More comfortable this time around

CLEMSON - About this time a year ago, Tyler Shatley was just trying to find his wits about himself on the offensive line.

Now, with a full season of guard under his belt, the redshirt senior feels much better about his spring work along the offensive front.

"It makes it a lot easier, because I can just go out there and play," Shatley said. "Last year, I was still learning and just trying to remember things.

"Now, I go out there and it comes a lot easier. I can just go out there and play. It's a lot more fun that way."

Shatley started all 13 games last season at right guard, recording 939 snaps. Though he has firm control on the starting job for 2013, Shatley would like to improve two parts of his game -- footwork and pad level.

"There were times last year -- later on in the season -- we just kind of got rolling. During the season, you can create bad habits," he said. "I think I'd get too long of a step or get out of position a little bit, and getting too high. I've been really trying to work on that this spring, so it comes naturally."

Another area Shatley is trying to improve this spring is leadership. With the graduation of Dalton Freeman, there's a big void in that department.

"I've never been a real vocal guy," Shatley said. "I've really been trying to work on that this spring, trying to encourage the guys more, get them fired up before drills and stuff. I've been working on it."

This spring, the Clemson coaches have worked on building more depth along the offensive line. Four of the five starters from last season are back. So are all of the reserves.

But there hasn't been much reliable depth behind most of the starters.

"Right now, our set five is Brandon Thomas then, either Kalon Davis or David Beasley, Ryan Norton, me and Giff Timothy. That's who we're starting with," Shatley said. "We're trying to work in some depth. Isaiah Battle is doing real well. You've got Reid Webster behind me, who is doing a great job.

"Jay [Guillermo] is coming along. We've got Joe Gore coming along, too. So we're trying to work on some dependable depth. Those guys are doing a great job."

Shatley added: "I think having that dependable depth will help us in challenging each other to do better."

And that would make the Clemson coaches much more comfortable in 2013.

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