Battle appreciates the support

CLEMSON - There was a time when Brandon Thomas was the supremely talented offensive lineman trying to earn his coaches' trust. Isaiah Battle has assumed that role.

Now, a redshirt senior, Thomas' status has been elevated to mentor.

"[Thomas] keeps me on his wing, because he knows I'm going to be that guy that steps up next year, or possibly this year," Battle said.

A first-team All-ACC performer at left tackle last season, Thomas could move to left guard or right tackle once Dabo Swinney, Chad Morris and Robbie Caldwell are confident that Battle is ready to take over as the protector of Tajh Boyd's blindside.

"Overall, I've got to step up to the plate," Battle said. "I'm a sophomore. I'm not a freshman anymore. It's about that time to step up. We're not playing anymore games."

Battle believes he's almost ready to make that jump.

"I'm very close, very close. I'm at the tip of the iceberg," he said. "They're throwing me in every which way, throwing me in with the first group. I'm mainly in the second, but they keep putting me in the first."

To help ensure that he's ready for full-time work with the first-team, Battle said that he needs to keep one particular technique in mind.

"Staying low, because I'm pretty tall," he said. "I'm pretty tall, so I've basically got to stay low. I'm working on it everyday, just staying low [and] maintaining that."

It also helps that Thomas is in Battle's corner trying to steer him in the right direction.

"[Thomas is] a great leader. I learn through him, because he's been here for so long," Battle said. "Every which way, every mistake I make, he corrects me, because he wants to go to guard and me be left tackle, because we can be a dominate force."

With a third-year starter at quarterback and an a boatload of skill to utilize out on the perimeter, that has to be music to the ears of Clemson fans.

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