CLEMSON – Clemson could have another Kyle Parker, another two-sport athlete on its football roster.
Freshman defensive tackle D.J. Reader played Saturday against Auburn and on Monday he was working out with the baseball team.
The 6-foot-3, 329-pound Reader is a right-handed pitcher who possesses a fastball he said gets up to 93 mph. The Greensboro, N.C. native also plays first base. Reader chose No. 12 Clemson in part because the football staff allowed him to play baseball.
“Baseball is very important, it’s a big passion,” Reader said. “It’s a big part of my life, so I wanted to continue playing.”
As a football player, Reader has become stronger since arriving at Clemson in the summer and the coaches say he is ready to handle the physical aspects of competition. Reader said his bench press has increased to 405 pounds and he has trimmed his weight by 13 pounds since July.
Defensive coordinator Brent Venables wants to get Reader more snaps as he could provide valuable depth. Reader received six snaps Saturday.
“The way he’s practiced – he wasn’t Superman out there, wasn’t the Fridge,” Venables said, “but I think he deserves to play a bit more.”
Been there, done that: Ball State’s spread offense ran a nation-best 96 plays in its opening win against Eastern Michigan, but Venables is accustomed to playing against up-tempo offenses from his days in the Big 12. Venables cited his experience against Texas Tech, Texas A & M, Missouri and Oklahoma State, all teams that have recently finished in the top 10 of offenses plays.
He said it: Venables on not overlooking opponents, like a Ball State a game in which Clemson is favored by 27 ½ points on Saturday: “I’m the proverbial Lou Holtz,” Venables said. “This is getting ready to play the Pittsburgh Steelers. That’s how I think, that’s how I’m wired.”
He said it, Part II: Clemson center Dalton Freeman: “Since I’ve been here the focus has always been on the offensive line, we have always been called soft … (We) busted that myth.”
He said it, Part III: Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd on losing his helmet several times versus Auburn: “I had a little help out there but I’m not going to make any accusations.”
What Dabo learned: Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said one benefit of opening against a power-conference opponent was learning more about some unproven players.
“(Left guard) David Beasley had never really played,” Swinney said. “He played great, he had guys on the ground.” Swinney was also pleased with performances from defensive tackle Josh Watson, receiver Charone Peake and punter Spencer Benton.
Timothy expected to start: Right tackle Gifford Timothy (knee) missed the final play of the Auburn game after feeling some discomfort but Swinney expects him to be able to play versus Ball State.
“Medically, I’m sure it would be best if he rested this week,” Swinney said. “But this is football … if he is well enough to play, he’ll play.”