Pagano talks boxing, defensive line depth and Dexter Lawrence


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Pagano says boxing has helped his game
Pagano says boxing has helped his game

CLEMSON – For anyone who might be interested in gauging their toughness, Clemson defensive tackle Scott Pagano is taking boxing in Central and as fall camp comes to a close he’s looking to hit anyone who isn’t wearing Clemson’s colors.

The 6-3, 295-pounder took boxing during the offseason in an effort to improve his game and he’s been pleased with the results.

“My footwork and hands (have gotten better). I've been doing boxing over in Central, trying to get my feet and hands quicker,” Pagano said after Friday’s practice. “I feel like it's translated to the field this year. My strength and being physical and quick on the line of scrimmage.”

Clemson opens the season two weeks from today in a nationally-televised game at Auburn, and Pagano says he and the rest of his teammates are ready to take aim at an opponent. He also thinks he and his teammates will be ready for the Auburn challenge.

“There has been a lot of orange and white hitting. It will be good to hit somebody else in a few weeks,” he said. “I am tired of beating on all of them. Hitting on (Taylor) Hearn and big Jay (Guillermo) and my roommate Tyrone Crowder, we always go at it every day. It's going to be a lot of fun.

“Fall camp has been good. I've been grinding with the boys and getting better every day. Just coming in day in and day out and wanting to get better at one thing at a time. I feel like we as a team got better every day and that's a good thing.”

The Clemson defensive line took a hit this week with the loss of starting defensive end Austin Bryant, prompting the coaches to at least take a look at moving Christian Wilkins to defensive end. However, Pagano says he thinks the depth along the line will allow the defense to not skip a beat.

“I don't think so. Me, Dex (Dexter Lawrence), Los (Carlos Watkins), Christian if he comes back in, we can all play ball,” Pagano said. “Coach (Dan) Brooks has done a good job of getting us ready for every practice and every game.

“It's good (depth). It gets us better every day. If one guy has a bad day another person is going to shine. We are just trying to work hard every day and trying to claim that spot. We all have had a pretty consistent fall camp. We just grind and compete every day. We are so aggressive and we all bring different traits to the table.”

He also believes the defensive ends will turn heads once the games begin.

“We will be just fine. We have Clelin (Ferrell) and Christian and Chris (Register) and Richard (Yeargin), they are all going to do their job. Coach (Marion) Hobby is going to get them ready for Auburn and all of the other games. They are going to be just fine. Chris Register is probably the most improved player to me. He and Clelin have been popping out to me. Rich has put on a lot of weight and gotten faster. I am not going to worry about them. They are going to get it done.”

One player that has caught Pagano’s attention in camp has been freshman defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, a 6-6, 343-pound mountain who has drawn rave reviews since arriving on campus last January.

“I've never seen a man that big in my life,” Pagano said with a laugh. “And he's only a freshman, which is even scarier. The sky is the limit for him. He is going to be a phenomenal player by the time he leaves here. It's nice to have him there and teach a few things here and there and take him under my wing.”


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