Coaches will use game film to determine starters on the defensive line


by - Senior Writer -
KJ Henry is fighting for a starting spot at defensive end
KJ Henry is fighting for a starting spot at defensive end

CLEMSON – No. 1 Clemson faces off against Georgia Tech Thursday night in the season opener and while there will be 11 players on both sides of the ball that run out there first, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will start week two against Texas A&M.

Clemson’s starting lineup on the offensive side of the ball is pretty much set, from the five offensive linemen to tight end J.C. Chalk to the wide receivers to quarterback Trevor Lawrence to running back Travis Etienne.

The defensive line is another story as the coaches have to replace four starters and two key reserves, and Swinney said that the coaches will use the games to determine who the real starters are going to be.

GEORGIA TECH AT CLEMSON

When: 8 pm Thursday, August 29th

Where: Clemson Memorial Stadium (81,500)

TV: ACC Network (Dave O’Brien, Tim Hasselbeck, Katie George, Maria Taylor)

Radio: Clemson Tigers Network (Don Munson, Tim Bourret, Reggie Merriweather)

**Sirius XM 84** RADIO: Westwood One (Ryan Radtke, Derek Rackley)

“We don't really have starters. We have beginners,” Swinney said. “And you have to prove it every week. This is our first week. And then you get into game evaluations and performances and grades and competition. So we have a lot of guys that will get the opportunity to play.”

Swinney said that while the depth chart lists co-starters along the defensive line, he doesn’t know who will take the first snaps.

“I don't know who will run out there first. We still have practice,” Swinney said. “I don't know who will run out there on that d-line. We are going to play a bunch of guys. We are going to play five ends and probably five or six d-tackles. You are going to see us play 9-to-11 guys every game until we can figure out or see separation.

“I will say the same thing. We are going to have beginners. We have guys that will run out there the first week, and then the next week it might be different. We are just going to have to go into the season and figure it out. Hopefully, it's a situation where they are all pretty doggone good and they can feed each other and go from there. And then, if somebody separates, great.”

NOTE: The contest will be the first live football game broadcast on the ACC Network. ESPN and ACCN will air a special edition of College GameDay from the Memorial Stadium concourse from 6-8 p.m., with a simulcast on both ESPN and ACC Network from 6-7 p.m. followed by the final hour being aired exclusively on ACCN.

Fans are encouraged to get into their seats at Memorial Stadium early to help showcase Clemson's stadium atmosphere on the prestigious pregame program. In addition, Clemson will honor its 2018 national championship victory by unveiling championship signage on the south side of Memorial Stadium prior to the game. Clemson enters the 2019 season ranked No. 1 in both the Associated Press preseason poll and the USA Today preseason coaches poll. It marks the first time in history that Clemson will enter a season bearing that distinction in either poll.

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