Dan Scott Interview: Brad Scott
Brad Scott will take a close look at Cory Lambert this fall at tackle.
CLEMSON -- Clemson offensive line coach Brad Scott was a recent guest on SportsTalk with Dan Scott to discuss the progress of the defensive line this spring. SportsTalk can be heard from 9 a.m.-12, Monday-Friday, on WCCP-Fm, 104.9 in upstate South Carolina.
Listen to the full Brad Scott interview Here: Real Audio - Windows Media
The tackles will be appear to be the biggest concern for you heading into next season.
That seems the biggest concern that every one has and it should be because you graduated two seniors that had played a lot of football for you in the last two years and now you have to replace them with guys who have had limited experience or no experience. I thought we got a little better as the spring (practice) went along. Certainly we want to get the guys on the edges to be extremely good pass protectors. They have got to be guys who can stretch the pocket. They are in charge of the width of the pocket, trying to make those edges a little bit longer so those defensive ends can’t cut the edge on you and get to your quarterback. Then at the same time they have to be physical kids that can do a good job in the running game. You know, here we pull our tackles an awful lot in our running plays so we have to have a physical guy in the running game, but you have to have a very athletic guy who is really on a mismatch a lot of times out there on an island. He is up against an extremely quick, fast, talented defensive end. That is why that kid is on defensive and the slower footed guy is over there on offensive. But anyway, I thought we improved a little bit. Certainly we need those 29 practices to go. I thought Tim DeBeer was a guy that was kind of an unknown coming into camp as far as a guy that hadn’t played a lot here. He might not be the most athletic of all the tackles but is definitely probably the best technique player I’ve got right now. If you are talking passing game you block from the feet up. You got to have guys that get off to good starts and have to have accuracy of movement with their feet. Tim did a nice job there and is a guy that will definitely be in our rotation somewhere. I thought the three top tackles coming out of spring were Tim (DeBeer), Marion Dukes at right tackle and then Roman Fry at left tackle. He (Fry) had some bright moments then was very inconsistent playing with his hands and his technique in his pass protection, something I know he will work hard on this summer. I might mention too that Jessie Pickens is a senior walk-on that is about 6 foot 6 that gives a little height that we need desperately on those edges and some long arms. At times he has shown some flashes. I think Jessie will be a guy that plays some snaps for us next year. It’s really close right now. You couldn’t say we have one or two guy that are definitely way ahead of the others. I’ve got about four guys. I’ll probably have to take a look at Cory Lambert coming into two a days as a freshman. My experience in coaching offensive lineman in college football, and the fans don’t like to hear this, is you don’t hang your hat on a freshman to come in and save your program. It is (offensive line) one of the most difficult positions to play on the football team especially tackle. Cory is an athletic big man though, and we will give a good look at it, but we got our work cut out for us at that position.
It has to help those guys got some of playing time last year.
That’s true. We did get a couple of starts out of Roman Fry last year. I think Marion probably played around 100 snaps. Tim DeDeer didn’t get a lot of work but definitely Marion Dukes and Roman Fry did get some work out there on the edges. You know when I watch those men from last year in action and a defensive opponent has to worry about the running game and the passing game, in other words they just don’t have their ears pinned back in pass rush mode, those kids hung in there and did a pretty decent job. I do feel like they have improved ten times from last year to this point we are right now at the end of spring ball. Now it’s just a matter of can they carry that over and continue to work hard this summer. You know there is a price to be paid for any experience on the collegiate level so the more snaps these kids get the more experience they will have. So playing last year benefited them, all the work they got during spring ball, and the 29 practice opportunities we will have before we tee it up in the first ballgame will be crucial to us as well. I like the chemistry of this team. Those kids all want to compete and play. They play hard. Their effort is good. In terms of recruiting we have been able to recruit some height. If we have a weakness right now it is we don’t have the height at the tackle position that we desperately need. We addressed that in last year’s recruiting class and we will address it in this year’s class.
Do you feel the tackles will be a solid unit by the tim the season rolls around?
I think we will definitely be a solid unit. The coach in you says don’t ever say something like that and it will be a major concern. Certainly we are going to work on it all throughout the off season. Those kids will be on their own working in the weight room doing some of the drill work that they are allowed to do in the off season program without the coaches but they have learned the drills and so forth. I know these guys…They are hungry. They are eager. They are young. They love to play the game. They got a passion for football. Roman Fry loves to play the game. Marion Dukes is as a serious, consistent kid that I ever have coach as far as wanting to come in and look at extra film and being conscientious about his work. Tim DeBeer is an extremely smart young man. You just tell him one time, and he has got it. I think we will be a solid group. I think Marion has the athletic ability maybe even more so to be able to replace Greg Walker out on the edges. You know, Greg did a wonderful job for us last year but his foot speed was probably more like a guard. I think Marion has a quicker first step. I think Marion just lacks some confidence and some experience. I really like him there. Roman just has one deficiency right now and that is his sets on the passing game. He bails out a little too quick and shortens the corner. He knows what he has to do to correct that but he is very athletic. He is one of those exceptional kids that you coach along the way in your career that just has great passion for the game. I really like that in him. But he is a freshman. He erases his tapes, I tell him sometimes, from one practice to the next. We will be a solid group. I think we will be able to do the job we need to do to protect Charlie (Whitehurst).
Talk about how Tommy Sharpe and the centers.
The one thing you can’t measure when you look at an athlete when you look at their height and weight is you can’t cut open their chest and look at the size of their heart. That’s what this kid has got. He has a great heart. He plays with tremendous effort. He wants to be a good player. He has fun playing football. He is kind of a throw back guy. I think he enjoys practice. Most of these guys don’t like practice especially offensive lineman. They rather be in the dining hall eating than practicing. But I think Tommy Sharpe is one of those guys that enjoys practice. He has a great first step, and he plays with extremely good leverage Football is all about leverage. Because of his height, I think sometimes that is an advantage for him. He is very strong, and he understands the game of football and knows what is important as far as his foot work goes and where his hat placement needs to be. He’s a leader up there. There is no question about that. This is a kid that sets all our blocking schemes for us. He puts us in the right protections. He checks the calls. He just has played really, really solid for us for the last two and half years. This spring, even though Dustin Fry improved his game and lost 30 pounds and looks like he is going to be able to contribute a lot more for us this year, there is still a gap of separation between him and Tommy Sharpe because of experience and the success that Tommy has had. Just like the second team quarterback is not going to take the ball out of Charlie Whitehurst’s hands, we got a pretty decent second center right, but we are not going to take the ball out of Tommy’s hands.
Listen to the full Brad Scott interview Here: Real Audio - Windows Media