Razorback program is something that my family and I are thankful for. I’m also excited about working with the outstanding student-athletes we have in our program in the years to come.”
Under Allen’s guidance, the Razorback secondary ranked among the best units in the nation in defending the pass in 2007. Arkansas was second in the SEC and fifth in the nation in pass efficiency defense with a rating of 99.14. The Hogs ranked second in the SEC with 19 interceptions, including 11 by Allen’s cornerback unit. Arkansas’ secondary had three games this season with four or more interceptions.
In addition, three UA cornerbacks — Michael Grant, Jerell Norton and Matterral Richardson — ranked in the top five of the conference’s passes defended category. Norton leads the team and is tied for second in the SEC with five interceptions for 174 yards and a touchdown. His season mark of 174 yards on interceptions returns sits at No. 2 on UA’s all-time list. Norton also had 11 pass break-ups during the season. He ranks fourth in the conference and tied for 24th in the nation in interceptions with .42 per game.
Michael Grant leads the cornerbacks and ranks fifth on the team with 71 tackles (57U, 14A) this season. He also tacked on three interceptions for 15 yards and a team-leading 19 pass break-ups. Grant’s efforts earned him a spot on the All-SEC second team.
In 2006, cornerback Chris Houston, an honorable mention All-American, spent the season containing some of the best wide receivers in the nation. The junior held USC’s Dwayne Jarrett to his lowest receiving output in 34 games and stifled other standouts including Tennessee’s Robert Meachum, Auburn’s Courtney Taylor and Vanderbilt’s Earl Bennett. Houston notched 45 tackles and a team-leading three interceptions for 129 yards and a touchdown. He also broke up a team-leading 13 passes.
In 2005, cornerbacks Michael Coe, Houston, Michael Grant and Richardson finished first through fourth, respectively, on the team with a combined 29 passes broken up. Coe and Grant also tied for second on the club with three interceptions each, and those four had a total of 117 tackles, helping the Razorbacks rank 34th in the nation in total defense by allowing 341 yards per game.
In 2004, free safety Vickiel Vaughn was first on the team in tackles with 66 while freshman cornerback Darius Vinnett ranked fifth with 54 stops.
In 2003, UA ranked fourth in the Southeastern Conference and 21st in the nation by holding opponents to 187.0 passing yards per game. The Razorbacks also intercepted 17 passes, the third-most in the league.
Since joining Arkansas’ coaching staff on Dec. 11, 1997, Allen has served as defensive coordinator (1998, 2000), coached the inside linebackers (1998-99), the middle and strong side linebackers (both in 2002), and the defensive line (2001) before handling the cornerbacks and free safeties in 2003 and 2004. The past three seasons (2005-07), Allen has worked with cornerbacks exclusively.
Allen has held or shared UA’s defensive coordinator duties on two separate occasions. He served as co-defensive coordinator with Keith Burns in 1998 and shared the duties with John Thompson during the 2000 season. When Burns left UA following the 1999 regular season, Allen was named the Razorbacks’ defensive coordinator for Arkansas’ meeting with Texas in the 2000 Cotton Bowl.
In 1998, Allen helped direct a Razorback defensive unit that ranked sixth nationally in rushing defense, 10th in turnover margin and 13th in scoring defense. In 2000, Allen helped guide a Razorback defense that allowed just 292.1 yards per game to lead the Southeastern Conference and rank 12th nationally in total defense.
Allen began his coaching career at Colorado where he served as a graduate assistant during the 1983 and 1984 seasons. After helping Minnesota to an Independence Bowl berth as a defensive secondary graduate assistant in 1985, Allen landed his first full-time position when he was named defensive coordinator at Drake, where he served from 1986 to 1988.
Allen was a standout prep quarterback at Seneca Valley High School in Gaithersburg, Md., where he was named the Washington, D.C., area player of the year as a senior and also excelled in baseball and basketball. He went on to earn three varsity letters while playing three positions – kicker, quarterback and outside linebacker – at Virginia Tech, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in marketing in 1983.
Born March 5, 1959, Allen is married to the former Marcela Garcia. The couple has one daughter, Daniela, and three sons, Christian, Brandon and Austin.