Hangin' with the Chad


by - Senior Writer -
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CLEMSON – How well did Clemson’s offensive line play Saturday night against Auburn? Well enough to win and rush for 320 yards, but offensive coordinator Chad MorrisChad Morris
Offensive Coordinator / QBs
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isn’t ready to give the line a catchy nickname.

At least not yet.

“I think we all saw the same thing. I think that they still have a lot of room for improvement,” Morris told the media Monday. “I’m not ready to name them the “seven blocks of granite” or the “four horsemen” yet. With that being said, those guys have earned some respect on this football team. I think they have earned some respect throughout the country, but we still have a long way to go.”

The five starters play each snap – except for one snap by Shaq AnthonyShaq Anthony
RS Fr. Offensive Tackle
#76 6-4, 265
Williamston, SC

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at the end of the game – and Morris said that was by design.

“We played five guys- well, six because we played one guy played one play,” Morris said. “We kind of felt that’s the way it was going to be. We felt like that was going to be the five guys that we felt comfortable with going in. We were pleased with the way they responded. They were very aggressive. They were physical. David BeasleyDavid Beasley
RS So. Offensive Guard
#68 6-4, 315
Columbus, GA

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told me this morning that he doesn’t ever remember playing 92 snaps, but was as good on play 90 as he was on play two. That was impressive. It was good to see David Beasley perform - he is definitely a guy that has gained a lot of respect.

Dalton FreemanDalton Freeman
Gr. Center
#55 6-5, 265
Pelion, SC

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was hands-down probably the best of them all up front. He graded out the best. We were very pleased with what Dalton did. Dalton probably played his most physical game that he has since I’ve been here. Tyler ShatleyTyler Shatley
RS Jr. Offensive Guard
#62 6-3, 295
Icard, NC

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gives us that physical toughness and ruggedness that people talk about. Brandon ThomasBrandon Thomas
RS Jr. Offensive Line
#63 6-3, 305
Spartanburg, SC

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is that veteran guy that was obviously going against a very talented defensive end and that speed rush that he brings. Brandon did pretty good, but- as they all do- has so many things that we can get better at.”

Right tackle Giff Timothy made the start despite being two weeks removed from surgery to repair torn meniscus in his right knee, and Morris said he could tell in Timothy’s mechanics that there was some rust.

“ Giff Timothy was a guy that being his first start- he did some good things,” Morris said. “He got sloppy with his mechanics. You can tell that he had been out for a couple of weeks and had missed some critical drill work that was going to focus on his fundamentals so he has to get better. We are still challenging those guys up front. There is still going to be some competition. What we’ve found now is that we have a little bit of depth. We have five guys that we feel comfortable with and some guys behind them.”

However, Morris said the Tigers are still going to have competition at the line spots during the week.

Kalon DavisKalon Davis
RS So. Offensive Guard
#67 6-5, 330
Chester, SC

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is a guy that had a really good work week last week and now with David Beasley playing at the level he’s playing at there’s going to be some heated competition throughout practice and I love every bit of it,” he said. “Ryan NortonRyan Norton
RS Fr. Offensive Line
#58 6-3, 270
Mauldin, SC

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is another guy that has to continue to come on. Shaq Anthony is a guy that there for a while was going to be the starter but he kind of hit a mental wall. He definitely has some talent and we can create some competition with him. Overall the assessment of the offensive line is that when you run the football for 300-plus yards, they have done something right.”

Morris said it was good to see the offensive line play physical, something he has been wanting since he arrived.

We had more knockdowns than we’ve had since I’ve been here, so there is that physicalness and that mentality,” he said. “I was proud of them. I’m the first one to challenge them and challenge them in a way to where they don’t like me and I don’t care- to challenge them in a way to where they are going to respond. To get where we want to be in this program offensively has to be week in and week out. To achieve the goal we need to have and to achieve the goals for this team, we need to run the football. We see that we run the football a lot of things open up. The passing game opens up even more and so putting a lot of pressure on those guys.

“Two weeks ago, I couldn’t tell you who the five guys were because there were some times through fall camp that it was pretty intense and ugly. I’m talking about ugly as in we were having to get pretty physical and nasty and challenge these guys to get them to respond. There’s a lot to be said about the confidence those guys have. It was a great start. All that it was is a really good first game, but whoop-di-do, now we have to move on to the next one and that’s what I told them this morning. I told them, ‘you did good. You did what you were supposed to do. Let’s don’t get shocked when we went down there and won. That’s what we were supposed to do. That’s what we trained for. It’s behind us now.’ We’re not ordering rings or getting trophies for that stuff now. Now, what do we do this next week because that’s the only game that matters. That’s the biggest game of the year is this week.”

Morris said he was pleased with the way the line responded, and also a little surprised.

“Absolutely. I’m going to tell you what I think. Absolutely, I was surprised,” he said. “I was more surprised with the way our guys were communicating on the sidelines, the confidence they had, the tempo we were playing at. We snapped the ball 92 times. We had 87 plays, but we snapped it 92 times to where they had to actually get down in a stance and get lined up. Our guys were coming to sidelines 14 or 15 plays into it saying, ‘Coach keep pressing it. Keep pressing it coach. Keep forcing the tempo.’ I think you saw that late in the game when we felt like it was our staple. The tempo- we felt like we had one that game in the second and third quarter because of the tempo we were pushing them too. Was I surprised with 300 and something yards? I was. Was I surprised to see those five guys perform? Absolutely not. I expected that out of them, but to see Andre EllingtonAndre Ellington
RS Sr. Running Back
#23 5-10, 195
Moncks Corner, SC

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to run as hard as he did and DJ Howard, and Hot Rod and Tajh running the football. I think it was just a mindset that those guys had.”

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