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Clemson's Grant wants to be the answer

August, 15, 2008
8/15/08
1:22
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

When Clemson left guard Jamarcus Grant began watching film of Alabama on his own time this summer, he said one overriding thought crept into his head: "Not be a failure."

On an offensive line that has to replace four starters, Grant is the biggest question mark because he has the least experience, but those within the program have said he's had one of the most productive camps.

"I think I'm ready now," said Grant, a redshirt junior who played less than 100 snaps last year. "I'm mature. I've been here three years. I guess three years ago I really didn't feel like things depended on me. Now I feel like I'm being depended on."

There's no question he is.

How Clemson's offensive line fares this season will have much to do with how far the Tigers can go. It's not like Tommy Bowden is filling the holes with players who don't have any experience. Center Thomas Austin is the leader of the group and started 12 of 13 games last season. Right guard Barry Humphries started seven games, including five at center and two at right guard. Left tackle Chris Hairston started in the Chick-fil-A Bowl against Auburn at right tackle. Right Tackle Cory Lambert has just one start.

"I'm the only one up there with the least amount of experience," Grant said, "but just playing with those guys, we've been playing together for four years now, so I feel like I'm right there with them."

He's going to have to be. Coach Tommy Bowden has said the offensive line is his No. 1 concern heading into the season opener. This summer, though, has helped answer some questions on the line -- Grant being one of them.

"We're a unit," Grant said. "The players stand behind each other, they push each other. The coaches are letting us know that if you mess up, it's OK. We're going to go watch tape. We're going to get it right. We're going to come back, and we're going to practice, we're going to practice, we're going to practice."

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