Quick Hits with Jesse Pickens

Excuse Jesse Pickens for a minute if he enjoys himself this week at practice. You see, after being the football program for four years, he's finally going to see the field for the first time Saturday afternoon against Wake Forest. <BR><BR> And oh by the way, he'll be starting at left tackle.

You've earned a scholarship and now you're the starting left tackle for the 15th ranked team in the country. Describe how the last months few months have been for you. Was this a surprise?
Pickens: Well, from just being on the scout team for so many years, I've had to block guys like Nick Eason and Bryant McNeal, so I knew I could play. It was just a matter of gaining the weight and getting myself ready to play, and learning what to do. As of right now today, my time has come so there isn't much time to worry about everything that's happened before. I've got to do my job and do it well this week.

When you first came to Clemson what was your weight?
Pickens: I was around 220 I think.

And now?
Pickens: I'm about 280 right now. I've dropped about eight pounds since camp started just because of all the work that goes on.

Run me through the depth chart at left tackle right now if you don't mind.
Pickens: Well it's me and Barry right now as far as reps go. I figure Roman will probably go in some during the game because he's played all the positions on the line except center the last few weeks. As far as reps, I've been getting all the first team reps the last two weeks and Barry's been getting the second team. Roman has mostly been at right guard and left guard, and some at right tackle when Marion Dukes got hurt that day.

What kind of problems will Wake Forest bring to the table?
Pickens: All the blitzes. Basically, all the wave blitzes they bring at you. They do a lot of different things that we have to ready for on every single play. They run so many different things at you and they've switched their look to even this year. We've practiced against both though.

Last year did you dress out when the team played Wake Forest?
Pickens: No, I didn't make the trip. I didn't dress out because I was on the scout team. I was actually on the two-deep during the fall, but I got hurt and I was pretty much done after that.

The scoop on you seems to be that you are one the better pass blockers at left tackle. Can you talk about that a little bit?
Pickens: Well I need to work on both my pass and run blocking. But I like to pass block. I wish I had some more weight, but I have to trust my technique when I'm in there. It's not like I'm bad at run blocking or anything.

What was it like for you to learn that you finally earned a scholarship this year?
Pickens: I was like, 'all the hard work I've done has paid off.' Even if I didn't get the scholarship, it was worth it, but it was great to finally get it. This is my fourth year, and I was glad to get it.

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