Thomas has something to prove

CLEMSON - Brandon Thomas would like to prove that he is good enough to be the chief protector of Tajh Boyd's blindside.

In 13 games last season, Thomas logged 777 snaps, the majority of which were at left guard. He started at left tackle against N.C. State and played several snaps there against South Carolina.

Thomas is now entrenched as the starting left tackle.

"I just wanted to show that I can actually do it. A lot of people last year said they would prefer me at guard…I just wanted to show I could actually do it," he said. "With Phil [Price], he's gone now. I just want to show that I can actually do it."

The redshirt junior from Dorman High School feels more comfortable now than he did at this time a year ago when he was trying to learn the new offensive scheme.

"It's everything. Last year, the new offense, I didn't really know. I was just trying to learn the offense. That was a big part in everything, just trying to learn the offense and just trying to get better," Thomas said. "This year, I know the offense, so I can help other people on everything little, technique-wise."

And he'll have to do just that. Now that he's the second-most experienced offensive lineman at Clemson, Thomas is counted on as one of the leaders for the Tigers' offensive front.

"Right now, I'm looking at trying to get the younger guys right and trying to get them acclimated and everything, bring them along," he said. "Last year really helped me with the offense. I know the plays. It's just getting the young guys."

Tyler Shatley isn't a young guy, but he's inexperienced. He and Thomas both signed with Clemson in 2009, but Shatley spent his first three years at defensive tackle.

Shatley, who was moved across the ball in January, is now the starting right guard.

"It brings a lot of strength to our side," Thomas said. "He's a strong guy and he's athletic. He has a strong first punch. At guard, you just pop up and punch the guy. That really helps on that side, and pulling, too. He's quick. He's a good puller. I like him very much."

The move was one Thomas was politicking for as early as last year.

"I was telling him all last year he could come over and play offense. They had enough defensive guys. We were going to need some guards. I'm glad he came over," Thomas said.

Opposite of Shatley, to the right of Thomas, is Kalon Davis.

"I like him on my side. I think, with me and him on that side, we'll do well," Thomas said. "He's smart. He's quick, quick on pulls. He has to work on some pass protection, but I do, too. I think he'll help us out a lot at guard."

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