Caldwell wants his best five out on the field


by - Staff Writer -
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Caldwell said he wants 10 players that can play significant snaps during games

SUNSET- The offensive line motto is ‘the best five start’ and it’s going to be a tough task for line coach Robbie CaldwellRobbie Caldwell
Assistant Coach / Offensive Line
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to find his best five.

Caldwell met with media Tuesday during head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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’s media golf outing at The Reserve and previewed what his line might look like when the Tigers open play against UGA.

Caldwell would like to have 10 offensive linemen ready to play on August 31st, and has encouraged his group to train at every position in order to see the field.

“What we try to do is have everybody learn to play at least two positions because it helps to learn the whole picture and it helps the players get on the field,” Caldwell told the media. “It’s hard to practice everyday and not get playing time, but you have to learn that. Our motto in the o-line room is that the best five start. You have to be ready. You might be the fifth best player, but you are the backup center and if you haven’t learned those other positions you aren’t in there so that’s why it’s important you learn those other positions.

“You would love to play two full lines, especially in the heat. You’d like for a second line to go in there and give you 10 or 15 or 20 plays just to let your first group regroup. When you start the game, the adrenaline and excitement are so high that you sap yourself in the first few minutes. If you go on a couple of long drives, you can about dehydrate yourself that quick because of all of the adrenaline. You’d ideally love to run a group in there and get a series or two here and there, but having 10 ready to play is hard to do.”

Caldwell and the rest of the Clemson staff had hoped that sophomore Isaiah BattleIsaiah Battle
So. Offensive Tackle
#79 6-6, 280
St. George, VA

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would have laid claim to the left tackle spot during spring practice, but that still hasn’t happened.

“Ideally, that would give us more flexibility,” Caldwell said. “We hoped in the spring that Isaiah would step up, but we didn’t quite get that accomplished. He’s still got a lot of work to do. I would’ve liked to have seen him have a little better summer in terms of putting on weight, but he hasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean he can’t do it. He loves to play basketball so he will run his weight off. He has a lot of upper body strength and can match anybody in the group. We would just like to have more bulk on him and, obviously, knowledge.”

Having the left tackle spot in flux leaves senior Brandon ThomasBrandon Thomas
RS Sr. Offensive Line
#63 6-3, 305
Spartanburg, SC

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’ position up the air since he is the most versatile player on the line after having played every position except center during his time with the Tigers.

“Brandon is obviously athletic enough to play guard and tackle and then in the bowl game he had to move over and play right tackle,” Caldwell said. “He was a little rusty, but did well. We want to be fair to him also because we want him to have a great season. It will benefit his future to know multiple aspects of the game up front. He can play guard and tackle. Gifford could play guard. He’s a stout guy with his hand on the ground. There are a lot of ideal situations we can create. Joe GoreJoe Gore
RS So. Offensive Tackle
#73 6-5, 275
Lake Waccamaw, NC

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figures into this too after he’s had a really good summer. “

Senior Tyler ShatleyTyler Shatley
RS Sr. Offensive Guard
#62 6-3, 295
Icard, NC

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is the other mainstay on the line after moving over from the defensive line a year ago.

“Tyler is obviously a smart young man- he graduated with a degree in engineering in four years, which is difficult to do,” he said. “He hangs on your every word. You better not tell him wrong because he’s going to do what you tell him. Tyler is very focused and knows exactly what you’re talking about.”

One of the biggest question marks on the line is replacing center Dalton FreemanDalton Freeman
Center
#55 6-5, 265
Pelion, SC

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, and Caldwell thought that Ryan NortonRyan Norton
RS So. Offensive Line
#58 6-3, 270
Mauldin, SC

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would be the starter, but red-shirt freshman Jay GuillermoJay Guillermo
RS Fr. Center
#57 6-3, 290
Maryville, TN

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refuses to give up.

“It’s funny. They had a great battle in the spring. Both of them ran the first unit,” he said. “Obviously, with Ryan being older and having more experience playing wise, he did a really good job. If we started tomorrow, you’d probably pencil him in at that position. Jay Guillermo will just not go away. He’s bound and determined that he wants to be on the field and that’s what I love about him. He loves the game and he works at it, he loves the weight room. One of those two could play guard as well. Ryan did that a little last year.”

Converted offensive lineman Eric Mac LainEric Mac Lain
RS So. Tight End
#88 6-4, 260
Hope Mills, NC

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has gained the respect of his teammates during the summer and is stating his case for one of the guard positions.

“Eric Mac Lain gives us a little more flexibility after moving over from tight end,” he said. “In the spring, he played tackle. We didn’t ask him to do a great deal at two positions because it wasn’t fair to him because he needed to learn to play the offensive line first. He adjusted to that pretty well. This summer we said, ‘hey, there might be some possibilities at guard so you need to get in there and learn it, work at it, and see what you think.’ His teammates are very impressed with how physical he is and his ability to be in there. Now, tackles are more finesse and pass blocking and your big guys are more inside now. We’re a little different because everybody has to be able to pull, everybody has to be able to run and think because we have some different schemes up front which is really good.”

Other Notes

*Kalon DavisKalon Davis
RS Jr. Offensive Guard
#67 6-5, 330
Chester, SC

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is continues to work his way back from injury and increase his lower body strength.

“Kalon is one that has the ability. He needs to set his mind to what he wants to do,” Caldwell said. “Sometimes he doesn’t take football seriously. A lot of young people are that way. He has the ability to do great things. He missed a year with a back injury and his lower body strength is just now catching up to where it should be.”

*Spence Region continues to improve his weight after hip surgery.

“Spencer had hip surgery. He slowly coming back and getting his weight down,” Caldwell said. “He’s made some progress in that regard.”

*Freshman Tyrone CrowderTyrone Crowder
Fr. Offensive Guard
# 6-2, 315
Rockingham, NC

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has lost 30 pounds since the spring

“Tyrone, obviously, when he hurt his wrist, I guess he thought his wrist was connected to his legs and now he’s having to pay the price,” Caldwell said. “He’s lost 30-something pounds. He’s got his mind set that he wants to play. He understands where he’s got to be and what he’s got to do.”

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