From his doghouse days, Isaiah Battle knows the power of listening and learning

'Now it's my turn. Sometimes they can be a little hard-headed, like me, but they're listening'

Clemson spring football game - Isaiah Battle

Photo by Mark Crammer

Clemson spring football game - Isaiah Battle

A year ago at this time, Clemson was hoping for a fast-track summer from Isaiah Battle - a breathrough that, had it happened, would have allowed some 'best five' shuffling on the Tigers' offensive front.

Today, Battle - now a rising junior - is being counted on as a mainstay at left tackle, stepping in for two-time All-ACC performer Brandon Thomas.

Clemson's coaches are more than hopeful about Battle's development this time around: they saw it happen before their eyes over a four-month period last season.

By the end of the year, he'd stepped in for injured Gifford Timothy and earned a starting job on the right side.

The next step, he says, is leading - both verbally and by example.

"I'm comfortable," Battle said prior to Clemson's Orange-White spring game. "I just have to become a leader, basically. My job is to take some of the younger guys under my wing and say 'this is what we need to do, and this is the way we need to do it.'

"We've got a lot of guys right now, and we're trying to find that glue - that leadership - to help it all stick together."

Battle says the experience of having been discouraged at one time can work to his advantage in his new role.

"Last year was pretty hard - I was in the doghouse a little bit," he said. "But I fought through it, and I listened to my teammates. There were times when I helped carry other guys, and there were times, when my attitude got the best of me, that other guys helped carry me.

"But I learned to listen, and when you listen to other guys, you learn things all the time and you get better. Now it's my turn. Sometimes they can be a little hard-headed, like me, but they're listening."

In terms of continuing to develop his technique, the 6-7, 290-pound Battle said "staying low is always my biggest thing."

"I have to stay low and keep leverage all the time, otherwise I get beat," he said. "We'll spend the summer in the video room, watching film. That's one way we can all continue to get better - keep up the process and our level of intensity."

Follow Kerry Capps on Twitter @oandwkc

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