The Nasty Boys: Bockhorst says Clemson offensive line has attitude

by - Senior Writer -
Clemson's offensive line features four new starters. (Photo courtesy of CU Athletics)
Clemson's offensive line features four new starters. (Photo courtesy of CU Athletics)

Matt Bockhorst grew up in Cincinnati, but he wasn’t born when a trio of relievers nicknamed “The Nasty Boys” led the Reds’ charge to the 1990 World Series. He might be starting his own version in Clemson.

Norm Charlton, Randy Myers, and Rob Dibble were the bullpen catalysts for the Reds during their World Series-winning season, doing the dirty work. Bockhorst is now part of an offensive line that replaces four starters and stands as one of the bigger questions heading into the season.

Bockhorst, who enters 2020 having played 599 snaps in 28 career games (one start), was asked what word would describe the new five-some of himself, Jackson Carman, Cade Stewart, Will Putnam, and Jordan McFadden and he didn’t hesitate.

“I would say nasty. That is who we've tried to be and emulate this entire camp,” he told the media after Monday’s practice. “I think we are ready to take that to the field on Saturdays and really just bring an attitude. I think any great offensive line is going to have a little edge to them and that's something we have really tried to make an emphasis on this fall camp.

“Obviously, the elephant in the room is that we are replacing four starters, and I think we have a group of capable guys. I don't think that any of us are worried. I think we have a lot of strengths as a group and I think we are great communicating. I think that is something that is so often overlooked in offensive line play is the communication and how the five guys work together. I am very high on our ability to communicate and just bring the young guys along.”

Bockhorst understands the challenge of bringing along a bevy of talented youngsters that includes freshmen like Walker Parks, Paul Tchio, Mitchell Mayes, and Bryn Tucker.

“We have young guys who lack experience, but the tools are there,” Bockhorst said. “As older guys we have to do everything we can to set a great example in practice and really in the games as well so they can and learn all the little details of offensive line play. It's an incredibly difficult position and it's incredibly difficult to come play offensive line right out of high school. We definitely have a challenge on our hands, but I don't think it is something we can't handle.”

Bockhorst is known as one of the more likeable players on the team, but that friendly persona changes into his Nasty Boy personality when he steps between the white lines.

“I've always had a big personality and you never want to fabricate a personality. That's just who I am. I am a funny guy and I like to have a good time during the day,” Bockhorst said. “At the same time, football is a game that I am really passionate about, and so when I step on the field, I realize the opportunity that I have to play the game. Especially at this level. This isn't something that a lot of people get to do. I realize there are a lot of guys, thinking about guys that I played with back in high school, that wish they could be in my shoes.

“I feel like it's only the right thing to do, to play the game the right way. For me, as a left guard, that's finishing every play to the whistle and just wearing down the d-linemen. That takes a toll during the game. It is a switch that you flip, but for me, I just try to keep it between the lines and it's never personal. Things can get chippy during practice a and what have you with teammates, but we are just trying to make each other better, so it doesn't leave the field.”

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