Competition on the OL beginning to heat up

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – Chad Morris says the redshirt freshman offensive lineman Ryan NortonRyan Norton
RS So. Offensive Line
#58 6-3, 265
Mauldin, SC

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scares him because Norton refuses to really talk to anyone, and right guard Tyler ShatleyTyler Shatley
RS Jr. Offensive Guard
#62 6-3, 295
Icard, NC

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came off the field following Thursday’s practice with blood all over his face.

Morris says all of those are good signs that he is finally getting an offensive line with some bite, but is looking for even more toughness out of his front group.

“I'm real pleased with some of these guys. The effort is there,” Morris said after Friday’s morning practice. “I’m not questioning any of the effort. We have to clean up some of the technique. That is our job as coaches to get that done and that will happen. That will come with time. There are guys that are giving effort. We still have to get tougher in some areas, but that is what camp is for. I love the way we are practicing. We are practicing a lot of short yardage and a lot of tough situations right now, and that's what we need. The more we can get, the better we are. The cream always rises to the top and that's the way you look at that. Those that are going to be there will be there at the end.”

The injury to right tackle Gifford TimothyGifford Timothy
RS So. Offensive Tackle
#70 6-6, 315
Middletown, DE

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has caused Morris and line coach Robbie Caldwell to move center Dalton FreemanDalton Freeman
RS Sr. Offensive Line
#55 6-5, 285
Pelion, SC

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over to Timothy’s right tackle spot at times, with Norton filling in at center. Morris said the move is something he feels comfortable with because of the kind of camp that Norton – whose quiet scares Morris – is having.

“If that's what makes us win, then that's what we want to do,” Morris said. “I feel like that right now that Norton is in that mix as one of our top-five linemen right now. Now, where does that put him at? I don't know. I know that that young man is balling out right now at camp. He has gotten a lot of people’s attention right now and he needed to. I'm excited about that. He was sick today and practiced any way. That tells you a lot about him and that's what you want right there.

“He doesn't talk to a whole lot of people and those guys kind of scare me. He doesn't talk to anyone really, so that's alright. I like that. He gives you that tough approach. It's exciting to see where he is that. Before he starts naming himself the top lineman in the country, he's not there yet but he has taken great strides and really what we need in this camp. He is one of those surprises that we have to have.”

Morris said that Joe GoreJoe Gore
RS So. Offensive Line
#73 6-6, 260
Lake Waccamaw, NC

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– filling in for Timothy – has his ups and downs.

“Joe [Gore] is kind of like a batter that only hits fastballs and he knocks them out of the park and then you throw him a little change-up and he whiffs,” Morris said. “You are seeing great things at times and you have times that he's just hazy. It's typical of a young guy. He's been put in a starting role right now and we're trying to overload him and put the pressure on him too- strain him mentally. I think he's getting better. Is he going to be there? Who knows. We'll find out. That's what camp is for, but his effort is good. His toughness is good. We just have to make sure that he knows what he's doing and where he's going.”

Freeman said Norton began to turn the corner during the spring and summer.

“He has come a long way mentally,” Freeman said. “He has always had the physical capability of going out there and competing, he just hasn't known what to do. He took a lot of pride and we met a lot this offseason and he is coming along.”

Morris said he didn’t know how much or even if Freeman would be used at right tackle.

“Dalton is an athlete and he is going to do whatever makes this football team better,” he said. “I don't know how it's going to all shake out, but I do know this- we are going to take the best five and it's our job to make them fit. Where is that going to be? I don't know, but I know we've got a great battle going on up front. We need to have the eighth and ninth guy to step up. Right now, we are battling and shooting for seven. We've got seven guys in there.

“We need that eighth and ninth o-lineman to step forward and come on. Those that early in camp looked like they were leading for it have kind of slid a little bit right now. It's that time of camp that only the strong are going to survive and we have to do a good job as coaches putting them in adverse situations. We have to strain them. We have to strain and demand the little things right now and we are going to do it.”

Freeman said he worked mostly at center during the Friday morning session, but did play some at the right tackle spot.

“I went a little bit. I obviously have been in the system a while now and can play all five positions so we are just trying to fit those pieces together and get the best five on the field,” Freeman said. “Ryan Norton is playing really well, so we thought it might help to move me over and leave him there. But that is a longshot - worst case scenario. We are just trying to make it all work right now. Football is football, at the end of the day just have to go out there and do your job.”

Freeman said he thinks the offensive line is playing at a higher level so far in camp because the group finally understands what Morris is trying to accomplish with his offense.

“I think we are finally beginning to understand Coach Morris' offensive line play, which is more of straightforward, take a step off the ball step instead of a sideways zone step,” Freeman said. “We are getting a lot better combination blocks. If the center and guard are comboing the nose to the MIKE or whatever, we are getting a lot more movement on the down guys. That is going to allow us - especially in the Pistol - to hit the A-gap zone harder Since I have been here that [sideways zone step] is all I have done. We tried to implement it last year, but when you have five seniors it's a little hard to teach everybody something new.”

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Subject (Replies: 29) Author
Front Page Story: Competition on the OL beginning to heat up
Freeman's last comment...
I agree, and that includes toughness as well
I like what I see from battle as well
Timothy is part of the 7 not Gore as he is behing Timothy***
I hope so, as that would mean he plays against Auburn
Re: I hope so, as that would mean he plays against Auburn
Im officially
Check out the Scouting Profile for Ryan Norton
ALL IN Tiger 888
Re: Check out the Scouting Profile for Ryan Norton
Re: Check out the Scouting Profile for Ryan Norton
ALL IN Tiger 888
Ryan Norton- I remember several people here railing
"wonder where they are hiding now?"
Re: "wonder where they are hiding now?"
Re: "wonder where they are hiding now?"
Re: "wonder where they are hiding now?"
Stars mean little, especially at OL
Re: Stars mean little, especially at OL
At OL I think you can throw stars out the window
Stars mean little if nothing on the O-Line
Re: Ryan Norton- I remember several people here railing
Would have thought background be greener / warmer in picture***
Klemson Kirk
sgt tiger®
Picture of Caldwell and OL is clearly from spring ball.
And as it should....the talent is there. What we lack is
Ridgeland Booster
I had fire in my belly, but it was from Moe's***
ALL IN Tiger 888
Do other football programs have people scouting these...
I was thinking the same...
I don't think it really matters
If these linemen will lineup and just hit someone in......

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