CLEMSON -- While no decision has been declared, it appears Dalton Freeman might make his first start at center Saturday against Wake Forest as the freshman continues to split first-team reps with Mason Cloy.
Clemson offensive line coach Brad Scott is considering the move, but "hasn't decided yet" on Saturday's starter.
Scott indicated the decision to start wouldn't be based solely on performance, as moving Cloy from the starting lineup would give Clemson increased depth at the guard positions.
"Mason has played guard for us, started there almost all last year," Scott said. "I'm trying to get a little more depth at guard to get Thomas Austin a series of rest, Antoine McClain (a series of rest). I have some backup guys, but I think Cloy gives us another starter in order to be able to do that."
Freeman had an excellent spring before losing the starting center position to the more experienced Cloy in August camp.
Freeman possesses greater quickness and athleticism than Cloy (6-4, 310), but the 6-5, 283-pound Freeman is considerably lighter. Scott said Freeman has made great advances in his ability to diagnose defenses and make correct protection calls.
"Now it's like second nature," said Freeman, whose father, Ben Freeman, played at Wake Forest.
If Freeman does start at center, Scott said Austin and McClain will continue to start at left and right guard, respectively.
Scott likes to substitute offensive linemen.
Scott said he would feel more comfortable resting Austin and McClain if Cloy was in reserve. Austin has played over 70 snaps in three of the last four weeks.
Freeman has earned more time each of the last three weeks. He participated in 11 snaps against Boston College, 12 against TCU and 21 against Maryland.
Center is not the only position in flux.
David Smith saw his first extended time at right tackle against Maryland, playing 18 snaps. Smith, converted from guard, was one of the "few bright spots," according to head coach Dabo Swinney, in the loss to the Terrapins.
Smith, a 6-5, 290-pound sophomore, says he is just starting to get comfortable on the edge, where he hasn't played since high school. Smith said he is splitting first team snaps at right tackle.
Scott doesn't believe the shuffling of players will adversely affect performance.
"Once a guy reaches a point where we have high enough confidence in him where he can go in and play like a starter then it's not a problem," Scott said. "I wouldn't be placing him in there if he was messing up the continuity."
The ACC announced Monday that Clemson's Oct. 24 game at Miami will be televised on ABC (WCIV). The game will kick off at either 3:30 p.m. or 8 p.m.
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