One issue for No. 4 Clemson as it tries to make another run to the College Football Playoff is its depth on the offensive line.
The Tigers, who are off this weekend, do not have the depth up front that they have had in recent years. When starting left guard Matt Bockhorst went down with a knee injury in the second quarter at Notre Dame, Mason Trotter replaced him in the lineup. Clemson also played true freshman Walker Parks at left guard.
“In past years, we have been playing a lot of guys on the OL and we are just really young and we just don’t have the depth there, right now, in a game like that,” head coach Dabo Swinney said.
That is why it was important for Swinney and offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell during this open week of practice to spend some time with their young offensive linemen and get them coached up a little more.
“We love the guys we have, but we just have a gap right now from a knowledge standpoint,” Swinney said. “They are playing a lot more plays than what we normally play with that (first) group, so hopefully, we can keep developing as we go.
“For Walker and for Trotter to really get some good quality experience in critical situations, and do a nice job, that bodes well.”
Swinney continued by saying Clemson’s pass protection was good against Notre Dame. In fact, he said it was awesome.
“Until right there are the end, in the second overtime, we gave up our first sack,” he said. “We should have gotten rid of the ball on the first one, but we gave up our first sack of the whole game. So, I am really pleased with our pass pro. We did a really, really nice job with that against a really good front.
“So, getting Mason in the there and getting Walker in there is going to help us. But that is definitely an area where we are thin at.”
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