Well versed in the trenches

CLEMSON - Whether he's working along the edge at tackle or on the inside at guard, Eric MacLain gets to experience the worst of both worlds.

When MacLain first made the transition from tight end, he worked primarily as a tackle. Listed at 6-4, 290 pounds, he's cross-trained at all but one of the positions on the offensive line.

For now, MacLain is the starting left guard.

"Really, the only thing you've got to deal with is going from Vic [Beasley], who's going to beat you with speed to Grady [Jarrett], who is just going to run you over," MacLain said. "You've just really got to change your foot work and keep doing your tools."

Over the course of the last year, his work has included left tackle, right tackle, left guard and right guard. Entering his redshirt junior season, MacLain could be the most versatile piece along the Clemson line.

"All season I played right, left guard, both ways. The only position I really didn't play was center," he said. "It wasn't a hard transition going to [left guard]. It's just been easy working with Isaiah [Battle] and working with Ryan [Norton]."

MacLain had no idea he would enter spring practice as the starting left guard. It wasn't until Dabo Swinney announced the day before practice began that MacLain heard about it.

"When I was reading all of you guys' tweets that I was starting at guard," MacLain told reporters, "I was excited. That was a good thing."

He was ready for anything when offseason workouts began in January.

"Going into the offseason, they just told me to know the offensive line, so the more you know, the more utilized you can be," MacLain said. "If they put me at right tackle, I'm ready. If they put me at left tackle, I'm ready. We'll roll with it."

Facing some of the best defensive linemen in the conference every day in practice has helped prepare him.

"It's an amazing thing when you've got one of the best defensive lines to go against every day…it's going to be a great thing going through this spring where we can go against that defense that gets after it and practice our tools," MacLain said.

CUTigers.com Top Stories