Daron Rose arrived on campus at the end of the Mark McHale era but he won't leave it that way. After the hiring of Coach Trickett, Daron Rose really took to the program losing twenty four pounds while on Trickett's diet and the Trickett/Stroud exercise plans. When I asked Daron what's the biggest difference about him from last year to this year, he said, "I'm able to last longer. I remember last year I'd just be dying just dead and wouldn't be able to finish practice. I'm able to get through 21, 22, 24, 26 periods sometimes it gets closer to 30 and still play with the same intensity level that I came out and began the practice with. Coach Trickett really emphasizes that." When asked about how Coach Stroud and his summer workouts helped him make this change, he said, "It was good because we were working hard and I don't think I've ever worked that hard in my life but at the same time we were having fun. You can't call it laid back and lackadaisical but it wasn't just work, work, work he made it a good time and he would joke around with us and made it a real light atmosphere and there were times we wouldn't even realize we were working so hard because we were laughing and joking and at the end of the day we'd be like, ‘Man, I'm tired'"
Of course, we also talked about the rewards of such a turnaround in him as a player and athlete. He was very enthusiastic about the upcoming year and starting against Clemson as a redshirt freshman. He exclaimed, "It's an exciting feeling. Even though I redshirted last year I feel like a true freshman because I didn't get any [playing] time last year. This is really my first action against the top guys. I'm really looking forward to it and I know the rest of the guys are really looking forward to it. This feeling in the locker room and after practice we're still competing like its still spring so everyone is very excited." Daron feels he and his teammates are up to the challenge of facing a competitive opponent in the notorious ‘Death Valley' at Clemson in the season opener. I asked him his assessments of the competition and he said, "They are big and athletic and their linebackers are fast, some of the fastest you will see in the country. We are just trying to come out here and get ready. Coach Trickett is going to have us physically [ready] but its up to us to be in there mentally and come out here and refine our techniques." Although Rose is young, don't let his youth fool you, he has held a starting job on this offensive line arguably longer than anyone on the team this off-season. Other than Ryan McMahon, Daron Rose has locked the tackle slot down for all of fall practice and never looked back; so look for Daron and the other guys to not look back when they take care of the skill players and get the job done at Clemson this Labor Day weekend.