Pitt redshirt sophomore TJ Clemmings gave us more news than we rightfully expected at the first bowl game player availability this morning. Clemmings said that he has been practicing at offensive tackle during bowl preparation, and anticipates the move being a long-term switch.
"Coach Chryst, he asked me if it was something I wanted to do. I didn’t have to, he said it was no big deal. But I went home, thought about it. I thought I’d be pretty good at it, so let’s give it a try," Clemmings said. "The team needed some help on the offensive side anyways, so I’ll try and help the guys out."
Clemmings said he played some offensive line in high school, but obviously none at this level. He was listed as a 4* defensive end coming into Pitt, so the raw talent is there. Clemmings has started out at right tackle, at least for now as he adjusts to the new position. So far, though, it sounds like the adjustment is going well. So well, in fact, that Clemmings says he's likely to stick with the new position moving forward into next season.
"It feels a little more natural," Clemmings said. "First time I went out there, it didn’t feel crazy to me, like ‘Oh, I can’t do this, this is too much.’ I actually felt like I had done it before, but I never have."
Clemmings is 6-foot-6, and said he currently weighs 285 pounds. He'll have to bulk up in the offseason, and would like to play the position at around 300 pounds. With his frame, though, he certainly has room to add on some more good weight.
The switch also creates some interesting depth for Pitt along the offensive line next season. (Yes, I just used the words "depth" and "offensive line" in the same sentence without preceding it by "lack of.") I think all indications point towards Cory King moving back inside to his natural guard position next year, but Matt Rotheram will probably stay at tackle. The coaches wouldn't have Clemmings make this move if they didn't think Clemmings would be able to contribute at the position next year, so it could come down to a position battle between him and redshirt freshman Adam Bisnowaty (who I know the staff is very high on) for the vacant tackle spot.