Freeman diagnoses offensive line

CLEMSON - Since entering the starting lineup for the Wake Forest game in 2009, Dalton Freeman has started every game at center.

During his three-year career, Freeman has recorded 143 knockdown blocks in 2,402 snaps over 40 games, the last 36 of which he started. A two-time Academic All-ACC selection, Freeman was a finalist last season for the Rimington Trophy last season.

The graduate senior from Pelion finds himself smack dab in the middle of a very inexperienced offensive line.

Neither of the players on either side of him has started a game at the collegiate level.

Right guard Tyler Shatley moved over from defensive tackle in January. Left guard David Beasley has just 30 snaps of experience under his belt.

"Shatley has brought a physical presence since day one when he came over in the spring, a very smart player," Freeman said. "You don't have to tell him to do things twice. He's just a try hard, strong, physical guy.

"Beasley has come on. If you told me he was going to be starting in June or July, I would have laughed at you. He's really come out here and surprised everybody. He's worked extremely hard. He's taken the coaching from the meeting room to the field and really impressed everybody."

Out at left tackle, Brandon Thomas is the only offensive lineman other than Freeman with a start on that side of the ball.

Gifford Timothy was scheduled to be run with the first-team at right tackle before he was sidelined with a knee injury. A battle between redshirt freshmen Shaq Anthony and Joe Gore ensued. And, so far, Anthony has the edge.

Timothy's availablity for the Auburn game has not yet been determined.

"I think if Giff is healthy, he'll be the guy out there. He started camp doing really well, but had that setback with his knee," Freeman said. "Shaq will probably be the other guy in there. You'll see him more. He's picked up a little bit quicker than Joe.

"They're all pretty athletic, Shaq and Joe. They're very, very athletic, a little undersized. I don't think their athleticism will be questioned. It's just a matter of going out there and being able to process everything."

A number of players have rotated in and out of the starting five throughout the course of preseason camp.

Kalon Davis entered as the starter at left guard. Ryan Norton worked there, too. He or Jay Guillermo will be Freeman's heir apparent.

Even Freeman, who's been a stalwart at center, worked some at right tackle during preseason camp.

"We're trying to find our best five guys that play together the best. That's a huge part of the offensive line, finding that consistency and that camaraderie," Freeman said.

Over the years, that's been the norm.

"Even these past two or three years when we had veterans, we were constantly rotating guys," Freeman said. "Coach [Brad] Scott and coach [Robbie Caldwell are both guys that like to cross-train people…you're constantly having to be ambidextrous." Top Stories