SUNSET, S.C. – Clemson defensive tackle coach Todd Bates took some time to speak to the media Tuesday during Dabo Swinney’s media golf outing at The Reserve at Lake Keowee.
Bates on focusing on the defensive tackle position
“Any time that you are able to specialize and really zoom in on one thing, you concentrate on it and get your guys a lot better. You get to spend more time with them and that is a lot better. I’ve coached them all four at times in my career and its good also to know what everyone is doing so we’re trying not to lose that element of knowing what everybody is doing. You are that much better of a player when you know what your brothers are doing. So, that’s why we have to work hand in hand together, and also be able to specialize and spend that intimate time with your position.”
Bates on how he is going to work with defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall
“We’re going to work together closely. I’ve known Coach Hall for a good while, back to his days playing before me at Alabama…When I was a captain there, my senior year, I’d see him in an out of the building all of the time, never knowing we would be coaching together one day.”
Bates on the return of Christian Wilkins
“I would do a split right now in honor of Christian. The kid is one of a kind. What a great young man he is. A great leader, a great personality, and the thing a lot of people don’t know about him is just the effect he has on that room. He makes the room instantly better. He brings the same energy every day. That type of stuff is priceless. We are just ecstatic to have him back.”
Bates on what makes Clemson different
“What do you see when you look at that paw? You know it, don’t you? That’s what I think the difference is, and I’m saying that humbly…People see that paw and they recognize the Clemson brand, and that’s been wonderful. That instant credibility, instant recognition.”
Bates on the defensive tackle depth chart
“A lot of times, you are on the other side of this where you don’t have enough guys that can do it. Being on the side where you’ve got three starter-level guys and well capable back-ups, you’ve just got to coach them truthfully…The guys have got to earn it every week. It’s got to be fair where if I’m out-performing this guy, I’m going to start or I’m going to play. And that is the best type of situation to be in, where you’ve got competition at that level of a Christian Wilkins and a Dexter Lawrence. I just think it is going to be fun…They know whoever puts in the best work is going to play.”
Bates on the new redshirt rule
“It is clutch. That is very clutch. Before you had to worry about burning the redshirt and all of that and you got some mulligans, if you would, now to go out there to get some extra reps and I just think it is going to be big because, again, development is so important. There is no development, really, without the opportunity to play.”
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