Dan Scott Interview: Offensive Line Coach Brad Scott

by - Correspondent -

Dan Scott: This is going to be an interesting season for you and your particular position on this team Brad, because you?ve got technically one returning starter on that line, although Chris McDuffie did start five games last year. But in effect kind of rebuilding, of sorts, an offensive line. List some guys that have some experience. I mean, let?s talk about this group.

Brad: Well, that?s great. And you know, going into camp, there?s always concerns about you?re going to do when you have a group of young men who have not, say, been the ?starters?, but at the same time I think we?ve finally gotten our offensive line in shape last year to a position where I was able to play at least eight guys and in a lot of situations as many as ten pretty much in all the games. And that is certainly something that you try to do at this position because it?s not an easy position to learn, there?s a price to be paid for inexperience at offensive line, we all know that, we remember that from three years ago when we were trying to get these kids ready to play.

But I like the fact that obviously with Barry Richardson coming back and being the player that he is, and I like the fact that Chris McDuffie got a lot of snaps, you?ve got Brandon Pilgrim that got a lot of snaps, Thomas Austin got work last year, the other Tackle Chris Capote played quite bit last year behind Marion Dukes and had a good camp, and then you know, you?ve got guys like Corey Lambert, Barry Humphries, all these guys, Thomas Austin I mentioned earlier, they?re waiting in the wings. They?ve been working hard. This will be their third year in our program now. And I feel like they?re getting in a better position to play. Certainly they?re going to have to this year.

That doesn?t mean we?re going to be as strong and as talented initially as we were last year, but I do see this group gelling together and being a very solid offensive line. I think the future of the offensive line here at Clemson has never been better. But that doesn?t mean the present, you know, we take the field here the first couple days in August in a couple weeks and be ready to go, we?re certainly not there yet.

Dan: Well, you start with the one guy that?s going to gain the most attention. That?s Barry Richardson. And I guess if you?re going to have to build a new offensive line, that?s a good building block to start with.

Brad: Well, you know, it?s so much that you can have one guy back and who would you want? Well, I?d want my Left Tackle. Of course, with the Left Tackle being a player as good as Barry is, then that?s another positive for us. But Barry will play his best football for us this year; I have no doubt about that. He?s working hard in the off-season. He takes a lot of pride in his conditioning and in the way he prepares over the summer. He?s a man of a few words, if you?ve ever tried to interview him, then you know what I?m saying there. He certainly plays loud on the field. I?m very proud that Barry came back for his senior year because I think he?s going to benefit from that. He certainly will be the leader in our group, along with Chris McDuffie, both of them playing on the left side should give us a very solid left side of the offensive line.

Tom Van Hoy: As we start this, I broadcast Pittsburgh State for 15 years and Chuck Broyles told me to tell you hello if I ran into you.

Brad: That is my favorite all-time college coach right there, Coach Broyles. He?s a heck of a football coach as you know what they?ve done there at Pittsburgh State. But when he coached me there at little ol? UMR, University of Missouri-Rolla, he was a players? coach. He?s the guy that would have us over at the house during the off-season, just spending a lot of time with us. I?ve stayed very close to Chuck and have a great relationship with him all these years and he?s a wonderful man.

Tom: Yeah, nothing like winning 157 games in 10 years and being on the hot seat too.

Brad: Yeah, well I think that?s called college football, isn?t it?

Tom: Hey Coach, let me ask you about, to me the offensive linemen seem to labor in a sea of anonymity. Does it take a certain personality, certain type person to be a successful offensive lineman?

Brad: Well I think it does. As you go out across the country and recruit offensive linemen, some of those things that I know that I look for. It?s the one position on the football team where you can be very selective in making sure that you?re going to recruit young men that yes they?ve going to have the ability, but I think it?s critical at this position that they have desire to go to school, get an education, graduate and go to class, that they?ve got integrity, that these are blue-collar guys. They?re not going to get their name in the paper quite so much, but I?m looking more for that disciplined young man, that?s a leader on this football team, that?s kind of a yes sir/no sir guy. It?s not a high-maintenance position; I don?t recruit high-maintenance offensive linemen.

I?ve got a bunch of great kids right now that I think are going to be excellent football players for us. I?m old school I guess and I?m too far in my career to be chasing guys around that don?t want to go to class. I?m not worried about guys that are running out robbing banks or selling drugs or something. They ain?t going to play for us here at Clemson. They?re certainly not going to be the kind of guy I?m looking for in offensive line. So it is a different guy. But that?s what I love about it. Very unselfish guys, kind of their own little team within the team, very strong, committed fraternity group of kids.

Dan (joking): Come on Brad, you?re not at the stage in your career when you?re going to start coddling guys just to get them to come play for you?

Brad: No, you don?t have to at offensive line. There?s enough of them out there, there?s enough good ones out there. I didn?t say if I was coaching these other positions, it?s a little different. There?s some high maintenance positions if you want to be successful. But, my success as a line coach has been, the players I?ve coached have ... gone on to do extremely well, they meet those criteria that we just talked about. They love the game, they?re hard working guys in the off-season, they lift weights, they train, but most of them are outstanding students. Most of them have a good reputation, they?re not trouble students, and they?re not in trouble at school all the time. I do check all that kind of stuff out. And if you check across the country, you probably see fewer offensive linemen in trouble than any position across the board.

