Ready to Battle

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – Some players are practice players who perform well in practice but shrink under the pressure of game situations. Other players might not show up in practice, but thrive on the big stage.

Sophomore left tackle Isaiah Battle says he is one of those players, and his goal this spring is to treat every practice like it’s the Chick-fil-A Bowl. His hope is that he will show the Clemson coaches enough that they will trust him to start at some point this season.

As a freshman last season, Battle collected just 80 snaps over five games, and nobody expected the Brooklyn (NY) native to have much of an impact in the bowl game against LSU. That all changed when starting right tackle Giff Timothy suffered a game-ending injury in the first half, starting a chain of events that saw starting left tackle Brandon Thomas move to Timothy’s spot and Battle to left tackle.

Battle more than held his own against LSU’s vaunted defensive line, but struggled to win the starting job in the spring. He said Friday that one of his goals during fall camp is to learn to treat practices like games.

“As soon as I see the spotlight I have to get in it,” Battle said. “I have to look at every day as a game. Coach Swinney said that I have to use every day to my advantage, be patient and learn and take it one day at a time.”

Battle said that offensive coordinator Chad MorrisChad Morris
Offensive Coordinator / QBs
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and line coach Robbie CaldwellRobbie Caldwell
Assistant Coach / Offensive Line
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’s message to him has been simple.

“They say they want me to take the job. They want me to stay consistent and be consistent enough that they will trust me in a game,” he said.

As a result, he might get a little extra “coaching” that some of the other players might not receive.

“They are looking for me to perform at a constant level every day,” Battle said. “Sometimes I have a little let-up here and there and they have to put a bug in my ear. But me and B.T. [Brandon Thomas] are working hard, and he is getting me ready.”

Battle said his goal during fall camp is to win that starting job protecting quarterback Tajh Boyd’s blindside, and he thinks he has the right gameplan to make that happen – make each practice like it’s the bowl game.

“You have to work hard individually. When you work hard on the practice field you will transform,” he said. “I need to maintain my attitude and stay level-headed. Don’t let one play get me down or out of my game. I have to maintain and keep my effort at 100 percent."

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