By Ashley Denny.
PINEHURST, NC- Clemson’s starting center Dalton Freeman learned earlier this week that he would be replacing Landon Walker as one of Clemson’s representatives at the ACC Football Kickoff in Pinehurst, NC after Walker learned that he would have to undergo minor knee surgery.
“I’ve been joking with Sports Information Director Tim (Bourret) all along that I wanted to come down here,” Freeman said. “I found out earlier this week that I would be coming instead of Landon as he’s recovering from his surgery so it all worked out.”
Earlier in the day, we heard from Georgia Tech players Roddy Jones and Logan Walls that they believed Clemson to be one of their biggest rivals in the ACC and Freeman couldn’t agree more.
“I definitely think there’s a rivalry brewing between the two teams,” Freeman said. “Two years ago we played at Georgia Tech and they were beating us pretty bad, they had a few trick plays and scored early, but we ended up coming back and making the game exciting and ended up losing. Then we played them again later on in the season for the ACC Championship and it turned out to be an offensive showcase, there wasn’t a punt, kick or anything like that. We ended up losing that game as well so we’ve seen them as the team to beat since then so beating them last season was a big deal.”
Has Freeman’s role changed at all since the installation of Offensive Coordinator Morris’s new system?
“Not really, I’m still considered the quarterback of the offensive line,” Freeman said. “I’m still making all of the calls and setting the protections. From a tempo aspect it’s definitely changed, instead of looking to the sidelines for the play, I’m going straight to the ball and getting down and the other guys are getting set off of me, since I’m that guy in the middle.”
Freeman calls learning Morris’s new up tempo offense a big transition but believes it’s been a smooth one for the team as a whole.
After Clemson’s first losing season in 12 years, there has been talk among Clemson fans on the topic of Clemson
“Our fans here at Clemson are very enthusiastic and they expect us to win,” Freeman said. “We expect to win football games because that’s what Clemson’s is known for. Last year was just a disappointment, and we don’t want to start a losing tradition, we’re going to do whatever we can to win football games from here on out.”
As for talk about Clemson’s Head Football Coach Dabo Swinney, Freeman agrees with Athletic Director Terry Don Philips who voiced his opinion on a radio show earlier this week that Dabo was still the man for the job at Clemson.
“I thought it was great that our Athletic Director said that Swinney was not on the hot seat,” Freeman said. “Our fans need to be patient. But I think if you go back and look at Coach Swinney’s progress, it’s unbelievable. The top 25 recruiting classes and the great coaches that are coming in, everything’s just falling into place and us players believe and we always have that everything is being handled the right way.”
Freeman joked that Clemson fans just expect everything to get better over night and he and the rest of the Clemson Tigers know that isn’t reality.
“For Coach Swinney to come in and bring in the nation’s top recruits and top coaches it’s unbelievable, we as a team have all of the confidence in the world in him.” Freeman said. “Once he gets all of his people, running his system, set up the way he wants it, and with all of his recruits we’re going to be something special.”