By Philip Sikes // Athletic Communications
Note: Each week, we bring you two storylines from Tuesday’s media interview session from the fourth floor of the WestZone.
Jay Guillermo playfully joked with reporters after finishing his obligations Tuesday that he could have been a dual-threat quarterback. While that may be a stretch for the 6-foot-3, 310-pounder, he certainly has shown the ability to be a versatile player inside the trenches of Clemson’s offensive line.
Guillermo earned his first career start at center Saturday, but he also logged some snaps at guard for the Tigers. Overall, he was happy with his performance given it was his first collegiate start.
“I had a little bit of butterflies at the start, but once I got those first few hits out of the way, I think I was able to get in a good rhythm,” he said.
Nearly everyone on the Tiger offense was in a rhythm Saturday, as Clemson amassed 735 yards and 35 first downs in a dominant 73-7 win. Now in the midst of a bye week, Guillermo believes the early off-date can be beneficial, as the Tigers recover physically and focus mentally on the next challenge. The Tigers will tangle with the defending national champion Florida State Seminoles next Saturday under the lights in Doak Campbell Stadium.
“For one, it (bye week) helps us get our legs back,” he said. “It also allows us more time to watch film and really focus in on the little things we need to do to play well.”
Seventeen first-year players saw action in last Saturday’s lopsided affair. Among them was someone coaches had pegged as a redshirt in preseason camp. Not because of ability, but because of numbers at his particular position.
Adam Choice was the team’s fifth running back, but a season-ending injury to Zac Brooks midway through August camp changed everyone’s plans for him. The idea of redshirting fully behind him, Choice quickly found opportunity to see the field. In the win over the Bulldogs, the Georgia native had a team-high 12 carries and racked up 74 yards. He even scored his first career touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Choice said playing time often comes down to the “T” word – trust.
“It’s not really a matter of what I’m doing well, I’m just trying to build that trust,” he said. “The coaches have to trust in me before they can put me on the field.”
Choice spent a good deal of time with reporters discussing his background as an option quarterback at Thomas County Central High School, and how that’s helped with his transition to the college game.
“It is definitely different,” he said, “but I’m trying my best every day to grow as a running back, whether it’s carrying out fakes or pass protecting or whatever I need to do.”
He may only be two games into his collegiate career, but it sounds like Choice has grown quite a bit already.
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