For all of the criticism surrounding the play of Louisville’s offensive line, the Clemson Tigers enter Saturday with plenty of question marks of their own. The local paper, GreenvilleOnline.com, explains it a little more.
Clemson has endured a rash of injuries and setbacks along the offensive line. That has transformed the depth chart into a shallow talent pool. For instance, this week, senior Reid Webster is listed as the starter at right guard.
And the backup at left tackle.
And the backup at center.
And the backup at right tackle.
“We went into last week thin, and we came out thinner,” offensive coordinator Chad Morris said, alluding to the broken foot interior lineman Jay Guillermo suffered Saturday against North Carolina State.
Guillermo, who has logged snaps at guard and center, will miss three to five weeks. Junior tackle Joe Gore missed the N.C. State game and will miss at least another week after undergoing an appendectomy last week. Shaq Anthony, whom Gore beat out for the starting right tackle position through August camp, transferred before the start of the season.
Clemson closed the spring with 10 linemen on its depth chart. They will face Louisville with seven.
So just as people have been saying that Clemson’s defensive line will run circles around our offensive line, and they just might, it appears that Louisville’s defensive line may be able to do the same to Clemson. Depth is always a concern in college football. Aside from the quarterback position, having depth on the offensive line could be most important.
You can plug in younger players at the skill positions, but the line is a different story. Most incoming freshmen redshirt because they aren’t physically ready to be in the trenches. If Clemson has to resort to playing inexperienced guys on the offensive line, guys like Lorenzo Mauldin and Keith Kelsey may have a field day blitzing.
This will certainly be something worth watching on Saturday.