Pelion grad's father played at Wake Forest; Dye slated to return to starting lineup

OL Freeman may start for Tigers

pstrelow@thestate.comOctober 13, 2009 

Clemson redshirt freshman center Dalton Freeman is shown with his father, former Wake Forest lineman Ben, in January 2008 at Pelion High School.

GERRY MELENDEZ/GMELENDEZ@THESTATE.COM

  • Tigers vs. Demon Deacons

    WHO: Wake Forest (4-2, 2-1 ACC) at Clemson (2-3, 1-2)

    WHEN: Noon Saturday

    WHERE: Memorial Stadium, Clemson

    TV: Raycom, WACH-57

    RADIO: ESPN Radio 93.1 FM

    LINE: Clemson by 7

CLEMSON - Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Dalton Freeman appears in line to make his first career start, against his father's alma mater coincidentally.

Freeman has worked as Clemson's first-string center most of the past week, supplanting redshirt sophomore Mason Cloy.

Line coach Brad Scott said Monday he has not decided who will start Saturday against Wake Forest, which is where Freeman's father, Ben, played as a lineman from 1978-81.

Regardless, the starting center will play the first two series and the backup the third, with Scott planning to alternate them thereafter.

Freeman, a 6-foot-3, 283-pounder out of Pelion High School, has seen his playing time rise incrementally the past four games, getting 21 of 73 snaps at Maryland.

Scott said the reason for the potential change is two-fold.

The recent performances of the two have been negligible in comparison, and Cloy (Spring Valley High) could amount to a "third starter" to provide much-needed relief at the guard positions.

"It's not a wholesale change, and it's not like we're experimenting around," Scott said. "Those guys have played those positions.

"Competition is pretty healthy, you know."

Senior Thomas Austin has logged all but five snaps at left guard the past four games, and the Tigers have been searching for someone to push sophomore right guard Antoine McClain. Cloy started Clemson's final 12 games at guard last season.

Moon over Miami? ABC will televise Clemson's game at Miami next week, the league announced Monday, but it exercised its contractual option to wait until Sunday to decide whether the contest will begin at 3:30 or 8 p.m.

The network also has two Big 12 games - Oklahoma at Kansas, and Texas at Missouri - to consider when setting its lineup.

Hairston healing. Junior left tackle Chris Hairston said he is on course to return to the starting lineup Saturday after missing the majority of the past two games with a sprained knee ligament.

Hairston labored through one second-quarter series at Maryland.

But he said he is without limitation in practice. "Everything is back to normal now," Hairston said.

Dye cast. Xavier Dye's return to a starting receiver position appears complete, as he is listed as the projected starter on the depth chart this week.

Dye, a junior who started the opener, was benched the next week because of a drop, and he intended to transfer before changing his mind.

His latest replacement at the "X" position, redshirt freshman Jaron Brown, had two drops and a penalty in eight snaps at Maryland, opening the door for Dye, who matched a career high with three catches for 29 yards.

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