Jackson Carman says the kids are asking a lot of questions

by - Senior Writer -
Carman leads the Tigers out of the tunnel at South Carolina last November.
Carman leads the Tigers out of the tunnel at South Carolina last November.

Jackson Carman isn’t a grumpy old man, so he takes all of the questions in stride. Instead of saying, “Go away kid, you’re bothering me,” he answers all of the questions with the patience of a wizened old man. After all, the kids have to grow up.

Carman is one of the few old men (center Cade Stewart, left guard Matt Bockhorst, and Blake Vinson are others) on a Clemson offensive line that has to replace four starters. The four new starters all have experience, but there’s a line of talented youngsters that includes Kaleb Boateng, Walker Parks, Paul Tchio, Mitchell Mayes, Hunter Rayburn, Tayquon Johnson, Mason Trotter, Trent Howard, John Williams, and Bryn Tucker.

Despite all of the new faces, Carman said the chemistry is better than ever.

“The chemistry is amazing,” Carman said. “Chemistry, in my opinion, is the best it’s ever been. I was just talking earlier about how we’ve been through so much, just unprecedented times throughout this pandemic together and we’ve come through it together, grinded together, worked together, cried together and I feel like that’s led to a really special chemistry within this group. I feel like it’s great right now.”

The offensive line is a place where head coach Dabo Swinney wants to see early-season growth.

“I feel really, really good about our first group, but we've got to develop the second group,” Swinney said. “We’ve got to give them some experience. And I can't wait to see those guys. I can't wait to see Walker Parks and Tchio and some of those some of those young guys and that second group that's going to get a chance to play. You know, I'm excited that Blake Vinson's back.

“He missed a lot of camp time working back from his knee. But now he's full go and so I'm excited. He hasn't been able to play a long time. So I'm excited for him to kind of start working his way back in there a little bit as we go as well. That’s probably the biggest group that I think we've got to grow up pretty quick and I know the least about from a game day standpoint.”

The younger players see a potential NFL star in Carman and don’t hesitate to pepper the veteran with questions.

“Every day, during practice, after practice, away from practice, they are always asking me questions,” he said. “They are always trying to get better, always trying to learn. I work on stuff with them during practice and try to just give little nuggets here and there, and really just try to be there for them with whatever they need, whether it’s football or not.”

Despite his accolades, Carman knows he is nowhere close to a finished product.

“Every single aspect of my game I’ve been working on and trying to improve,” Carman said. “There’s no singular aspect that I feel like I’m inefficient at or that I need to work on any more than any other aspect. I feel like my whole game in totality, I’ve been improving on and grinding on every day and I feel like all that labor I’ve been doing, the fruits of that are going to come this season, so I’m excited.”

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