Offensive line depth pleases Morris

Special to The StateAugust 20, 2013 

Pick 6 Early Nonconference Games Football

Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd will have an experienced offensive line protecting him this season.

RICHARD SHIRO — AP

— Chad Morris intended to force-feed the remainder of the Clemson offensive playbook to quarterback Tajh Boyd as they prepared for their third and final season together.

After practice Tuesday, the Tigers’ offensive coordinator was confident Boyd had his fill.

“Yeah, there’s no doubt,” Morris said. “He’s got a little bit more freedom than he has in the past. That doesn’t mean he’s a cowboy because we gave him a rope.

“We don’t want him thinking. I want him to play.”

Boyd should have the security of a relatively experienced line in front of him. Four returning starters have an aggregate 59 starts between them.

Morris said the starters — at least through today — are senior Brandon Thomas at left tackle, junior David Beasley at left guard, sophomore Ryan Norton at center, senior Tyler Shatley at right guard and junior Gifford Timothy at right tackle.

“It’s kind of the five that’s come out of camp, that’s had the most consistency through camp,” Morris said.

Norton was perhaps the only obvious variable, though the staff held out hope Isaiah Battle would force them to start him at left tackle.

“Just because we think that those guys are the five today, it doesn’t mean that will be the five we put on the field Aug. 31. It’s a day-to-day grind for those guys, and we’ve got some guys behind them that are creating some competition.”

Redshirt freshman Jay Guillermo pushed Norton through spring drills and into August, but it would seem his modest experience and time with Boyd was the tipping point. Both centers reportedly were inconsistent with their snaps, but Morris’ wish to move at record pace requires a special link.

Morris said the competition created unparalleled depth.

“We haven’t had as many guys pushing in the past,” he said. “We feel that we’ve got some depth at that position, and we’ve got some guys that are going to continue to mature and grow.”

With senior Rod McDowell the starter, Morris said, sophomore Zac Brooks and redshirt sophomore walk-on C.J. Davidson are the next in the pecking order at running back. A minor ankle surgery Monday sidelined junior D.J. Howard at least for the opener, and Morris intends to proceed as if freshmen Tyshon Dye and Wayne Gallman will be redshirted.

“Those are the three guys right there that you’ll see a lot of,” Morris said.

Dye has a nagging back injury. Gallman and Davidson turned some heads, but Morris is inclined to hold back the first-year player. Davidson, a member of the track team, is listed as a sophomore.

While senior Darrell Smith would be the lead tight end, sophomore Stanton Seckinger “came on the last five or six days of camp.”

“I think he’s going to give us a lot of versatility,” Morris said of Seckinger. “He’s got great speed, he’s gained weight, has gotten a lot more physical.”

Hypothetically, Morris said, everything is on the table for Georgia. Along with Boyd, he has extraordinary depth and experience at receiver led by Sammy Watkins, Martavis Bryant, Charone Peake and Adam Humphries.

Morris said they have been totally invested in Georgia the past several days of practice.

The entire playbook is available.

“It’s all out there,” he said, “We’re not hold anything back.”

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