O-Line Ready for Next Test

CLEMSON – The first three weeks of the season saw the Clemson offensive line look anything but an offensive line that was good enough to lead a team to conference championship.

Then came N.C. State and all appeared well.

However, critics are quick to point out that the Wolfpack played without two defensive tackles and that it still doesn't erase the poor play against Louisiana-Monroe and Furman.

But with a solid performance against a Georgia Tech team that loves to blitz all the time in several different manners and directions, it will go a long way toward showing the Tigers actually have a decent offensive line.

"Every game is a test," senior right guard Chris McDuffie said. "I'm not going to degrade any team, but I think they're going to bring more to the table than other teams by blitzing a lot."

The mood of the offensive line immediately following the game against the Wolfpack was one of confidence.

Starting senior right tackle Christian Capote, who earned ACC lineman of the week honors, said he and his fellow lineman needed a game like that where they were totally dominant.

He said it gave them a sense of what exactly they were capable of doing if they just played to their potential.

Seven days later, they're ready to prove their worth on national television.

"Last year against Georgia Tech was kind of the coming out party for our offensive line and we see this as definitely another possible one of those," said right guard Thomas Austin, who has been hindered much of the season with a sprained ankle.

"We're excited about it and we know they're a very good defense and that this could tell an awful lot about how we are and where we are as an offensive line."

The term being bantered about all week is that this is "a statement game" for the offensive line.

They're trying to show that those bad performances against Louisiana-Monroe, Furman and the second half of Florida State was due to the lack of cohesion and experience of playing together.

They now feel they are hitting on all cylinders.

"With those first three weeks that we were down, N.C. State kind of was a statement game for us because they weren't a La-Monroe or a Furman-type team," McDuffie said. "But this week is going to be a statement game to see if we can keep it up for another game."

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