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August 17, 2012
CLEMSON, S.C. -- Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney says there is no separation right now at left guard or right tackle, but he is pleased with the progress David Beasley and Shaq Anthony have made on the offensive line.
Beasley was inserted into the left guard spot with the first-team offense on Wednesday and did a good job according to Swinney. He followed that up with another good performance Friday morning during the Tigers' two-and-half hour practice behind the Jervey Athletic Center.
"I like what I have seen from Beasley, and I like how Kalon (Davis) has responded," Swinney said. "Kalon is trying to get better each day so we are going to let those guys compete."
Anthony has taken most of the reps at right tackle since last Saturday's stadium scrimmage and is in a good competition battle with fellow redshirt freshman Joe Gore for the starting job there.
"I anticipate, unless something drastic changes in the next week, that is where we are zeroed in," Swinney said. "Shaq took a step forward on Wednesday and Joe took a step back. It is a competitive battle right there, and that's where we are right now."
Swinney says they are still trying to get Ryan Norton more work at center so he can become more confident, while also getting him work at guard as well.
"We have to keep bringing them along," Swinney said. "As I said early on, the real story of our team is going to be the performance of a lot of those sophomores and in this case redshirt freshmen as well who are going to have to start and play some key roles for us."
Swinney says Saturday morning's scrimmage will be a big day for players who are trying to earn a roster spot on the Tigers' first and second team units.
"It will be our last full live scrimmage so it will be a really important day for some guys in regards to how we are going to set that depth chart," he said. "We do have a two-a-day (practices) on Monday, but we are going to start flipping that switch pretty quick as we start getting geared up for Auburn."
Clemson's preparation for the Auburn game will start a little earlier than it did in it's game-planning for Troy last season. Swinney claims there are a number of reasons for this.
"The biggest reason is that we have so many young players," he said. "A lot of them have played, but we have so many that we have to really count on to perform at a high level in this opener. Last year, we had a more veteran front on both sides of the ball so we will turn the script to Auburn by Monday at some point and Tuesday."
Wide receiver Daniel Rodriguez returned to practice Friday. The first year player was wearing a green jersey, which means he can participate in practice, but can't be tackled. Offensive tackle Gifford Timothy was still in a yellow jersey (can't participate) and isn't expected to practice for at least week.
"I like where we are right now. I think we are in a good spot," Swinney said. "I think health wise we are pretty good (as a team) and hopefully we can finish strong in that regard tomorrow. We still have a lot of work to do and a couple of weeks to get it done."
The Tigers will scrimmage tomorrow from 10 a.m. to noon at Memorial Stadium. Practice is closed to the public.
The team will then have Fan Appreciation Day at Memorial Stadium from 3-5 PM on Sunday.
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