Clemson's Putnam Relishes First Start

Travis Boland

Having to replace four starting offensive linemen from 2019, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said he was pleased with what he saw from his first-team linemen in the Tigers opener against Wake Forest Saturday.

Sophomore Will Putnam was one of those new linemen making his first start against the Demon Deacons.

"I was definitely nervous leading up to the game," Putnam said Monday. "I think it's healthy to have some nerves, but as the game approached those nerves became excitement. It was kind of surreal. This is what you've been working toward since you were a little kid."

Clemson offensive lineman Will Putnam(56) blocks near quarterback Taisun Phommachanh (11) during the fourth quarter at Memorial Stadium. (Ken Ruinard / staff, The Greenville News via Imagn Content Services, LLC.)

The most surreal aspect of the game may have been the lack of fans in attendance, and crowd noise pumped into the stadium via the PA system. Putnam said the Clemson offense was prepared for every situation. 

"I thought the communication along the line was good, but that's something we've been practicing since Spring ball and Fall camp," Putnam said. "We didn't necessarily know how loud it was going to be, so we prepared to go on silent count. Personally, I didn't really notice a difference. It just seemed like a regular gameday."

The Clemson offense produced over 570 yards of total offense against Wake Forest. Putnam said the Deacons defense is good, but playing against his teammates is great preparation.

"Wake Forest is a great team, with a very experienced front seven," Putnam said. "But, we have a great defense here, and nothing that other teams do is anything that we haven't seen in practice. Some of the defensive linemen and linebackers are some of the best competition we get in the country."

Now, Putnam and the Tigers prepare for their home opener against The Citadel Saturday.

"I'm excited," Putnam said. "I'm playing next to some of the best offensive linemen in the league, blocking for the best quarterback in the league and blocking for the best running back in the league. Being able to run out their first, and be a part of that, is really special. It's something I don't take for granted."

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Comments (3)
No. 1-1
John Garcia Jr.
John Garcia Jr.

One of the most talented and respectful kids I've covered in a decade of doing this.