Dan: Brad, so much attention has been focused on the quarterback race between Cullen Harper and Willy Korn, and whoever ends up playing is going to be another first-year starter in this system, and the fans are wondering how these guys are going to do. Well, a lot of how they?re going to do is going to be determined by how the offensive line plays, you guys, as always, are going to play THE role in this offense. Returning only one fulltime starter last year, although a number of guys played, that?s a lot of pressure and a big focal point for this football team going in, wouldn?t you say?

Brad: Absolutely, and the only thing that could make it worse if you started the season with a team like, hmmm, I don?t know, Florida State maybe or somebody like that (laughing).

I tell you what, it?s going to be a challenge for us, and we do have young quarterbacks. I think they?re very capable guys. I?m excited, for the first time in a long time we have competition at the quarterback position. Not that we always haven?t had 2nd and 3rd string guys, but you?ve kind of known going into the season who your starter was going to be all the way back to Charlie Whitehurst days. As I look at this, I see two very capable kids that are kind of in the hunt right now with Cullen and Willy. Cullen certainly has the advantage being with the experience and all. I like his posture in the pocket, he?s a tall kid, throws a good ball, he?s a very tough, competitive kid. And then Willy?s got all the upside.

I think as an offensive line we take a lot of pride in trying to keep those quarterbacks off their backs, you might say. Going into the bowl game and we gave a few sacks at the bowl game, a little disappointed there, but you know we one of the top 2 or 3 teams in the country giving up the fewest amount of sacks last year. We led the conference in that category as well as rushing yards, a bunch of things like that. And you know, that?s what an offensive line kind of thrives on a little bit, we take a lot of pride in those kinds of things. This year, with a new quarterback, and with some new offensive linemen, it?s just not going to happen.

We don?t just roll the balls out there and expect on Labor Day that we?re going to go out there and be perfect. But certainly a big test with Florida State and we?ve got some guys that haven?t played in a big environment like that as far as any key, critical roles, maybe starting or having to play quality reps. And FSU?s defensive front is always tremendous and so yeah. It?s keeping me up a little bit. I snuck away a little bit in June and had a good time, but here lately now, there?s a lot of football talk and I haven?t been sleeping much and I think them Seminoles have something to do with that.

Dan: Before Cobb asks his question, you?re not really expecting Florida State to put any pressure on you, are you?

Brad: After working with Mickey Andrews for about 12 years there?s no way Mickey would try to pressure a rookie, young quarterback that?s never really played any, thrown any significant passes out there you might say. And they?re so multiple defensively anyway. Hey, we?re having fun right now just trying to figure them out a little bit and of course we?ve played them so many years and I know Mickey very well. You know the thing about Florida State, yeah they some multiple things, but you just have to line up physically and beat them. You?re not going to line p and trick them and they?re not going to trick you. It?s kind of here we are and you be better than us today. And fortunately we?ve had some success here of late, but defensively that hasn?t been their weaknesses lately. And they got them all back from last year it seems like. So it?s going to be quite a challenge.

Cobb Oxford: Coach this is Cobb, as an offensive lineman you?ve got to be excited to have two backs like Davis and Spiller and just give them a crease and they might go. I mean it?s the kind of guys you want to block for.

Brad: Absolutely. That?s a thrill for our guys. In that little meeting room, we have all 16 or 17 of us stuffed in there, you know it holds about 8 and we put 16 in there, and as we watch that tape and practice and see the inside drill and see our little 11 on 11 when we?re going best on best defense, just in practice to see everyday the effort that James Davis plays with, the physical, tough running style that he has, to see the elusiveness, the moves, the quickness and change of direction of CJ Spiller, that really excites my guys. I say, ?Men they?ll make you a better player than you are and they?ll make me a better Line Coach than I am.? But, you know we never know what play they?re going to do it. And I say, ?That?s why we have to play, you know, it?s 85 snaps, we have to play 85 snaps hard because we have backs that can take it the distance.?

And it?s such a motivation for our offensive linemen and they take a lot of pride in wanting to be the best running team in the conference, to be the best at pass protection in the conference, and CJ and James Davis, there?s not doubt about it, that?s 2 of the most exciting backs in this country and college football today and they can change a game, there?s no question about that. You don?t have to block them long, you just got to cover them up. You know, sometimes I tell them just get run over slowly, give them backs a chance and we?ll be alright.

Dan: Well listen Brad, we appreciate your time. We?ve hit a break here so we?re going to let you go and let you get things wrapped up there and let you get up here to this beautiful golf course and hack it around for a couple of hours and then get back to doing what you?re supposed to be doing and that?s getting this line ready for September 3rd, it?s going to be here before you know it.

Brad: Exactly right Dan, and thanks a lot for having me on the show. Look forward to seeing y?all and appreciate what y?all do for Clemson.

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