On the Record: Thomas Austin

CLEMSON - Redshirt sophomore guard Thomas Austin could be playing any one of a number positions this week against Furman. CUTigers.com checks in with the Camden, S.C. native in another edition of "On the Record."

Thomas, coach Bowden said this week the offensive line needs to play better and that it needs to have more of a nasty streak on the field. What is your initial reaction in hearing that?
Austin: Well, you know people are always comparing us to last year's offensive line. Those guys were mean nasty guys that liked to finish blocks. They were cutting guys downfield and always looking for opportunities to hit guys. I think so far this year we've gotten the job done but there is so much room for growth and development that we haven't even tapped into it. Getting a nasty streak and being a meaner offensive line is something we are definitely working on.

It seems like there has been more of an effort to focus on the passing game through the first two games. Do you think the offensive game plan has been focused on the passing game to make sure you guys can throw the ball later this year against the eight and nine man fronts?
Austin: Sure. I think that's definitely a concern. Last year we were 7-1 against Georgia Tech and then we go to Virginia Tech and they put a bunch of guys in the box and we couldn't run the ball. I don't think we focused on the passing game earlier in the season and that might be a reason Coach Spence and Coach Bowden are trying to establish early on- that way Cullen can focus on that and we'll be better in the long run because of it.

You were banged up during the Florida State- how are you feeling health wise and could we see you playing two different positions on the offensive line Saturday against Furman?
Austin: I'm still kind of nursing a sprained ankle. But I'm working on that and getting treatment for that. Yesterday I took some snaps at center. Chris Capote got some reps at guard. Brandon Pilgrim took some snaps at tackle. Coach Scott likes to cross train us at different positions so if one guy goes down other guys can step into that position and fill that gap.

Are you comfortable playing center?
Austin: I've been playing guard since I've been here so I'm more comfortable with that. Obviously I have more work and experience with that. Center is a good position. It's a lot more responsibility with the calls and establishing fronts and stuff like that. I'm working on that. My comfort level is definitely increasing at center.

What do you know about Furman's defense? What do they like to do to try and stop you?
Austin: They are smart players. Their schemes are sound. They don't tip what they are going to do before the snap. They have a lot fronts with two a-gap defenders. That's a zone stopper. They run that very well so we've been working on that because we are a zone team. They do present some problems with our running game but that's a good test for us because a lot of other teams in the ACC will have these wrinkles designed to stop our running game. That's great for us to see in a game situation.

Does Appalachian State's win over Michigan get discussed in the locker room this week?
Austin: Sure. That's always in the back of your mind. The last thing you want to happen is for a smaller school to come into your stadium and beat you in front of your fans. Furman has had success against App. State too. We know that. Furman is more than capable in a game like this so yeah- we talk about that and we use it as a motivator for us.

CUTigers.com Top Stories