The starting offensive line is starting to take shape at Clemson as the season opener against Auburn on Sept. 1 approaches, offensive coordinator Chad Morris said Monday.

Morris said left tackle Brandon Thomas and left guard David Beasley would join right tackle Shaq Anthony, right guard Tyler Shatley, and center Dalton Freeman, the unit’s lone returning starter, on the first team.

The status of right tackle Gifford Timothy is still unclear. Timothy was the likely starter until he hurt his knee during preseason practice on Aug. 8. Morris said Monday that Timothy would have to be practicing by Aug. 27 or 28 if he's to play against Auburn at the Georgia Dome.

“It is going to be our evaluation at that point,” Morris said. “We will look at his footwork and see where he is from a mental standpoint. So it’s hard to tell right now, but if he can’t go next Monday and Tuesday, then he can’t play.”

Morris said that after a rough start, the last three practices have been the best of the preseason for the offensive line.

“We had to really challenge those guys almost to the point of being ugly,” Morris said. “I hate to be ugly, but sometimes being nice does not work. But they responded and that has been good to see.”

Sophomore quarterback Cole Stoudt beat out Morgan Roberts and Chad Kelly to be the top backup. Morris said that Kelly, a true freshman, has played well during the preseason and could be used during the season if necessary.

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