SPARTANBURG – Quarterback Kyle Allen might appear young and inexperienced, but the 23-year-old vying to serve as Cam Newton's backup isn't playing that way.
After getting a chance to learn the offense and start the finale last season, Allen came to camp with more self-assuredness. Rightfully so.
"Oh, it was huge. Coming out as an undrafted rookie, I could have never played in another game in my life, you know what I mean?" Allen said. "So, being able to come in and play that last game and do well and get us a win, you know, that was obviously a good confidence boost."
Allen's 228-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Saints in the Superdome confirmed to everyone that he could really do this.
Then, with a spring in his step, he went to work in the offseason, determined to process everything happening in front of him just a little bit faster.
"I think for me it was just making quicker decisions, speeding up my feet, and just getting the ball out as quick as possible," Allen said. "I think only being in the offense one year and this is my second year of the offense, I really needed to step it up in that area. So, really all offseason, all camp, that's been my focus."
Spoken like a guy who gets it, who is self-aware enough to evaluate and challenge himself.
Quarterbacking in the NFL ain't a smooth ride, but Allen has shown he's capable handling the bumps in the road.
"I think it comes from experience. I don't think I've always been that way. I think that's kind of the person I've grown into, the man that I've grown into," Allen said. "You have to experience the highs and the lows to really find yourself and find that even-keeled personality. And I think over the years, I've experienced those lows and I've experienced those highs, and now I understand how to stay even through all that stuff.
"Because that's what you need to do, especially at the quarterback position. You need to be there, you need to be confident, you need to be the leader of that huddle."