The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

April 25, 2014

Former MSSU lineman Barbre fitting in with Philadelphia's offense

Consider Allen Barbre a big fan of Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly’s fast-paced offense.

The former Missouri Southern All-American offensive lineman said he believes the scheme is a perfect match for his skill set.

“I feel like that kind of offense just fits me as far as being an athlete,” Barbre said. “I can use that to my advantage. Some of the offenses I played in, it didn’t help me as much or even hurt me a little bit.”

Barbre (6-foot-4, 310 pounds) previously played for the Green Bay Packers (2007-09), Miami Dolphins (2010) and Seattle Seahawks (2010-12) before joining the Eagles before the start of the 2013 season.

He said he became an instant fan of Kelly, the offensive innovator who took over the Eagles last year after leading the University of Oregon to a 46-7 record in four seasons as head coach.

“He’s a great guy,” Barbre said. “He’s a players’ guy. He cares about us. He wants us to do well and to succeed. It’s nice to have a coach like that.”

But more than that, it is Kelly’s offense that meshes with the athletic Barbre, who was the fastest offensive lineman at the 2007 NFL Combine with a 4.84-second 40-yard dash.

Under Kelly, the Eagles offensive attack focuses on getting off as many plays as possible, takes advantage of its offensive line’s mobility and will periodically use unbalanced lines.

“It was a lot of fun,” Barbre said. “You catch guys off guard. I really enjoyed the system ... We got a lot of results.

“It’s definitely something you have to train for. I don’t think it’s something you can just go out and do. When you’re tired is when you make all your mistakes. You have to train doing it. You have to train the snaps while focusing on the plays.”

Larry Bunn, who was Barbre’s coach at East Newton High School, agreed that Kelly’s offense is a good fit.

“He was always very athletic,” Bunn said. “Anytime a college football coach would ask about coming to recruit him, I’d always tell them that they needed to come watch him play basketball. He moved well and had good feet.”

Barbre’s athleticism translated to the football field. He played on both sides of the ball for East Newton and then developed into a dominant offensive lineman for the Lions. He recorded 254 knockdown blocks during his MSSU career, including 94 during his All-America senior season.

But Barbre was more than just power. He was so fast for his size that Missouri Southern used him as a gunner on punt coverage. He had seven solo tackles on that unit.

“As athletic as he was, he could have played tight end,” Bunn said. “He has great hands and great feet. He’d be able to do a good job there.”

Now, Barbre is trying to make the most out of his opportunities in Philadelphia.

He played in 15 games as a reserve tackle and guard last season. Barbre played the majority of a game at left tackle in a win at Green Bay after Jason Peters left with an injury.

While the Eagles like Barbre’s versatility as a reserve, there is a possibility he could compete for the starting left guard position out of training camp.

“We’ll see what they do,” Barbre said. “Maybe there will be a chance at starting at guard. We’ll see what happens. I don’t know yet.”

Philadelphia won the NFC East with a 10-6 record last season. The Eagles had several departures in the offseason, including quarterback Michael Vick and wide receiver DeSean Jackson.

But Barbre said he believes the Eagles will improve in Kelly’s second year as coach and Nick Foles’ second year as starting quarterback.

“I think we have a real good team,” Barbre said. “We’ll have a lot of the same guys coming back. I’m expecting Foles to be better. It will be his second year in there.”

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