Robbie Caldwell likes to have a little fun with his players, especially with those that do not understand if he is joking or not.
Since he came to Clemson in 2011, Clemson’s offensive line coach has had either Eric Mac Lain or Jay Guillermo in his meeting room. Though the two players took their jobs and their roles on the team very seriously, they also knew when it was time to cut loose and have a little fun.
“I like to have fun and sometimes, but they take me too seriously. They don’t understand when I’m joking and when I am not sometimes, but those two did and they could get it,” Caldwell said. “I would tell them, watch this. ‘I’m going to get this one today. Ya’ll might have to help him a little bit,’
“They understood and we need that.”
Right now, Caldwell does not know if he has that kind of personality in his room. That is one of the things the Tigers’ offensive line coach will be looking for when Clemson opens fall camp next Thursday. He is looking for someone to step up and become more of a vocal leader on the offensive line.
Though left tackle Mitch Hyatt and right guard Tyrone Crowder are All-ACC players and lead by example on the field and in the weight room with their work ethic, Caldwell also understands he has to have a vocal guy, too. Someone who will stand up and challenge his teammates when they need to be challenged, or someone who let the rest of his teammates know that it is okay to have a little fun. That’s what both Mac Lain and Guillermo excelled at.
With Guillermo exhausting his eligibility like Mac Lain did the year before, Caldwell is concerned he will not have that balance which is so necessary in his offensive line room.
“In our world, the only things you get are boos,” Caldwell said. “Coming in today, I was listening to the radio and they wanted to talk about this and that, but not one of them mentioned an offensive lineman. When you look at them, not a fat person is sitting over there so then you know why.”
In other words, no one notices or talks about the offensive line unless someone messes up or the quarterback gets sacked. That’s why Caldwell wants to make sure they have a little fun and don’t take things too serious all the time.
“My wife is always the first to notice, ‘They don’t like to have fun. They’re too serious,’” Caldwell recalls.
However, Caldwell has a little hope he can have some new characters developing in his room. Right tackle Sean Pollard appears to be one candidate as do centers Justin Falcinelli and Gage Cervenka.
“They are coming around,” Caldwell said. “They are coming out of their shell a little bit. They have learned they can cut up with me a little bit. There is a time for play and there is a time for work and that is all that I ask of them is to be able to understand that … and Eric and Jay really did that well.”
Hot off the Press!!! Have you ordered the 2017 Clemson season preview ‘Best is the Standard’ from the staff that covers Clemson football 365 days a year? Order yours today to make sure you get a copy!