There’s a simplicity to the job for Clemson’s O-line: play your role and there’s plenty of playmakers to put up the points.
The ACC player of the year is your QB (Deshaun Watson).
The single-season school rushing leader is your RB (Wayne Gallman).
And there’s two first-team All-ACC-capable targets in the receiver corps (Artavis Scott and Mike Williams), as well as an array of more four-to-five star talents.
“Not a lot of baloney going on with those guys,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said of the Tiger O-line, which returns three starters. “They want to be a special group. They understand that they have a great quarterback back there, a bunch of great backs and a bunch of frisbee-catching dogs on the outside that they’ve got a chance to run (and) chase them chains.
“If they do their job (their teammates do the rest), and man, they take pride in that.”
Swinney praised sixth-year offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell for the mindset.
“That’s a close group. Robbie has done a great job. Leadership has emerged. (Center) Jay (Guillermo) is doing a phenomenal job. There’s a lot of pride in that room. Even though (offensive tackles) Mitch (Hyatt) and Fruh (Jake Fruhmorgen) are just sophomores, those are two guys that are very serious about it. They are just some committed guys.”
While a battle was expected at left guard this spring, where Eric Mac Lain started last season, right guard has featured a back-and-forth between juniors Tyrone Crowder (6-foot-2, 330 pounds) and Maverick Morris (6-5, 300), who split time there in 2015 (12 starts for Crowder; 3 starts for Morris).
“To me, there’s not a lot of difference between them,” Swinney said. “They both do good things. We think an awful lot of Crowder. He is a powerful man in there, and it's the same thing for Mav. Man, I can't say enough good things about him.”
Redshirt sophomore Taylor Hearn is the leading candidate at left guard (6-5, 330), but the Tigers’ head coach talked up fellow redshirt sophomore Justin Falcinelli (6-3, 305).
“We are really blessed with the guys we’ve got on the offensive line,” Swinney said. “Hearn is starting to come on. Robbie can tell you this. (Justin) Falcinelli can be as good as we've had come through here. He really has that type of ability. It's a matter of him really making his mind up on some of the little things. He's a brilliant young man but sometimes he's not as focused football-wise as he needs to be.
“But he’s just going to be a sophomore – he’s a guy that has a chance.”
Other standouts include redshirt freshman Zach Giella (6-5 295) and the mid-years Sean Pollard (6-5 295) and Treymayne Anchrum (6-3 290).
“Those two young ones – Pollard and Anchrum – mmhmm,” Swinney said. “Those two right there, boy, I’m glad they are on our team. Both of those young men got bright futures for us. No question about it. They’ve got the right stuff.”