Staying humble

CLEMSON – Dwayne Allen isn't one to shy away from a little preseason trash talk.

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Especially when it comes to the guys lining up against him on the practice fields.

You know, the Clemson defense, which just happened to be one of the best in the ACC a year ago.

"When we're out here practicing hard, I don't want their minds (off)," he told CUTigers this week after practice. "I want them to go out there and practice and have fun… I want to liven up practice, a lot."

Tight ends coach Danny Pearman and offensive coordinator Billy Napier have been keeping Allen in check with some good-natured ribbing of their own.

"It's always, ‘Ah hell, Dwayne. You're not going to do that.' Or, ‘Come on, 83. Get your pads on. Let's go.' He definitely keeps me humble," Allen said.

"Coach Napier has told me to stay humble, probably 1,000 times. That's no exaggeration."

Of course, there's little doubt that he'll play an important role in Napier's plans for Clemson's offense this fall. But after Wednesday's practice, Allen scoffed at the notion that he'll be the focal point of the Tigers' offense.

"We have so many more weapons to use on offense this year than we had last year. We had C.J. [Spiller] Jacoby [Ford] and Mike [Palmer]," he said. "We were limited to those three guys to make plays.

"We've got two dynamic backs in the backfield and we've got wide receivers stepping up to make plays. It doesn't have to be me, the focal point."

While Andre Ellington and Jamie Harper combined to rush for over 900 yards and eight touchdowns in 2009, the top returning wide receiver is Xavier Dye, who only hauled in just 14 receptions for 236 yards and three touchdowns.

Allen also had 10 catches for 108 yards and three touchdowns playing as the No. 2 tight end along side of first-team All-ACC performer Michael Palmer.

Needless to say, with Clemson's emphasis on the tight end position and the dearth of quality experienced receivers, not to mention Palmer's move to the NFL, most pundits have projected even bigger numbers for Allen in 2010.

But don't tell that to him.

"That's not up to me. I let the coaches do the coaching. I just play," he said. "If they call my name for 60 balls, I'm catching all 60."

The redshirt sophomore also insists that he's not the only tight end that could be making an impact this season. In fact, one name he mentioned should come as a surprise to most who follow the program closely.

It wasn't either of the freshmen, Vic Beasley or Sam Cooper. It wasn't Darrell Smith. It was Drew Traylor, the former defensive end.

Drew Traylor?

"Drew is a guy, whenever I'm tired or whenever I'm not tired, I can be like, ‘Drew let's go,'" Allen said. "I trust him. He's earned that trust. He's worked hard. He knows the offense. He's coming along.

"He's really the most improved tight end."

Perhaps Allen's comments on his backup speaks volumes about Allen himself.

After all, he seems a long ways removed from the player who complained about not getting enough passes thrown his way not that long ago.

That goes for on the field as well.

"The game was a lot slower for me," he said of Saturday's scrimmage. "I've been able to make my calls, see the defense and read the defense better."

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