Holding his helmet at his knee, freshman offensive tackle Sean Pollard stood waiting for four quarters on the sidelines in Auburn’s Jordan Hair Stadium to be called in the game. Despite never getting the chance to experience a down in Clemson’s 19-13 victory over Auburn, the freshman said it was a blessing to just be standing on the sidelines.
“It’s a blessing. I’m here. I’m a freshman,” Pollard said in his first session with the media on Monday. “(The veteran offensive linemen) have played a lot more hours than I have. They have been here a little bit longer and I have the coaches trust that they are going to play the starters in a tight game, so I wouldn’t expect to be thrown in right then. If I had to, I would be ready to play.”
Being around guys like Jay Guillermo, Tyrone Crowder, Taylor Hearn, Mitch Hyatt and Jake Fruhmorgen, guys that have done their time on the offensive line has been a humbling experience for Pollard.
“I guess its because everyone comes from their senior year of high school being the big dog on campus and you come in here and your like ‘Okay, these guys have put their hours in.'”
In other words, they have to wait their turn and earn that respect. Pollard says as a freshman on the Clemson team, they are expected to go in and perform at high levels. That means being able to keep up with the guys who have seen a lot of playing time throughout their years at Clemson.
“It’s just expectations. We all know the formula and what it takes so when it is your time to step in you have to be able to perform at that level and they don’t expect anything less,” he said. “If I am going in there and messing up there is no slacks. I might be a freshman but they expect me to play like I am a fifth year senior.”
Knowing the expectations were high, the 6-foot-5, 315-pound offensive tackle was pleased with his first performance during the Tigers’ win over Troy last Saturday.
“I wasn’t really scared to go hit someone, but just a few technique errors and just getting better on my pass set and making sure I don’t turn my shoulders,” Pollard said.
Running down the hill for his first time as a player was a moment the offensive tackle will never forget.
“Everyone want’s to run down the hill here with 84,000 people screaming ‘Go Tigers!’ It was just crazy getting to play in front of that atmosphere with amazing fans,” Pollard said.