Not so lean, but still mean

CLEMSON - The nastiness that it takes to play on the offensive line? Redshirt senior left tackle Phillip Price has had that part down pat for a long time.

The former walk-on tight end, who is now listed as Clemson's starting left tackle, doesn't need offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell, head coach Dabo Swinney or former coach Brad Scott to remind him to play with a mean streak.

"It's just the way I am. It stems back to where I'm from and how I like to play. I just like to play physical football," Price said. "I played physical football in high school. I play physical up here. That's just not something I have to worry about. You have to coach some guys to be physical. That's just one of my key assets."

But there's more to it than being 300 pounds and pushing around the guy that's in front of you.

"You can be physical, but it's also with control, within the scheme, within the technique. You've got to take all the steps and put them together," Price said. "You can't just go out there and be like, ‘I'm going to go out there and throw everybody around.' That's not the way football is played.

"You've got to play within yourself, within the call, within the scheme and work with everybody. It's a team game. That's how you've got to play it."

He's had to learn the point of view of an offensive tackle for almost two years.

Price was moved from tight end before the start of his redshirt sophomore season. That first year as a tackle, he played only 10 snaps, but was in on every special teams play.

In 2010, he participated on 98 snaps as a reserve tackle and blocking tight end.

Now, Price is leading Brandon Thomas in the race for the open left tackle spot that Chris Hairston left vacant.

"I approached it like I want to try to win the job," Price said. "It's just hard work. I've worked hard every other year. I've been behind Chris [Hairston]. Chris is a great player. I learned from him…now, it's my opportunity to try to make something of myself and do my best. That's all it is."

At Dillon Christian School, Price played tight end, defensive end and linebacker. As a senior, he had 13 catches, six of which went for touchdown. On the defensive side of the ball, he recorded 108 tackles and 11 sacks. He also averaged a double-double in basketball over his final two seasons.

Price acknowledged that the athleticism he's carried over from the days when he was about 50 pounds lighter also works as a positive attribute.

"I guess that's what they say," he said. "I've packed on a lot of weight since I've been here…I'm used to being able to move quickly and move fast. I've got that foundation to fall back on, to work from." Top Stories