Tiger O-Line Hitting Its Stride


by - Correspondent -
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Kyle Young is a two-time first-team Academic All-American.

CLEMSON - For Kyle Young, the preseason accolades being heaped on Clemson's
offensive line now, as opposed to two years ago, boil down to three simple
differences.


"One, we're bigger," the senior said Wednesday, the day veteran players
reported to camp. "Two, we're more experienced. And three, we proved
something last year. When you finish in the top 10 in rushing in the nation,
it's got to have a little something to do with the offensive line.


"I think people recognize that a little bit. We're proud of what we did last
year, but we understand that we've got a lot to do this year to live up to
the (hype)."


Young, the Daniel High School product, is a perfect example of Bowden's
offensive line philosophy. The starting center at 255 pounds as a sophomore,
Young will hit the field Sept. 1 against the University of Central Florida
weighing approximately 280.


That difference, both in weight and the accompanying strength improvement,
has provided a potent weapon in the trenches for Tommy Bowden's team.


"When you actually get into blocks you have a little more thrust going with
you when you have that extra weight," Young said. "Sometimes you worry about
quickness, speed and endurance when you put on the weight, but you maintain
that. I think we proved that (Wednesday) when we went out and ran. We ran
pretty good as an offensive line...I think everybody made the first run test."


Young, a two-time first-team Academic All-American, is beginning to reap
on-field rewards, as well. He was voted second-team All-American by Football
News and third-team by The Sporting News after last season.


Earlier this year he was awarded the 2001 Anson Mount Scholarship Award by
Playboy Magazine, which earned him a trip to Phoenix for the ceremony.


"I had never been any further west than Atlanta," Young said. "But it was
great. I met a lot of other players from around the country, and some people
from the next level, you might say. They treated us well."


The big question now is whether Young's fiance will allow him to buy the
edition of Playboy in which he is honored.


"I don't know," he laughed. "I have some friends that are going to get it for
me."


Not that she should have worried.


"The only bunnies I saw were the ones hopping across the golf course," he
said.


Bodrick: Defense Not A Weak Link


CLEMSON - Listen to radio sports talk shows, or visit Internet discussion
boards, and you can sense Clemson fans are bracing for the inevitable.


With an experienced offense in camp, but only four returning starters on
defense, the buzzword surrounding the Tigers - at least from the outside - is
"shootout." Simply put, after watching a veteran defense get torched
routinely down the stretch a year ago, many Clemson fans are expecting wild,
high-scoring games and praying their team comes out on top.


 Bodrick with the sack of CJ Leake.


Not so fast, says senior linebacker Altroy Bodrick.


"I don't think we're a weak link," Bodrick said Wednesday when veteran
players reported to camp for the first time. "Everybody's offense scores
points these days, so you've got to be a team that can stop the other team
from scoring to win games. Coach Bowden keeps stressing that defense is
important."


Bodrick started just one game in 2000, yet still finished in the top 10 in
total tackles for Clemson's defense. He will occupy the strong-side
linebacker slot in the Tigers' new 4-2-5 defensive alignment, a philosophy
defensive coordinator Reggie Herring hopes will remedy the number of big
plays his unit gave up during the second half of last season.


Bodrick, for one, likes the change. His only regret is it came this year
instead of in 2000.


"If we had the same personnel we had last year, it wouldn't be a problem," he
said. "We'd probably be talking more about championships."


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