Charge it to the game

CLEMSON - Tanner Smith has spent a good part of this season trying to summon his inner Erik Strong.

Strong, a sophomore forward at Oglethorpe University, was a high school teammate of Smith.

And according to Smith, he was "a charge machine" at Wesleyan High School.

"By this time, he would have like 25 charges, easy," Smith said. "Maybe I just learned from him…maybe just learning from guys like that, being in the right spot and taking it in the chest, hoping the ref makes the charge call."

So far this season, Smith leads the Tigers with 12 charges. Heading into Sunday's game at Florida State he's drawn at least one in the last six consecutive games.

"Now I'm looking for charges," he said. "It's weird."

A running tally of charges is posted on the door of the team's locker room. Charted are charges taken in both practice and in games.

Before Friday's practice, Smith was the leader with 17.

"I see it every day. It's something I've got to keep in the front of my mind. It's a big momentum changer sometimes," he said.

With only nine scholarship players on the roster, Smith knows he must err on the side of caution to avoid foul trouble.

"I know a couple of times in the South Carolina game I felt like I could have probably got a couple more charges, but I was like I might not get the call, so I just didn't take it," he said.

Smith admitted there's more than skill to the craft of taking a charge.

There's also a certain element of luck involved.

"It's really, sometimes, just being in the right spot," he said. "Andre [Young] could take a charge anytime. He's willing to take a charge. Sometimes you're not in the right spot.

"For some reason, I find myself—sometimes the guy's driving down the lane not looking at me. I've been in the right spot a couple of times, it's been pretty funny—I'm not going to lie."