Tom Allen walked off the sideline with a streak of blood on his cheek after Saturday’s victory over Michigan, the result of an inadvertent head-to-helmet collision with defensive back Devon Matthews late in regulation.
It wasn’t the first time Allen’s zeal has left his face worse for wear.
Man got wrecked by his own coach pic.twitter.com/nCMiOpJo48— CJ Fogler #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) November 7, 2020
Nearly two decades ago, back when he was coaching at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis, Allen suffered a black eye after jumping on a player to celebrate a key interception. Sound familiar? Allen’s eye socket made direct contact with the player’s helmet, leaving him to coach in the state championship game with a busted face. That particularly player messaged Allen over the weekend to share a laugh.
Then, just a few years ago as an assistant at Ole Miss, Allen jumped into a pile and lost two front teeth.
“That was a pretty poor decision because it took about six to eight months,” Allen said Monday. “One of the teeth that I lost was already a fake tooth so that one just disintegrated and that was just replaceable, but the other was a permanent one. I had to have a root canal. I had to have this false thing up in there. It was almost an eight-month process.”
At this point in his life, Allen knows he can’t quite help himself. He’s an energetic, rah-rah guy. Still, he says he’s doing his best to be more careful when he goes in for an embrace.
That Allen emerged with only a cut cheek is a result of his having lived and learned.
“That is why I did strategically turn my head to the side when I jumped on Monster, because history taught me that if I catch my teeth with that helmet, the teeth are going to lose,” Allen said. “So that is why this is no big deal. It is just a little bit sore but it is alright. I have jumped on guys before and pulled muscles and different things but I do not do it as much as I used to. I am 50 now so I got to be a little more careful with how I celebrate.”
That said, Allen is making no promises.
“Yeah, I have had a few of those (collisions) in the past and,” Allen said “Hopefully, I will have some more celebrations in the future — but just no injuries.”