Offensive line still has something to prove

by - Senior Writer -
Dalton Freeman said the OL better job understanding the scheme and philosophy against Auburn.

CLEMSON – Two weeks.

Clemson junior center Dalton FreemanDalton Freeman
RS Jr. Offensive Line
#55 6-5, 285
Pelion, SC

View Full Profile
had to listen to the fans and coaches talk about the lackluster play of the offensive line for two weeks – following wins over Troy and Wofford – and decided there was only one course of action.

Make a better show against the defending national champions.

"We tried not to buy into it [the complaints] too much, but obviously you hear it," Freeman said earlier this week. "It bothers you, but if it doesn't bother you, there's something wrong with you. We're all competitors. We came to this school to compete. That [Auburn] was a great opportunity for us to go out there and put our mark on it, and just continue to get better."

The mark turned out to be an exclamation point of a fourth quarter as the Tigers held the ball for 26 plays, took 12:29 off the clock and racked up 135 yards. Included in that was the final drive of the game – following Coty SensabaughCoty Sensabaugh
RS Sr. Defensive Back
#15 6-0, 180
Kingsport, TN

View Full Profile
’s interception – that lasted 18 plays and ran off the final nine minutes of the game clock.

"As an offensive lineman, you love that, being able to put the game on your back, knowing we've got to get three, four or five first-downs, eat up the clock and win the ball game," Freeman said. "We don't get a lot of credit, but I think everybody knows, in a situation like that, where it comes from. It's just a lot of fun for us to go out there and help our team. That was awesome, especially in the Auburn game and how much it meant to our fans and this program, to be able to go out there and win that one. It was very special.”

Freeman said he took the criticism personally, but also knew the criticism was well-founded and was glad to see the veteran group take a leap forward.

“We definitely improved week two to week three,” Freeman said. “We have to get better, but that all comes with preparation, and our guys did a much better job understanding our scheme, our philosophy, what we were going to try and accomplish that week. And they took it personal, that we weren’t doing what we should have been doing all year. They did a good job getting confident and playing fast.”

He said it helps that all the members of the group have taken it upon themselves to be leaders, especially with so many younger skill players looking up to them.

“We have a lot of leadership from the offensive line,” Freeman said. “ I challenged our guys and other people challenged us as well. We did what we had to do. We came in here and got real confident, with what we were doing and were able to play fast.”

This week, the test is even more difficult. The Florida St. Seminoles come to town and have two outstanding defensive ends in Bjoern Werner and Brandon Jenkins and solid tackles in Everett Dawkins and Anthony McCloud.

“They're very athletic. When you turn on the film, it's not typical defensive tackles. You see athletes playing defensive tackle," Freeman said. "They don't have anybody that's kind of a sloppy, typical, what you would think of as a defensive tackle.”

Rate this Story:
5 votes

Send Feedback to David Hood: Email | Comment

Clowney on teammates from Clemson: "We got too many"

Sideline Report: Hyatt saw stars after head injury, Venables does it all

Clemson holds situational scrimmage

Dabo Swinney: "God created us all equal. Period."

Four Clemson players named to SI's Preseason All-America team

"Inside Clemson Football with Dabo Swinney" will air on Mondays

Scrimmage update: Bryant excels but Cooper and Johnson "are coming"

Tom Brady forecasts 'great future' for Watson

Former Clemson OT picks new school
Sign Up for E-Mail News Alerts
Daily Digest