CLEMSON -- Usually, when a young man begins to play a sport, he envisions being the next superstar.
You seldom hear a kid say he wants to be the next Wright Bazemore, the legendary football coach at Valdosta (Ga.) High who won countless national and state championships and compiled a 268-51-7 record.
But Bobby Hutchinson was never like most kids. The Clemson offensive lineman said he has wanted to be a football coach, preferably at the high school level, since he was 11. He got his first chance this season -- for a short time.
"That is something that I have always wanted to do ever since I started playing the game," he said. "I don't see myself as the flashy type that sits in the office every day wearing a suit. I see myself outside in the sun working."
Never miss a local story.
The 6-foot-3, 320-pound senior said his desire to coach goes back to his Pee Wee football days in Greenville, Fla. It was during that time when a coach by the name of Mike Blue was the first to leave an impression.
"Starting with Pee Wee up to middle school and up to the high school, the things I have learned from them (his coaches) and the things they had taught me over time made me feel like, hey, I want to do the same thing to some of the kids now that are growing up and playing ball," Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson began his coaching career a little earlier than expected when he was approached this summer by offensive line coach Brad Scott and coach Tommy Bowden about being a player-coach.
Hutchinson had fallen down the depth chart and wasn't expected to see much playing time. Knowing Hutchinson's knowledge of the game, his attention to detail and his desire to coach, Scott offered him the opportunity to help with younger players and work with the scout team.
So, Hutchinson peeled off his pads and picked up a whistle. He said he has learned a lot during fall camp and saw a different side of the game.
"Coach Scott has been in the business a long time, and I feel that is helping me understand more of the game, and that helps me bring more to the table," he said.
Hutchinson's coaching career was put on hold for a couple months when then-starting right guard Barry Humphries sustained a knee injury in the second quarter of the Alabama game. The next week, Hutchinson was back in pads, working as the second-team center after backup Mason Cloy was promoted to starter in place of Humphries.
When the injury bug hit the left guard spot the next week, Hutchinson moved over and earned his first career start, against Maryland, after regular starter David Smith sustained a severe ankle injury against S.C. State.
"We are so happy that he did come back, because he can play center and either guard position, and he knows what he is doing up there," Bowden said.
With tackle Cory Lambert moving inside this week to help at guard now that a few of the other linemen are regaining their health, Hutchinson has moved back to center and is listed as Thomas Austin's backup for Thursday night's game at Wake Forest.
Although Hutchinson's moment in the spotlight as a player seems to be diminishing, his career as a coach is just beginning.
"I love football so much, but you can only play it for so long," Hutchinson said. "I want to be around football. I feel that my best opportunity, if I am not playing, is to be able to coach."