CLEMSON — It might be hard to believe, but Clemson spring football practice is two-thirds complete.
Wednesday was the Tigers’ 10th workout, and only four practices remain before next Saturday’s Orange and White game, which counts as the 15th and final spring practice.
Wednesday, coach Dabo Swinney said offensive installation was essentially complete, save for a few tweaks with skill players.
Meanwhile, a rebuilt offensive line can focus solely on improvement.
“Now they know it’s not scheme, there’s not going to be anything added,” he said. “We want those guys to really hone in, get good at what we’re doing, carry that into the summer.”
Media members are not allowed to observe practices or scrimmages, but there has been a sense of so far, so good for a line replacing three starters – tackles Philip Price and Landon Walker and guard Antoine McClain – as well as veteran guard reserves Mason Cloy and David Smith.
Progress of Gifford Timothy, Joe Gore at RT
In the biggest surprise, Timothy – who struggled in relief of Walker last year – is getting excellent reviews.
“The guy I’m really pleased with is Giff Timothy,” Swinney said. “I’m very encouraged about where he is. It’s one of those reminders that when you coach, you’ll have a guy that wasn’t very good as a redshirt guy, wasn’t very good as a redshirt freshman, but now you hit that third year.
“It’s the maturity, the confidence, the change of his body in the weight room, conditioning. He has been very consistent.”
Shatley hasn’t played offensive line since his Pop Warner days, but has quickly taken to the position.
“He’s tough, physical, strong, smart,” Swinney said. “He has really changed that room in there, as far as a bunch of young guys, giving you another veteran guy in that room to go with Dalton and Brandon. It’s helped a ton.”
Does he have work to do? Sure.
“He’s got to technically improve,” Swinney said. “Working on footwork, hand placement, tight hands. His eyes, things like that. He’s got to work on his own this summer with the other players.”
Meanwhile, Davis has trimmed nearly 60 pounds from his frame, dropping from 380 pounds in 2010 to 326 now. He has taken a solid hold on the position between Thomas and Freeman.
Swinney said he is “really talented” and “has all the skills.”
“Kalon Davis is a guy we’ve got to continue to bring along for that first group,” he said. “He really has to further commit, to get up with those other guys.”
Swinney added that freshman Joe Gore is pushing Timothy at right tackle, while redshirt freshman Shaq Anthony is improving at left tackle. Sophomores David Beasley and Reid Webster are the reserve guards.
What remains for the offensive line to become a competent force? Work, work, work.
“It’s going to be repetition, repetition, repetition,” Swinney said. “Really focus on the fundamentals and technique, build a good foundation for them to take in the summer.”