Notes: Brandon Thomas' versatility aiding shuffled Clemson o-line

Clemson offensive lineman Brandon Thomas block Georgia defensive end Josh Dawson in the second quarter.

Photo by Nathan Gray

Clemson offensive lineman Brandon Thomas block Georgia defensive end Josh Dawson in the second quarter.

CLEMSON – Over the last three seasons, Brandon Thomas has been no stranger to moving around.

In 2011, he was pressed into action for his career start at left tackle at N.C. State, after starting stints the previous seven games at left guard.

Last year, he played left tackle all season until a Gifford Timothy injury in the Chick-fil-A Bowl pushed him to right tackle.

And in the Tigers’ last game, the same scenario was in place, as Timothy was suffering from post-concussion-like symptoms, and Thomas made the same switch, holding State without a sack despite the midgame swap.

“It’s definitely exciting,” Thomas said, who played a team-high 987 snaps last season. “When he tells you to switch and go to the other side, I talked to the guy who was just in there on how they’ve been playing.

“I’m used to it now. They can throw me to the other side.”

His offensive coordinator appreciates the versatility, but is insistent on having a consistent home for Thomas by season’s end.

“Man, I’m excited about Brandon,” Chad Morris said. “But Brandon has to get in somewhere and get settled, whether that’s left, right, middle or tailback, wherever he’s at he needs to stay there and get settled.”

Anthony relishing playing time

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Morris says they are already working finding the “right combination.”

“If I’m some of those guys, I’m fired up,” he said. “ Shaq Anthony is going to have an opportunity. Some other guys are going to too. Let’s go.”

Anthony, a Wren product, admittedly had his issues Thursday as the first in at right tackle before Thomas moved over. He said the message from offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell was simple before entering.

“He told me to go out there and play and have fun. Don’t be nervous,” said Anthony. “This is the opportunity you’ve been waiting on. This is an opportunity to show us what you can do and I went out there to do that.”

Anthony, whose father (Vernie Anthony) played for the Tigers’ 1981 squad, is completing a long road back into the coaches’ good graces. He sat out last year’s postseason with academic issues, and Anthony says those issues almost extended into affecting his eligibility this fall.

“It’s been a process,” Anthony said, “but at the end of the day, it’s what I put myself through. My parents have been very supportive and a lot of the coaching staff has been supportive in school and football.

“It’s not always going to be good, but I know the coaches have given me an opportunity to work back into the rotation and get back to where I was at one point last year.”

Standing 6-4 280, Anthony says he’s worked on being more aggressive in run blocking, coming in as a more natural pass blocker from his high school days. With Timothy officially listed as questionable for Saturday, he will get his shot to get back on the field again this week.

“It’s a little different because I’ll know ahead of time,” said Anthony. “(I’m) really focusing on doing more extra work than I might have done in the past. Going into this Wake Forest game, I’m definitely going to put more time into studying their personnel so I can be ready.”

Pair of Tiger defenders earn ACC honors: Between 2006 and 2013, a number of Clemson defenders have been honored as a player of the week.

But not since 2006 had two been honored in one week, which is where the conference went Monday after standout performances from both junior middle linebacker Stephone Anthony and defensive end Vic Beasley against N.C. State.

Beasley’s three sacks, which included a key caused fumble in the third quarter, propelled him to No. 2 in the nation in sacks per game (1.7). Anthony totaled 16 tackles and two for loss.

Anthony leads the Tigers with 37 stops, while Beasley has also added three pass breakups.

No TV time yet for Clemson’s trip to Syracuse: ESPN used its six-day option for three ACC games on the weekend of Oct. 5, including Clemson’s trek up north to Syracuse. The gametime announcement will come as late as Sunday.

The three regional network slots were filled at noon and 3:30, which will put the Tigers and Orange on either ABC or some ESPN network that Saturday. The other games in the running are Maryland at Florida State and Georgia Tech at Miami, which could both be battles of the unbeaten.

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