Ed Thompson: You've been complemented for being very smart with your calls at the
line. Talk a little bit about your development in that area and how complex that
is for a center to have to size things up so quickly and make the right calls.
DF: For one thing, I just enjoy doing it. They always let our center make the
calls, but it seems like the past couple years my coach gave me a little bit
more leniency on some of the calls. In the past, when centers made the calls, it
was like "you make this call no matter what, you're not reading the defense, you
just look, you find the Mike, you make that point." When I kind of took over,
more so in my senior year, he gave me more leniency to read the defense more,
read the safeties, make your point on what you think they're going to do. It's
not like I was just out there like "okay, I think he's coming." We had a game
plan. We watch blitzes over and over and if they're a boundary blitz team from the
field, what kind of blitzes they run. When I started feeling more liberal
in my points and got to read more, it made the game a lot more fun, too. I think
it helped out the team a lot better because you can put the guys in the right
position to make the right plays.
ET: In 2006,
about sixty percent of Clemson's rushing yards came up the middle. That shows a tremendous
amount of confidence in you and the guys that were shoulder to shoulder with
you. Talk a little bit about that.
|(Grant Halverson/Getty Images)|
DF: Yeah, me and my interior line guys, we came in together and we took a lot
of pride in being able to run up the middle and convert short-yardage plays. My
right guard and left guard, we love running that inside zone right behind either
one of us, right up the gut. We really take pride in that and the backs we had,
they made it a lot easier for us.
ET: In pass protection you guys led the ACC, ranked 6th in the country in
sacks allowed at 1.5 per game. What's the secret to success there?
DF: Just being on the same page. Our pass protection is something that we
really took a lot of time with and took a lot of coaching on getting our reads,
getting the points down. It really was just practice. I mean, you can't be the
best offensive linemen; if you go out there and don't really know your
assignments on the pass protection you really can't do anything. It was a lot of
just practice and re-doing it and knowing exactly what everybody else is doing
which really helped us out.
ET: And you were named an All-American Strength and Conditioning Athlete
by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. What do you think you did
while you were at Clemson that helped gain you that type of recognition?
DF: I think just how I showed my coaches how I worked in the weight room. The
numbers I came in with and the numbers I left with, how much I increased with
those. Leadership in the weight room, just how you conduct yourself, a lot of
guys just watch you to see how you work out. If you start slacking a little bit,
they're going to slack a little bit, too. I really enjoy the weight room and
that atmosphere and I think it was just my strength coach just rewarding me.
Since I'd been there that was an award that I wanted to earn.
Scout.com subscribers can listen in as Dustin shares his wonderful sense
of humor, filling you in on what he lobbied his coaches for while he was at
Clemson as well as his description of every offensive lineman's dream. Click the
link below and listen to this brief outtake from his interview:
Listen to Audio
|A member of the Professional Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's NFL and college football player interviews and features have been published across the Scout.com network and syndicated through FoxSports.com's NFL team pages.