Clemson University

Walker gets elevated to starting right tackle

CLEMSON - The text-message read that Clemson redshirt sophomore lineman Landon Walker was to meet with coach Dabo Swinney at his office Sunday afternoon.

"I didn't know if I was going to be kicked off the team or what," Walker said.

Quite the opposite.

Having lost his starting job in the offseason, Walker was reinstalled for Saturday's game against Boston College at right tackle, a spot he held for 10 games last season.

Coaches have been unhappy with Walker's intensity and focus in practice, and Walker admitted he grew "complacent" during the offseason and struggled to adjust to the Tigers' up-tempo workouts.

But he believes he made significant strides over the past month, improving some of his deficiencies as a pass-blocker. What Walker is expected to provide is greater push in the running game, which fits what Clemson figures to need against a Boston College front that emphasizes controlling of the line of scrimmage.

"It's just as obvious that if I don't get the job done, somebody else will be in there," he said.

Times, they are a changing. Clemson has changed kickoff for next week's home game against No. 15 TCU to 3:30 p.m. from 1 p.m.

"This decision to play at 3:30 p.m. is made to provide balance between our fans that prefer an earlier kickoff time and our fans that prefer a later kickoff time," athletics director Terry Don Phillips said in a statement.

Full disclosure. Both Swinney and Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said Wednesday that they ran their trick plays by officials before last week's game, and the legality of neither were brought into question.

Johnson said receiver Demaryius Thomas - target of the fake field-goal touchdown pass - split wide in front of the line judge, and the official confirmed he was on the line of scrimmage.

Johnson said he has used the play three or four other times in his 12-year coaching career.

"We're in a league and if that's (the rule) then we won't do it anymore," Johnson said. "But I've done it before, and it hadn't been a problem."

Extra points. Senior tight end Michael Palmer (bruised hip) practiced Wednesday and figures to play Saturday, Swinney said. ... Swinney said he does not believe his participation in signaling in offensive plays detracts from his other coaching duties. "It really keeps me focused," Swinney said. "Plus, a lot of times, I'm not always live. I'm a dummy signal, over there making stuff up. ... Plus if I want to change the play or the tempo, I can."

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