Battle tested

CLEMSON - Thirteen games into his first season on the Clemson campus, it appeared that Isaiah Battle should have redshirted.

Based on playing time, there wasn't much of an argument.

Thirteen games into his first season on the Clemson campus, Isaiah Battle played a grand total of 80 snaps, 59 of which were against Ball State and Furman.

He didn't play a single down in the first four conference games. His 21 snaps in ACC play came during garbage time in blowout wins over Wake Forest and Duke.

Battle nearly equaled his regular season snap total when he was called off the bench in the Chick-fil-A Bowl to play 73 snaps against LSU.

When starting right tackle Gifford Timothy was sidelined with an injury, Joe Gore came on as his replacement, but that move was nixed after a few plays. Brandon Thomas was flipped from left tackle and Battle was inserted into his place across from LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery.

Battle more than held his own.

"Big, knowing your family is there," Battle said of the bowl game experience. "The crowd, everybody is looking at you, the new lineman coming in. It's a big role. You're not going to act scared when you get in.

"You've just got to man up and take the challenge."

Halfway through spring practice, the now 6-foot-6, 277-pound has a renewed sense of confidence.

"It's sky high. If I'm maintaining and I'm doing well against a top level d-end, your [confidence] level is real high," he said. "You know you're going to be able to do well going against anybody."

Chad Morris doesn't share the same feel good thoughts as Battle continues to push Thomas for the starting left tackle job.

"He needs to become more consistent," Morris said. "He's got to make his mind up if this is what he's wants to do.

"It's time to do it and say, ‘I'm taking ownership of this thing. I'm taking this job.' We, obviously, all know what he can do. We saw it against one of the best defenses in the country. Now, we've got to parlay that into practice.

"We've got to practice with that type of attitude and mentality the whole time, not just whenever he wants to."

According to Morris, the sky is the limit for Battle.

"If Isaiah Battle can come on like we think he will, and he should, it's going to make our offensive line so much more athletic, and so much more with depth," Morris said.

Moving Battle into the starting left tackle spot would allow for Thomas to slide inside to left guard or flip back over to right tackle.

"We thought, coming out of that LSU game, this is it. We've got it. We figured it out," Morris said. "We just quite haven't gotten it done yet, doesn't mean it's not going to get done.

"It's going to get done, whether [Battle] likes it or not. It's going to get done. We're going to make sure of that."

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