Caldwell previews the OL

SUNSET, S.C. - Robbie Caldwell talks about his offensive line and what the last year has been like for him personally, as he transitions from the head coach at Vanderbilt to the offensive line coach at Clemson.

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CUTigersTV: Robbie Caldwell



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Big picture- how do you assess the hand you have been dealt here at Clemson?
Caldwell: Coach Scott did a great job of assembling this group and coaching them. They are very mechanically sound and fundamentally sound. And they are wonderful people. Disciplined. I'm thoroughly impressed with the kind of program Coach Swinney runs. As I was telling people earlier, sometimes you think you have the market cornered with discipline and those type of things, but this has been ideal. I'm very lucky to be here.

This has been an interesting past year for you ... a year ago this time you were the talk of SEC Media Days after taking over at Vanderbilt and now you are the offensive line coach at Clemson?
Caldwell: Lord have mercy. I had just gotten the job and those people were running around scared to death trying to school me on what to do and how to do it. I said, 'boys, I can't worry about it. I'm not smart enough to handle all of this. I'm just going to do what I do. It was fun.

"In the offensive line room our philosophy is fairly simple - the best five will start. If it means a player (needs to) switch a position than that means that's something they ought to want to do."

What was it like in Birmingham? You were the star to the show that day.
Caldwell: It was fun because I like to talk to people. But it was very discouraging about my profession because the people that worked there - the simple things- like telling them thank you and all, they had never heard that before. That was heartbreaking to hear that. That was disappointing. Life is about people. I enjoy them. I don't need to get into that but when people do stuff for you say thank you. It doesn't matter how much money you make.

What has the transition been like for you with what you did at Vanderbilt last year and what Clemson wants to do this season offensively?
Caldwell: I've had a little experience at it. I really feel comfortable in this offense. I like his (coach Morris) approach. He knows a lot more about it than what we were trying to do with it. We went to something probably prematurely. At one time we had a lot of receivers then all of a sudden we switched to this and they all got hurt and we didn't have them out on the perimeter outside. He's got a great plan with the different approaches out of the offense he takes to attack defenses is very refreshing. I feell like I have something to add to it from experience. I'm just tickled.

Can you assess your situation at left tackle?
Caldwell: We have two guys who are very capable there in Phillip Price and Brandon Thomas. Phillip had a great spring and did a great job for us. Brandon didn't have as good a spring because he was injured. He's gotten his shoulder fixed and right now he's been amazing. He's over 300 pounds and is as strong as he's ever been. That sucker ran a 4.7 at 300 pounds and I haven't seen an athlete like that in a long time. So, it's a pleasure.

Will Thomas be able to challenge for the starting job in your estimation?
Caldwell: At some spot up there (yes). In the offensive line room our philosophy is fairly simple - the best five will start. If it means a player (needs to) switch a position than that means that's something they ought to want to do. When I was a player if I had a chance to be a starter than I believe I'd like that. And they do. They like that approach to it and that's how we are going to go at it.

When you came here with these guys coming off a losing season, did you find that their attitude needed to be adjusted in any way?
Caldwell: No. I tell you, the attitude was just the opposite. They were dying to get back out there. They were in the weight room, working hard. The continuity of the team is just so much better than what I was told. They are a very cohesive group. Not just the offensive line- the offense and defensive line. Coach Batson has done a great job with his staff of getting these guys ready to go.

Is Pickens county a better spot for you culturally than Nashville?
Caldwell: Well, I'd like to think I added a little culture to Nashville up there. Probably so. I'm from South Carolina so I'm proud of my heritage. I know Williamson County has been pretty high-tech where I've been living but they are probably happy to get rid of me. (laughing)


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