Clemson’s OL playing ‘musical chairs’ on the interior

Clemson’s OL playing ‘musical chairs’ on the interior


Clemson’s OL playing ‘musical chairs’ on the interior


Clemson’s offensive line is without a pair of returning starters along the offensive line for the time being, which has created plenty of opportunities for others on the interior this spring.

Guards Walker Parks and Marcus Tate are using the spring to recover from offseason surgeries. Parks started all but one game at right guard last season while Tate held down the left side before a knee injury cut it short.

As for who’s working at those positions in their absence, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said coaches have used the first seven spring practices to evaluate a number of options. Even redshirt freshman Ryan Linthicum, who normally spends his time repping at center, has bumped over to get a look.

Linthicum, Mitchell Mayes, Bryn Tucker, Dietrick Pennington and Trent Howard have gotten the majority of the reps at those guard spots, Swinney said. They all continue to get a look as Clemson tries to build depth at the position.

“It’s musical chairs,” Swinney said. “We’re kind of looking at everybody.”

Mayes is the most experienced of that group. The 6-foot-3, 313-pounder spent all of last season on the two-deep and started four of the final five games for the injured Tate. Mayes is also competing to replace Jordan McFadden at left tackle, and Swinney said he’s seen evident improvement in the rising senior’s game.

“Mitchell has made some big strides,” he said. “He really gained a lot of confidence, and I think that was the biggest thing for him was just a ton of confidence from those last four games.”

Swinney said he’s also been impressed with what he’s seen from some of the Tigers’ mid-year enrollees getting some reps up front, most notably incoming freshman Harris Sewell.

“He’s a really natural football player,” Swinney said. “Incredibly physical inside. He picks things up really, really quickly. Really strong and incredibly flexible. Can really bend. He really understands leverage and how to play in there.”

“We’re really repping a lot of people, which is good. It’s why we’ve got those guys. It’s going to make us better.”



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