Stamps sophomore turns heads
By IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency
|Taurean Allen, DB is introduced during FanFest in for the Calgary Stampeders Calgary, AB May 28, 2011.
(JIM WELLS/QMI Agency)
Nothing builds confidence like picking off a Hall of Fame quarterback, so by that measure, Taurean Allen had a great off-season.
Three times a week, Allen joined a group of CFL players in Mississauga for workouts and they constantly pushed each other to be better, despite being on different clubs.
They had an enthusiastic voice pushing them on with Matt Dunigan out tossing the football around.
Heading into his sophomore season with the Calgary Stampeders, Allen feels he’s ready to take a step forward.
Now that he can compete against a Hall-of-Famer, even one who is 50, the 24-year-old defensive back has the confidence to take an expanded role with the Stamps.
“He’s still trying to fit the ball in there because he thinks he can do it,” Allen said.
“We were able to make a couple of plays on him.
“He’s out there slinging the rock and offering as much knowledge as he did back in the day. He’s still commenting and critiquing us on our technique.
“He gives us some little things that will help better our game.
“It’s good to get a little bit of feedback from someone who is so experienced and highly acclaimed.”
Allen, who was a second-round draft pick in 2010 out of Wilfrid Laurier, played six games last season as a reserve defensive back and special-teamer.
He still has a long way to go before becoming a full-time starter, but at least during this camp, he’s working out at his more natural position of cornerback.
The Stamps don’t expect to start a non-import in the defensive backfield after going with Wes Lysack at safety all of last season.
That leaves Allen and fellow Canuck Eric Fraser — a first-round pick in 2009 — as reserve players.
Fraser is hoping to prove he’s the best option at safety regardless of what his passport reads.
“I want to prove that I’ve bettered myself during the off-season,” Fraser said.
“So far in camp, I’ve done a good job of showing that I’m a different player than I was last year and I’m a better player than last year.
After going hard three times a week, Allen feels much more prepared for the physical demands of training camp.
During TSN’s draft coverage, Dunigan said Allen was primed for a big season.
“When a Hall of Fame QB gives you a shout out, it’s a welcome vote of confidence,” Allen said. “I thank him for that.”