Taking it all in stride

CLEMSON - Leave it to Dwayne Allen to make light of the ailing big toe on his right foot.

For Tuesday's interview at the West End Zone, his usual smile was accessorized by a walking boot on the injured foot.

"Just to relieve a little extra pressure off of [the toe], they put me in a boot today," Allen said. "That way, my teammates can feel sorry for me."

He suffered a turf toe injury in the first quarter against Boston College and has played through the pain in the two games since.

"It's extremely painful," Allen said. "Man, after the game, if I wasn't in a room filled with other men, other players, I might would have been in tears. That's how painful it is."

No big deal.

"At this point in the season, everyone has injuries and everyone is hurting. You just have to push through it," he said. "We have a guy like Rashard Hall who is holding off surgery to play and be able to play with us.

"For me to play with a toe injury is nothing."

Dating back to the Boston College game, Allen has 15 catches for 141 yards and a touchdown.

He receives treatment three times a day. Once in morning, again in the afternoon and later at night.

"This is kind of the routine I'm used to now," Allen said.

No. 83 presses on. As do the rest of the No. 5 ranked Clemson Tigers.

Up this week is the bi-annual trip down I-85 South to Atlanta, Ga.

"We want to go 6-0 in the ACC. We want to stay in control and in the driver's seat, so to speak, of our destiny in getting to the ACC Championship," Allen said. "That's all our focus is on, just beating Georgia Tech and going to the next game. We know the importance and how good this Georgia Tech team is."

His response to the obligatory question about handling the increased exposure wasn't quite so cliché. Far from it, actually.

"People talk about how they ignore it. I say, that's a lie. You can't ignore it. It's everywhere," he said. "What you can do is channel it. You can allow it to make your head bigger and you get complacent, or use it as fuel. That's what I feel like we've been doing.

"Whatever we are ranked, I don't know that. It's not good enough. It's not good enough until we're number one. And it really doesn't matter until the second week in December."

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