O-line remains under microscope

CLEMSON - One penalty Saturday against Middle Tennessee was one too many for Clemson offensive tackles and tight end coach Danny Pearman.

He'd much rather have none called.

"I'm not really into penalties. We set a goal and that's to have zero," he said. "That came at an audible time and we've got to concentrate better."

Pearman said starting a drive first and 15 is a shot in the foot that leaves the offense behind trying to play catch up.

"If you stress you don't want any penalties, that's the biggest thing we've got to do—clean that up," he said.

At right tackle, Cory Lambert saw 45 snaps—some also at left tackle, Landon Walker had 39. At left tackle, Chris Hairston had 45 and Jamarcus Grant had 15. Lambert, Walker and Hairston all graded out on average of 71 or 72 percent.

Pearman said Grant was "OK" on Saturday, despite giving up a quarterback hurry.

Interior line coach Brad Scott said 75 percent is a good grade.

"It's kind of a starting spot for us," Pearman said. "Obviously, it has picked up this week. We've got a big challenge for us up front."

"It's kind of a starting spot for us," Pearman said. "Obviously, it has picked up this week. We've got a big challenge for us up front."

Right tackle playing time will be left up to who's playing the best. There's no doubt who was best blocking from the tight end position.

With very few targets in the passing game, Michael Palmer was "solid" while run blocking, which Pearman said is a common factor. Dwayne Allen, Rendrick Taylor, Chad Diehl and Durrell Barry were also mentioned for their blocking performances.

Scott believes Antoine McClain is more relaxed at his right guard spot. McClain has improved his technique since last year and has cut down on missed assignments.

"I don't have a guy that gives better effort than Antoine does," Scott said. "I probably played him a little too long there in a few stretches."

The interior starters played one series in the second half before reserves began rotating in. Most of the second team players were in the last half of the third quarter and most of the fourth quarter.

At center, Dalton Freeman drew praise. David Smith and Wilson Norris' work at guard was mentioned as with high regard.

"There were not near as many missed assignments as we had when we were training these youngsters last year," Scott said.

Preparing for Middle Tennessee was difficult because of the multiple looks they showed, Scott said. Though Clemson is facing a better opponent on Thursday than last week's foe, preparation will be totally different.

"We'll find out a little bit more about our team. There are going to be a lot more one on one blocking situations probably this week," he said.

Consistency and will be the biggest issue Pearman would like to see the ironed out. He believes slowing down Georgia Tech defensive end Derrick Morgan will be the biggest challenge.

"Anytime someone is singled up on 91, I think he's an excellent player," Pearman said. "He looks like he's improved some."

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