Vanderbilt right tackle Kyle Fischer will have one thing on his mind when he returns to his hometown Saturday — beating the Gamecocks.
“I’m looking to execute our game plan and focusing on football,” said Fischer, a Spring Valley grad who will be playing in front of family and friends. “My personal life is for the offseason.”
Under new coach James Franklin, Vanderbilt comes into Columbia riding the momentum generated by a 3-0 start. The Commodores went 2-10 each of the past two seasons, including two losses to the Gamecocks.
“Coach Franklin and the new coaching staff have put a lot of confidence in us,” Fischer said. “We’re playing more together as a team.”
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The 6-foot-6, 305-pound, fifth-year senior is a co-captain. He moved at the start of the season from right guard to right tackle, where he faces speedier defensive ends. Fischer played on the left side his first two seasons in Nashville.
“I play anywhere the coaches want me to play,” he said.
Fisher has played in 40 games and started 28. He said he has no hard feelings about not being recruited hard by South Carolina.He grew up a Clemson fan.
Fischer was part of a trio of linemen at Spring Valley who played at major Division I programs.
Quintin Richardson went to USC before transferring to Hampton, while Mason Cloy won the 12th Man Award on offense last season for Clemson.
Fischer said he learned a lot playing on the Spring Valley line. Cloy was smart and knew how to break down plays, Fisher said, while Richardson was fast, aggressive and playful. “He always enjoyed life.”
He said does not remain in close contact with his linemates, though Fischer chats occasionally with Spring Valley offensive line coach Mike Armstrong, whom he called a father figure.
Armstrong said Fischer might have received the least attention from Division I recruiters among the trio, but he was the hardest worker and had the most potential.
“Kyle was the diamond in the rough,” Armstrong said.
After the Vikings finished a strength and conditioning workout, Fischer did another on his own. That helped keep him injury-free through high school and college, Armstrong said.
“During practice, he always ran around the field,” Armstrong said. “Some players just want to play around at practice. He practiced to get better. He listened to everything I told him because he wanted to be the best. You don’t see that a lot anymore.”