CLEMSON — Clemson’s young offensive line will get younger Saturday.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said Wednesday that sophomore right tackle Gifford Timothy will sit out the No.12 Tigers’ 12:30 p.m. home opener against Ball State with lingering soreness in his left knee.
Timothy suffered a torn meniscus shortly after preseason practice began, and missed two weeks following arthroscopic surgery. He played 86 snaps in the season-opening 26-19 win over Auburn, but was hurt on the next-to-last offensive play, walking off with assistance. Swinney said Sunday that it was believed to be scar tissue breaking up.
The injury is not believed to be serious, and the move is cautionary.
“I’ve been disappointed Giff has not been able to move,” Swinney said. “We probably won’t be able to play him. We’re pushing Shaq (Anthony) and Joe Gore, trying to get them ready.”
Anthony, a Wren alum, is a redshirt freshman who served as the starter while Timothy recovered. He took the final snap Saturday.
“Right now Shaq will definitely start,” Swinney said. “Hopefully Joe will have some say, but Shaq knows more about what he’s doing. He’s going to get an opportunity. It’s a good opportunity for him this weekend to show that he’s ready. I’m excited about seeing how he’ll handle it.”
Last week, Swinney said that Anthony “hit a wall” in late August.
Asked his confidence level in Anthony, he said, “Just OK.”
“He’s a freshman. About as confident as you can be in a freshman starting on the offensive line,” Swinney said. “He’s a talented player, but he’s a long way from being a finished product. I really believe him, believe he’ll really mature and get experience under his belt, he’ll be great, but he’s just a freshman. He’s the best we’ve got right now.”
Only two true freshmen – defensive tackle D.J. Reader and linebacker Travis Blanks – played vs. Auburn, but more are expected to play Saturday. Among them will be punter Bradley Pinion, who continues to push senior Spencer Benton for the starting role.
“Bradley is going to play. May even be the guy this year,” Swinney said. “Spencer did a fantastic job and is definitely our starter, but it’s not like he has a free pass for the year. He’s got to perform every week. That’s the way it is.
“I do anticipate using Bradley on punt or kickoff. He’s a very talented young player, we want to try and give him as much experience as we can. I hope Spencer is great all year, but we want to give (Pinion) as much experience as we can. If he does a great job later on he’ll get the job. I want it to be a competition all year long. That’s the way it should be.”