Ron West has plans to try Vontrell Jamison both at inside tackle and defensive end this year.
CLEMSON -- Clemson defensive line coach Ron West 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.
How has the switch from offensive line to defensive line been for you?
It is just a different group of guys. But as far as coaching them, I coach them the same as the offensive linemen. I’ve been doing this 26 years. I’m going to treat all of them the same and get what I want out of them. I ask and demand what we need to get done. They have not been any problem at all.
What was the overall assessment of the line after spring practice?
Overall I thought we got a little bit better this spring in some of the things we were trying to get accomplished. Inside, we were trying to get better at playing the run and playing any kind of combination blocks, and doing a better job holding the line of scrimmage and not getting knocked off the line. I felt like we accomplished that. At end we were trying to do a better job of our technique on tight end and being able to hold the line. Then, after that, being able to create the pressure off the ends that we can create with the pass rush. So I felt like we accomplished some things. We still have a long ways to go especially inside. I felt like we don’t adjust or react to pass well from our alignments and be able to create the pressure inside we would like. I think we accomplished what we were looking for originally. Every spring you have got to find out whom your players are. You've got to find out who is going to be willing to do what you ask them to do and who is going to tough it out and do what you want to do. So we have a lot of one on one situations, a lot of inside drills, and a lot of competition. I felt we came out of spring knowing who basically our top eight to nine guys are.
Talk about the defensive tackles.
I came out of spring naming Trey Tate the right tackle starter and Eric Coleman at left tackle as the starter. But basically the next three guys – Donnell Clark, Chris McDuffie and Cory Groover – I kind of bunched them. They were all about the same. At times Cory would should a lot of improvement and at time Donnell would show improvement and then Chris would. Even our starters have a lot to accomplish. We have to get a lot better this summer. We got to use this summer to do some things in the weigh room to help improve that spot. Potentially we have a lot of potential there. We have to work hard to try a little better. I felt the inside position is the one we really needed to have a great summer and get ready to go.
Tommy Bowden has been high on Gaines Adams. Talk about him and the other defensive ends.
He is a big play guy. As he knows, he has to become a more complete player. That is what he is going to work hard to do, but he ran with the ones (first team) a lot of times on certain days. We have great competition at all the end spots. We have Gaines at left end right now, with Charles Bennett the starter. Gaines and Bennett will be an everyday process. This thing will be a deal where you could go play one game, and the one that grades out the highest will be the starter the next week which is great. You have good competition. Behind right end we have Vontrell Jamison. It’s the same thing there. You have two guys there (Mo Fountain and Vontrell Jamison) that have played a lot and you can have good competition. So I feel real good about it. Going back to Gaines, he is an unbelievable athlete. He can run exceptionally well. You know he was a wide receiver in high school. A lot of people don’t know that.
How does Vontrell Jamison fit into the plans this year?
I think Vontrell will have a real big year. We have a plan to look at him inside (tackle) too because we think he could help us inside. We are going to play him at both probably, and experiment some in two-a-days. He has really improved as far as holding the line of scrimmage and not getting knocked out of gaps, and making sure he controls the line of scrimmage. He has developed one particular pass rush technique that he really likes and he is getting better at it. When I tell you there is great competition I’m not lying to you. I hope you understand what I am telling you. We have four ends that could play anywhere in the ACC.. anywhere.