Comfortable with himself, Kalon Davis is making o-line impact

Fan Appreciation Day - Kalon Davis

Photo by Mark Crammer

Fan Appreciation Day - Kalon Davis

CLEMSON – Clemson left guard Kalon Davis will be making a trip to Japan as a part of his studies after football season.

His head coach is pretty sure the 6-5 335-pound Tiger o-lineman will stand out over there.

“I would like to go to Japan with Kalon Davis,” Dabo Swinney said. “He will be the biggest human being over there. There’s no question.”

Swinney has fun with LG Kalon Davis

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Swinney says he jokes with Davis that he might to have learn Japanese to get through to him sometimes, but the sixth-year coach understands how important it is to the Chester native.

“He’s passionate about it. I’ve never had a football player study Japanese, but he’s passionate about that,” said Swinney. “What a great career opportunity that he’ll have. Are you kidding me? To be able to fluently speak Japanese in the world we live in today? He’s got a great opportunity.

“I’m just happy with how he’s playing football right now.”

That hasn’t always been the case.

Davis is coming off his third career start and a career-high 58 snaps against Wake Forest last week, taking fellow junior David Beasley’s spot (ankle). Beasley is on the mend, but the two share the spot on this week’s depth chart. Davis has also got some work in another fluid position at right tackle.

Last season, he played 104 snaps in back-to-back games against Ball State and Furman, but wasn’t able to crack the rotation permanently. The mild-mannered Davis says he was trying to be someone he wasn’t personality-wise.

“Of course on the offensive line you have to have a mean streak,” Davis said, “but you have to remember what got you to where you are. Sometimes it’s better to be looser and have fun than it is to have the mindset that I’m going to be the nastiest guy. Because that ends up with you over-aggressive and missing blocks.”

When not studying up on Japanese culture, the big man gets his kicks playing indoor soccer, where he enjoys playing forward. Davis admits he’s a bit of a joker in class too.

“Most of the people I meet are in class. I never tell people I play football,” he said. “Half of them probably guess I play football, but it’s kind of the last thing (I do). I don’t want you to know me as a football player. I want you to know who I am.”

He’s found that his mentality fits right in now on gamedays.

“Two days before the game they talk mean streak, but the day of the game they talk about having fun,” said Davis. “Back in the day I was too worried about being that mean guy where now I’m just having fun out there.”

Anthony’s work is paying off: Junior middle linebacker Stephone Anthony is on pace to surpass his previous two-year tackle total by mid-November’s matchup with Georgia Tech – averaging 11 tackles per game this season, which leads the ACC.

His defensive coordinator says it’s a reflection of the work put in each day, after coming back from losing his starting role midway through last season.

“Last year he played timid because he wasn’t real confident. He’d be the first one to admit it,” Brent Venables said. “I know he’s investing great deal in performing well before he even gets to the practice field. There’s no doubt he’s bought in.”

Venables says his scheme lends to big tackle totals for the middle and weakside linebackers, which has been evident so far with WLB Spencer Shuey just short of 10 tackles a game as well.

“This system really works for linebackers if you understand it and trust it,” said Venables. “If you have some talent on top of that it can be really good for ‘backers in particular. (Anthony)’s a byproduct of the investment, work, trust and confidence as well.”

Road warrior: Tiger fans that show up to Death Valley each home game are well aware of what Tajh Boyd can do, but on the road, the third-year starter has been every bit as effective of late.

Over the last two seasons, Boyd is 6-1 outside of Memorial Stadium. He’s completed passes at a 68 percent rate for 310 yards a game, with 22 touchdowns to six interceptions. Even on the ground, the senior is posting a solid 40 rushing yards per with three scores.

Swinney expects more of the same in the Carrier Dome.

“He just needs to do what he’s done going on five years now,” Swinney said. “He’s been on the road and had some great games on the road. It’s just another place to play football.”

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