This time last year, it was Clemson’s offensive line that was dominating practice, while the defensive line was breaking in new players and trying to figure things out while replacing the Power Rangers.
As Dabo Swinney put it on Friday, things have flipped this spring. This year, the Tigers are having to replace four offensive line with John Simpson, Tremayne Anchrum, Sean Pollard and Gage Cervenka all graduated.
This spring, Clemson is working three true freshmen on the offensive line, who enrolled in January so they could participate in spring practice. Swinney said Paul Tchio, Mitchell Mayes and Bryn Tucker are doing their best to compete.
“That second offensive line is swimming. They have a lot coming at them,” the head coach said. “It is not easy out here, but that is why we are successful, I think. You get exposed on the practice field and if you are a competitor and you are made of the right things, you will get better. You will figure it out. You will respond. Otherwise, you have some long days ahead. They don’t change the pace and the tempo and all of that stuff.”
With an experienced defensive front and a more knowledge second group on the defensive line, the bullets are flying fast as Clemson’s three freshmen are doing their best to keep up.
“Our defensive line is a lot deeper right now with more knowledgeable guys. That second group has flipped,” Swinney said. “That second group, defensive line wise, is much more knowledgeable than our second offensive line group. The same thing at linebacker.
“It has been a little challenge for them, but they are plugging along there. They are getting better. It is just a process you have to go through.”
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