Thomas Austin Expecting More Quality Depth Along Clemson OL In 2023

Thomas Austin (Jason Priester All Clemson)

CLEMSON- Every assistant coach on Dabo Swinney’s staff met with members of the media on Tuesday ahead of the start of fall camp the first week of August.

Offensive line coach Thomas Austin spoke for close to half an hour and one of the biggest takeaways was how confident he was in the experience returning up front.

Here are some highlights from Austin’s time with the media.

  • Austin said his players are having fun learning the new offense and all the feedback he has gotten over the summer has been extremely positive.
  • Austin said Colin Sadler, Blake Miller and Tristan Leigh have all had fantastic summers. With four starters returning, the Tigers are only having to replace Jordan McFadden at LT, and Leigh will get first crack at locking the job up after pleasing the coaches with his performance during the spring. Said he is just overly impressed with the transformation of Leigh since his arrival on campus.
  • Austin said Leigh has pulled a little ahead of Sadler at this point but he told Sadler coming out of the spring that he expects to play him early and often. Said the two bring different skillsets to the table.
  • Austin noted how battle-tested players like Will Putnam and Walker Parks are. He said those guys came to Clemson to win championships, not go 10-3.
  • Austin is hoping to be able to do a little more cross-training this season after not having done as much as he would have liked a year ago.
  • After missing the spring, Marcus Tate looks really good physically, according to Austin.
  • Austin said Putnam is much more comfortable at center now that he has been in the position for a year. He will have more control of the calls at the line of scrimmage this season.
  • Called Miller, Leigh, Sadler and Trent Howard some of the leaders of the group. Austin said they have “layers of leadership” along the offensive line, and that should pay off on the field this season.
  • Austin said they have added more tempo periods into practice. Said you can preach tempo all the time, but it doesn’t do any good if you are not practicing it enough.
  • Austin expects to have more depth this season. Says that is talked about every year but he really believes they have more quality depth this season. Says it his job to create more depth, but unfortunately the past two seasons, the close games haven’t given the coaches the opportunity to give the backups the game experience they would have liked.
  • Austin said Dietrick Pennington has trimmed down. He is as lean as he has ever been. Said he thinks he is weighing 335-340 pounds right now after having been in the 360s.
  • Austin said freshman Harris Sewell got a lot of reps this spring. Told him coming out of the spring that the goal heading into his first fall camp was to make it hard for the coaches to keep him off the field.

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