On the Beat: Rookie offensive tackles stand up for Clemson
CLEMSON — There’s a chance Clemson will be rolling with two true freshmen at offensive tackle for at least this weekend at Wake Forest.
And that’s just fine with head coach Dabo Swinney.
Left tackle Tremayne Anchrum and right tackle Sean Pollard each enrolled in college courses in January, and began the season as second-stringers. Right tackle Jake Fruhmorgen has been away from the team the past two games with personal matters, and left tackle Mitch Hyatt suffered a foot injury Saturday vs. Pittsburgh. Hyatt is day-to-day, with his status unknown this week in practice or Saturday at Wake.
Pollard played all 98 gradeable snaps vs. the Panthers, while Anchrum played 89 snaps. The Tigers allowed just two sacks, while quarterback Deshaun Watson threw 70 passes.
“Those two freshman tackles played lights-out football for Clemson,” Swinney said. “Two true freshman tackles. I’m so proud of those two guys. It’s awesome to see guys go in and be prepared and play well.
“After what I saw last week from those guys, what I see in practice every day, I’m very confident.”
If Hyatt and Fruhmorgen are not active against the Demon Deacons, the Tigers have no true backup tackles available behind Anchrum and Pollard. In the event of injury, left guard Taylor Hearn could play left tackle (with the Tigers inserting Fort Dorchester product John Simpson at left guard) and backup guard Maverick Morris could play right tackle.
Defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence had to clear up some confusion Tuesday.
Lawrence is from Wake Forest, N.C., which is a suburb of Raleigh and about 100 miles east of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem. So when a reporter asked about Saturday’s game being a “homecoming,” Lawrence politely corrected him.
“So this is a funny story. I’m from Wake Forest, N.C., so I’m not from Winston-Salem,” Lawrence said. “The college used to be there back in the day. I played the state championship there in high school, so it’s kind of a homecoming.”
Indeed, the university relocated from the town of Wake Forest to its current home in Winston-Salem in 1946.
Either way, this will be the freshman Lawrence’s first game in his home state of North Carolina. Lawrence turned 19 Saturday, and ranks fourth on the Tigers with 63 tackles and is tied for second with four sacks.
Defensive tackle Scott Pagano (foot) and cornerback Adrian Baker (knee) have been ruled out for Saturday’s game. Pagano is expected to be out through the regular season, while Baker has not appeared in a game this season.