With Jackson Carman moving onto his career in the NFL after being drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in April, the Clemson offensive line will lose its starter at left tackle and while many teams would be scrambling to find the next guy up, Clemson offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell isn’t worried.
In fact, Caldwell is excited to see how returners like Jordan McFadden and Walker Parks will rise to the challenge.
“In the spring, we switched Jordan [McFadden] and Walker [Parks] around to just kind of see who was more comfortable and Jordan had done it before and Walker’s done it, so trying to create some flexibility there. They worked at it pretty well, John Williams and Mitchell Mays, they switched sides and then I ended up moving John to guard when we had a little need there, so we try to get them used to it.”
“To me, we try to teach it as it’s not so much a big deal, but it is. Your dominant foot may not be the one you’re using the most, it’s harder than it used to be, but they’ve adjusted to it well. If we started tomorrow, we’d have Jordan at left and Walker at right and then we’ll let it sort out from there.”
Sophomore Walker Parks has continued to improve in the offseason, something his coach attributes to his love for the game.
“He’s made great strides,” the offensive line coach said. “From the time he started coming to camp here and to see the work he’s put in and always a smile on his face, excited about it, I mean, if he doesn’t love it, he’s got me fooled because he just acts like he loves it. The first thing I see is his truck in the parking lot every morning and I get here pretty early.”
Jordan McFadden is another guy that continues to catch coach Caldwell’s eye. The veteran lineman is looking to have a big year and should be a real difference maker for the Tigers this fall.
“Jordan just quietly goes by because he had a heck of a year last year. He did a great job and now, technically just going to be a junior, I’d be shocked if he’s not the best in the league if he stays healthy. People look at him and he doesn’t get his due because he’s not 6’5, but you look for those diamonds in the rough, you look for those guys who play with a chip on their shoulder. That’s why Walker and Jordan, they’re difference makers.”