Guillermo says offensive line is "mean and nasty"


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Senior center Jay Guillermo is the unquestioned leader on the offensive line.
Senior center Jay Guillermo is the unquestioned leader on the offensive line.

CLEMSON – Jay Guillermo is the old man of the group, the wizened veteran who has seen it all and done it all, and he isn’t given to hyperbole or excess hype.

So when he says this is the best offensive line he’s seen coming out of spring practice, you take note. When he says they are “mean and nasty” and “don’t go backwards” you simply have to smile.

Guillermo headlines a physical group that just might be among the nation’s best in 2016, and the Maryville (TN) native says the spring game has him excited about the potential of his group.

“We're going to be a really good group. I think today seeing our depth - me working with Logan Tisch who has been our second and third team left guard - if he gets his footwork down he's going to be playing for us,” Guillermo said last week. “I think we're going to be really good, and we're going to have a lot of depth - a lot of quality depth and not just guys you stick in there to fill a position. I think we're going to have guys who can play.

“I'm really excited. We all work hard. We all want what's best for the team, and I think that's something that going into the summer that's really going to be propel us to be a better offensive line. I know I don't have to worry about guys showing up to workouts. Being a senior leader, I don't have to worry about them not being there, so that's something that I think is going to help us be a lot better.”

Guillermo was reminded that Isaiah Battle was considered to be a mainstay on the offensive line coming out of last spring, but Battle wound up declaring for the NFL’s Supplemental Draft. As a result, freshman left tackle Mitch Hyatt was thrust into action.

Guillermo says he doesn’t worry about this group having a similar situation to Battle’s.

“You just have to keep getting them going. Every day you have to encourage guys, and once again, it's not really difficult with this group,” he said. “These guys are just a bunch of good guys. I think we've recruited well and recruited really good character. I don't think it's too hard. Nothing against Isaiah, he did what he had to do, and it's paying off for him. He's doing well, but I really think that this group is a good group of guys. We work. We work every day. There's no pouting. It's just getting going. I took last spring off, but since I've been here, this is the best I've felt coming out of the spring about the offensive line. I think we're really, really sound, and we've got sound depth.”

The projected starters – other than Guillermo and Hyatt – are left guard Taylor Hearn, right guard Tyrone Crowder and right tackle Jake Fruhmorgen. Providing depth are Maverick Morris, Noah Green, Zach Giella, Tisch, Tremayne Anchrum, Justin Falcinelli and Sean Pollard.

“There aren't any people who aren't willing to do work. It's not like it's been a room full of misfits, but two or three guys can take a whole room down, and I don't think we have any guys like that anymore,” Guillermo said. “I think we've got a bunch of guys who will work and work and work. They want to be coached. I think we've had guys in the past that didn't want to be coached or wanted to do it their way, and that's not a problem with this group. They take their coaching, they learn, and they go forward. They don't go backwards, and I think that's another big thing with this group.”

The wait between now and the season opener at Auburn will be a long one for Clemson fans, but for Guillermo the wait will be easy because he doesn’t have to worry about his offensive line teammates.

“I think it's better than it was when I got here during the summer. This is the best I've felt as an offensive line unit coming out of a spring,” he said “We've just got to tune a few things up. Now we're into fine tuning and transforming our bodies. I'm just really excited about this group. We're going to be really good. We were really good last year and we lost some good people, but we've just got guys who have played, that know how the game works, and they're mean and nasty. That's what you want in an offensive lineman, and I think that's going to take us to the next level.”

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