Robbie Caldwell says to be a great OL 'you've got to love the weight room'

Coach says Brandon Thomas, Tyler Shatley, Jay Guillermo, Ryan Norton setting an example for teammates

Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd fades back to pass near left tackle Brandon Thomas during the second quarter at Memorial Stadium in Clemson.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd fades back to pass near left tackle Brandon Thomas during the second quarter at Memorial Stadium in Clemson.

Robbie Caldwell has been working the football game for a long time - 37 years since he started out as a student-assistant at Furman.

Some things have changed, others haven't.

In coaching the offensive line, Caldwell sees one important constant: strength.

"Different offenses demand different things of players...but to be a really good offensive lineman, you've got to love the weight room," Caldwell said during Clemson's summer media day on Tuesday.

Caldwell raised the topic when asked about junior guard Kalon Davis taking the next step and competing to be one of the Tigers' 'best five.'

"You know he missed a year with a back injury, so his lower body strength is just catching up," Caldwell said. "You really have to work at that. It's something that is not fun for him.

"He's set his attitude and it's something he wants to do. But it's like sometimes he doesn't take football seriously. A lot of young people are that way, but he has the ability to do great things."

Caldwell said Davis has plenty of role models in teammates Brandon Thomas, Tyler Shatley, Jay Guillermo and Ryan Norton, just to name a few.

"Those guys love the weight room, and they're constantly working at it," Caldwell said. "Brandon just benched 500 pounds. We had to put him on hold. I don't know what he could really do.

"But you have to enjoy it. When I was young, I wanted to compete against you when I played and I was embarrassed because others did more than I did. But the deal is, you're competing against yourself."

Caldwell said its counterproductive for younger offensive linemen to compare themselves to veteran players who've been in Clemson's strength and conditioning program for three or four years.

"You can't worry about everyone else is doing," he said. "Sometimes younger guys don't want to go in there with the older guys because they're already accomplished. Tyler is going to bench 500 pounds. It's hard for some of the younger ones to fall into that group."

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