By Gray Gardner.
A tired Dwayne Allen talked with the ClemsonInsider.com Wednesday night after Clemson finished its second practice of fall camp. Allen, the team’s most talented tight end, said the two and a half hour practice under the lights “went very well,” after the defense seemed to control the game Tuesday.
“The defense – they’re going to have the edge I feel like every time on the first day,” Allen said. “The coaches did a good job of letting us watch film and correct our mistakes so we actually had a pretty good day.”
The redshirt sophomore accredited the coaching staff to letting them “go out there and get after them.”
Allen is expected to be quarterback Kyle Parker’s number one target in the passing game this fall. When asked how much he has been used as a receiver in the first two practices, Allen responded, “Aw man, a lot… a lot.”
“The tight end – since last year – has been like deeply, deeply enforced in our offense. I’m on the field every play,” Allen said.
But Allen cannot be limited to running routes and catching passes. In offensive coordinator Billy Napier’s balanced offense, Allen is spending just as much time blocking as he is in the passing game.
“I do it all,” Allen said. “I’m in with run block and blocking with pass protection. If I’m not running a route I’m on the field blocking.”
Last fall, the Georgia native showed that he is more than capable of excelling at both aspects of the position. In his debut season Allen caught 10 balls for 3 touchdowns while contributing much to the run block.
But Allen cannot do it all by himself this season. Depth is an issue at tight end and the team will need the two true freshmen at the position – Sam Cooper and Vic Beasley – to be readily available to play. Allen said Cooper and Beasley have contributed a lot thus far in camp.
“They definitely give us immediate depth at the position. In the spring I was dying from getting all the reps because it was only like three tight ends,” Allen laughed, obviously relieved to have received the help in sharing the load.
Number 83 said he isn’t sure if and how much the freshmen will play this fall.
“It just depends on how much they learn and how quickly they come along,” he said. “Then the coaches will evaluate them and hopefully get them on the field.”
One thing is certain – despite the lack of depth behind him – Dwayne Allen is primed and ready for a break out season in 2010.