Competition, competition, and more competition.
Months of competition, beginning in the spring, carrying over into August.
The best competition, in fact, that anyone can remember.
And yet when all was said and done, Clemson's starting offensive line changed not one iota.
“Looking at our offensive line right now, we’ve got Brandon Thomas, David Beasley, Ryan Norton, Tyler Shatley and Giff Timothy,” offensive coordinator Chad Morris said after the Tigers wrapped up the 'camp' phase of preseason practice on Tuesday. “That’s kind of the five that have come out of camp and had the most consistency through camp.
"Just because those are the five today, that doesn’t mean that will be the five that we put on the field on August 31st. But as of today that is the five that put out on the field and have the confidence in.”
Because the starting five hasn't changed, don't suggest to Morris that the Tigers are right back where they started.
Competition has honed a second offensive line that, while still in flux, appears to be more capable and game-ready than the Tigers have had years.
Kalon Davis' battle with Beasley for the starting left guard spot has been neck-and-neck. Isaiah Battle has progressed, and is better prepared to step in at left tackle for Thomas than he was a year ago. Jay Guillermo has come on strong at center, and while he hasn't displaced Norton, the coaches wouldn't panic if they have to put him in the game against Georgia.
At right tackle, Eric Mac Lain is being groomed to play behind Gifford Timothy, and at left guard, Reid Webster is itching for a chance behind Tyler Shatley.
Other players viably in the mix include Shaq Anthony, Patrick Destefano and Oliver Jones. Joe Gore, the early favorite to push Timothy at right tackle, is hoping a new knee brace will help put him back in the picture, while Spencer Region continues to progress after off-season hip surgery.
The Tigers are comfortable enough with their depth situation to have declared freshmen Tyrone Crowder and Maverick Morris as redshirts - the preference for any maturing program.
The depth chart for the Georgia game won't be announced until next week, but don't look for any significant changes.
Morris, Robbie Caldwell and the Tigers are feeling pretty good about where they are on the offensive front.