As defense rebuilds, Cervenka says OL is quietly going about its business

by - Correspondent -
Gage Cernvenka is one of the senior leaders on offense
Gage Cernvenka is one of the senior leaders on offense

CLEMSON – The reigning national champion Clemson Tigers scrimmaged Saturday afternoon inside Death Valley and while all of the attention is on quarterback Trevor Lawrence and the skill players, the offensive line is quietly going about its business.

Clemson returns four senior starters along the offensive line – right tackle Tremayne Anchrum, right guard Gage Cervenka, center Sean Pollard and John Simpson – to go along with freshman left tackle Jackson Carman.

Cervenka spoke with the media for the first time after Saturday’s scrimmage and said it was a mixed bag for both the offense and defense.

“It went pretty well. It was like 50-50 on offense and defense. We did a lot of things well but there are a lot of things we need to improve on,” Cervenka said Monday afternoon. “We are inconsistent in certain areas and very good on the 50-50 balls and long balls, and I think we kind of dominated that. But on the short stuff, we need to be more consistent.”

The fact that no one is really talking about the offensive line is a good thing.

“That the life of an offensive lineman. If we’re not getting yelled at, we’re kind of in the shadows and that's a good thing,” Cervenka said. “If you’re focusing on the offensive line it’s because they’re not doing good. We’re out there doing our thing, dominating.”

Cervenka also said that he has been impressed with offensive tackle Carman, who waited behind Mitch Hyatt as a freshman, but Cervenka said he has stepped up this spring.

“I'm very impressed with Jackson,” he said. “It was questionable how he was going to be since he is a young guy and I didn’t know how he was going to step up, but he has been phenomenal. I'm proud of what he is turning in to and I am looking forward to watching him play this season.”

The early enrollees on offense are catching on quickly, as well.

“They are actually very good. The freshmen coming in, they’re strong and it seems like they’ve picked up the play calls pretty quick, which is definitely nice to see. That was a big question coming in. Right now, I am not worried about them. They still have a lot to learn, but it’s early. I think they have done very well so far.”

However, it’s freshman defensive tackle Tyler Davis, who is catching everyone’s attention.

“Tyler did, definitely. He is a freak. There is something about him,” Cervenka said of the Florida native. “You can tell he loves the game. He came in, and he already knows what’s going on. There is something different about him. We call him Baby Dex because he looks like a Baby Dex, a little bit smaller. He is strong, and he is going to be a great player.”

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