When OL holds its own 1-on-1 with DL, it's a win-win scenario for Tigers

'All those senior defensive linemen who weren't very good two years ago are pretty good now...It's been a battle every single day'

Football Spring Practice: Offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell watches his players drill

Photo by Mark Crammer

Football Spring Practice: Offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell watches his players drill

It's a spring dilemma for every football coach: the offense dominates at the expense of the defense, and vice-versa.

Either way, there's reason for concern.

Unless you're Dabo Swinney, and the subject is Clemson's work-in-progress offensive line vs. the Tigers' defensive front.

When the offense holds its own in the trenches, as has happened with regularity this spring, it's good news to Swinney and offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell.

"All those senior defensive linemen who weren't very good two years ago are pretty good now," said Swinney following the Tigers' Wednesday practice session. "They've got great depth.

"It's been a battle every single day."

Rising senior David Beasley has apparently regained the starting left guard spot from Eric Mac Lain, who was given first-shot at the position, in part because of Swinney's dissatisfaction with Beasley's focus. Beasley was part of the first offensive group on the field on Wednesday, along with Isaiah Battle at left tackle, Jay Guillermo at center, Kalon Davis at right guard and Shaq Anthony at right tackle. Starting center Ryan Norton was held out because of a shoulder injury.

"David Beasley has picked himself up off the mat and has fought back hard," Swinney said. "He'd been in the doghouse a little bit, but he's battled through it."

Beasley, who has started 19 games and logged nearly 1,200 snaps over the past two seasons, gives the Tigers their most experienced look on the offensive front.

"I like what I see in our offensive line," Swinney said. I think some guys are growing up, getting thrown in there every day."

Those getting second-team reps include Mac Clain, Reid Webster, Joe Gore and redshirt freshman Tyrone Crowder.

Swinney said that during a "one-on-one, point-of-attack' drill on Wednesday, the offensive line held its own against the Tigers' more experienced defensive front.

"It was good to see 'em going at it and competing," Swinney said. "Our offensive line is going against some of the best in the country. When you have that kind of competition, it's just going to make you better."

Follow Kerry Capps on Twitter @oandwkc

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Comments » 3

TigerFan95 writes:

For the last few years our skill players have carried the load for the offense and covered up for a weak O-line. Now, with a bunch of youth and inexperience at those skill positions, and a boat-load of junior & senior O-linemen, it’s time for the roles to reverse. Judging by what I read in this article, it sounds like that may be happening. If it does, it’s going to be a very special season indeed. If not, we’re in trouble.

clemvol writes:

Good to hear this..........finally. Hopefully this will be and better be the case everyday.

33dtb writes:

....""All those senior defensive linemen who weren't very good two years ago are pretty good now," said Swinney following the Tigers' Wednesday practice session. "They've got great depth."......

For years, we've been told every spring that the problem was fixed. Hope we have finally turned a corner instead of just better "spin".

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