By Staff Report.
Clemson junior tight end Dwayne Allen took questions from the ACC media on Monday as several Tigers previewed the ACC Championship game against Virginia Tech.
Q. Dwayne, I just wanted to get your take on I guess what’s happened to you guys down the stretch here. Obviously you guys have faded. Turnovers explain some of it. But it didn’t explain all of it against South Carolina. What’s your explanation for what’s gone on?
DWAYNE ALLEN: Injuries the end of the season. We’ve got guys playing out of position. And I feel like that’s created some — it’s been kind of like a domino effect, with the protection, the quarterback play, everything.
Q. How much stock do you put into momentum? Because Virginia Tech has some right now, and it seems like they’ve got a little bit more than you guys do?
DWAYNE ALLEN: They have a ton. They’re riding, what, a six, seven-game streak. They’re playing well. A lot better offensively. Defensively they have some guys down. But the guys that are stepping up are playing at a high level. They have a ton of momentum. And momentum played into it a lot. Just during the face-up championship game there has to be a big play. We have to put out a big play to get that momentum swung back into our favor.
Q. Dwayne, first of all, I’ve got two questions. What would winning this game, this championship game, would that wipe out what’s happened the last couple of weeks? And then also with you individually, the All-ACC team’s coming out today. I know that’s been a goal of yours for a while. What would it feel like to make the All-ACC First Team?
DWAYNE ALLEN: Starting with your first question, I believe so. One of our goals was to win the state championship and beating South Carolina. But a bigger one, one that comes after that, is to win the ACC Championship. And winning the championships, which is something that hasn’t been done here in over 20 years, will wipe away the aches that we’ve been having with the taste of defeat the past couple of weeks. And your second question, yeah, to be the best tight end in the nation has been one of my goals since I stepped foot on this campus. You can’t be the best tight end in the nation unless you’re the best in your conference. And that’s been one of my things that I’ve been working really hard to accomplish and hopefully throughout this year with my play on the field, I demonstrated that.
Q. How do you rally your confidence, especially with all the young guys you have, when Virginia Tech’s playing as well as they are?
DWAYNE ALLEN: Just letting the young guys know what we’re playing for. That’s the first ACC title in 20 years here at Clemson. That’s the opportunity to go and play for a BCS Bowl game which hasn’t been done here in 30 years. So there’s a lot on the line with this game. Virginia Tech is a team who’s been in this championship game a lot. They have a lot of experience. But with that, I was there two years ago. And I know what it takes to go into this game and play well. And I’m going to do my job as leader of this team and rely on my knowledge, my knowledge to the guys and let them know that this is for all the marbles, let’s go out and play our best.
Q. One more thing, completely unrelated. There’s a guy at Virginia Tech who is a wide receiver?
DWAYNE ALLEN: Danny Coale.
Q. Yes. And he also punted last week and punt returner, can you imagine having all those roles to do in one game?
DWAYNE ALLEN: I couldn’t. I definitely would prepare myself to take on all those roles. He’s a guy who I’m sure his team has a lot of confidence in to put him in all those positions as a punter and punt returner and one of their go-to wide receivers. I mean, that’s awesome for him. And he’s definitely a guy who we’ve got circled and going to have to stop in order to bring the championship home.
Q. Just wanted to ask you, how well do you know James Hopper, did you play against him in high school at all?
DWAYNE ALLEN: No, I didn’t play against him at all. But I did have the opportunity to meet him whenever we went up there to play them, and he seems like a good kid and got his head on his shoulders and just waiting for his opportunity to play and make plays for them.