No doubt about it

SUNSET, S.C. - At this time a year ago, there was still some doubt surrounding Tyler Shatley's move to guard.

A two-year contributor for Clemson at defensive tackle, Shatley's previous experience as an offensive lineman came during his peewee days.

But, according to Robbie Caldwell, Shatley has the right kind of disposition for that major of a move.

"You've got a handful that sit there. They're picking their nose, staring at the bugs, whatever. Tyler, he's very focused [on] exactly what you're talking about, what we're trying to do," Caldwell said. "It was all Greek to him."

Shatley more than answered the call during his first season as the Tigers' right guard. In 939 snaps over 13 games, all of which he started, Shatley recorded 26 knockdown blocks.

Since his arrival, Caldwell has welcomed a few other offensive linemen who came to Clemson with plans on playing elsewhere for the Tigers.

Joe Gore signed as a defensive end. At the end of his first year at Clemson, he was moved to right tackle.

In 2012, Gore played just 66 snaps in five games.

"He's been having a really good summer," Caldwell said. "Mentally is the big thing. When we say mentally, we're talking about all of the movement, people everywhere. That just takes experience."

Apparently, Gore recently realized that learning to play on the offensive line takes some extra work.

"You've got to film study. You've got to do a lot of things, not just with me," Caldwell said. "But Joe Gore could figure in that picture, too, which would give us some leeway to put Giff [Timothy] at guard and do some things."

Eric MacLain does, too.

Classified by as an offensive tackle before he committed to play tight end for Clemson, MacLain began the transition from tight end to offensive tackle midway through last season. This summer, he began to cross-train at guard.

"We didn't ask him to do a great deal at two positions, because it's not fair to him. He had to learn the plays first on the offensive line, because it's different," Caldwell said. "[MacLain] adjusted to that pretty well.

"This summer, we said there might be some possibilities at guard. Can you get in there and work at it, learn it and see what you think? His teammates, of course he does, too, but his teammates are very impressed with how physical he is and his ability to be in there."

In addition to the players signed to play elsewhere, there are several recruited offensive linemen that add to the versatility to the group.

Brandon Thomas could play at either tackle spot and both guard positions. Ryan Norton might play center and guard. Jay Guillermo could, too.

Caldwell now has plenty of options to mix and match in his third season at Clemson.

"It's a good bunch," he said. "We've got two seniors and the rest of them mix and match...I'm really excited about the group."

It's nice to have options. Top Stories