By Will Vandervort
CLEMSON— Last year was a tutorial for Brandon Ford and his professor was former Clemson tight end Dwayne Allen.
Ford, who has replaced Allen as the starting tight end, said his goal last season was to learn as much as he could from the John Mackey Award winner. He said Allen taught him why it’s important to have proper technique, to be in the best shape as possible and not to sit on the past.
“He taught me that you should always know what you are doing,” Ford said. “Never go out there guessing. You should always know what to do. But if something bad happens, or something good, move on to the next play. Don’t ever sit on the last play because there are more plays that will come your way in a game and you can’t dwell on what’s behind you. Keep moving on and
Through the first three days of fall camp, Ford has done exactly what is expected of him.
“He is steady Eddie. He is solid,” head coach Dabo Swinney said. “I think Brandon is going to have an outstanding year. He is physically the best he has been since he has been here. He has been one of those guys that have got better and better.
“He is off to a really good start.”
It’s no surprise Ford is having a good camp. Two weeks ago at Swinney’s Media Golf outing, offensive coordinator Chad Morris said, “This time next year, you’ll be asking me about how difficult it is going to be to replace Brandon Ford.”
“He has seen the potential and the things I have done as a backup,” Ford said. “His eyes are lightened by what I have done. I’m not a cocky guy, but I have a lot of confidence and I know what I can do. But, I don’t sit there and read all the stuff the media says about me.
“I just want to get better every day. As far as (Morris) praising me, I should be praising him and Coach Swinney for giving me the opportunity to be out there. They are putting it on my shoulders to carry that group and to help the offense, and I will be ready to do it.”
Ford, who weighed in at 245 pounds, says he is excited about replacing Allen as the starting tight end and as a team leader.
“I have all the respect in the world for Dwayne,” the senior said. “Not only was he my roommate, but he taught me a lot. When a guy leaves like that, there is a gap to fill. I took it as there are big expectations in front of me. It’s a challenge.
“When I first came here, I did not get to play too much. But I kept pushing through. I kept telling myself that my time would come. The one thing I did, I never gave up. When Dwayne left he told me I have an opportunity to not only do what he did, but be better.
“So I don’t want to let him down.”