One of the most important position battles in 2011 will be at left tackle. Who will protect Tajh Boyd’s blind side is a big question heading into camp.
Red-shirt senior Phillip Price came out of the spring with the lead over red-shirt sophomore Brandon Thomas. Price used his knowledge of the offense and his pass blocking ability to take the lead during spring practices.
Brandon is one of the more physically gifted offensive linemen at Clemson. The staff is looking for more consistency from the former Dorman standout in 2011. Brandon does well against the outside rush, but has struggled at times when the defensive line stunts and players cross over in front of him.
The future for Clemson’s offensive line will be much brighter if Thomas wins the battle and has a strong season. As the depth chart currently sits the Tigers will lose four of five starters on the line after 2011.
Coach Caldwell will also give David Smith some time at tackle in August. If neither Price nor Thomas get the job done the staff could move Smith to left tackle and get their most talented five linemen on the field moving Mason Cloy into a starting position at guard. Cloy is not officially a starter on the current depth chart but is treated as a starter by the staff.
This battle could last into the early part of the season. The winner is undetermined but the impact on the success of the offense in clear.