Sept. 6, 2009
Ryan Graney, Texas Media Relations
In Tray Allen's three years with the Longhorn football program he has undergone a number of changes. One thing that has remained consistent is the excitement he feels when he enters Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturdays.
"It's an adrenaline rush, especially coming out of the tunnel," Allen said. "I thought, `Here we go again, another great season.'"
After running out of that tunnel, Allen headed for the Longhorns' sideline where those changes would be on full display as he played offense, defense and special teams in Texas' 59-20 win over ULM on Saturday. It was the culmination of his willingness to train and help the team any way he can.
"Tray is another example of the unselfishness of the guys on our team," head coach Mack Brown said. "All he wants to do is win. When we asked him during camp to work some at defensive tackle, he stepped right in and did it with a smile. When Michael Huey went down against ULM, we needed him to move over and play some guard for us, and he was ready and did well. He's a great team guy."
As an incoming freshman, Allen was a prep All-American offensive tackle. After playing the position for two seasons, he was asked to move inside to guard this year. During fall camp, Allen's athleticism then led the coaching staff to cross train him at defensive tackle.
The Grand Prairie native's team-first attitude and commitment to helping the Longhorns improve has allowed him to make each transition smoothly. Allen continues to stay inspired by the opportunity to help his team.
"The thing that motivates me the most is that I love to play any way I can," Allen said. "Whatever the best way for me to get on the field for the team and do what I have to do for Texas, that's what I'm going to do."
Allen acknowledges each position change has had its difficulties, but feels he is picking up on things quickly after not playing both offense and defense since high school.
"I know the offense, so being away from the offensive side of the ball and having to learn all of the defensive signals and defensive terminology was a little bit of a struggle at first," Allen explained. "Now I've played a lot of downs. Each week things vary, but I think I have a pretty good feel for both sides of the ball."
However, the junior admitted his first game playing all three ways was a bit hectic, especially keeping up with the adjustments each group would make to the game plan.
"At first I had to look in at the bench for coach Muschamp, but have one eye on the field to make sure I didn't have to go on the field for a PAT," Allen described. "Then once that cleared, I ran down to offense to see if they needed me there. After that, I'd have my eye on PAT again. Then I'd go back to the defensive huddle. It's something that you have to stay tuned to and pay attention to on the sideline."
Although playing the various positions has been a challenge, Allen enjoyed the experience of being able to face his teammates on the offensive and defensive line on any given play.
"Playing both sides of the ball during two-a-days was fun," Allen said. "I'd get taunting from the o-line for playing defense, and then welcomed by the defensive line."
Although Allen's career path has had its changes, he knows exactly why each move has been necessary.
"It's for the team," Allen said. "It's important to do what is best for Texas and to be a team player."