Cloy returns to the starting lineup

CLEMSON - Mason Cloy is back in Clemson's starting five up front after serving in a utility role since last season.

He played both center and left guard in 2009 after starting the first five games of the season at center.

David Smith had a leg up on Thomas Austin's vacant left guard spot heading into spring practice with Cloy still recovering from the broken fibula he suffered in the ACC Championship.

Smith went on to win the job and Cloy's played both guard positions and center this season. In the 27-24 loss to No. 15 Auburn last Saturday night, Smith went down with an ankle injury.

Cloy will be the starter at left guard when Clemson plays Miami next Saturday.

"Everybody wants to start," he said. "I've enjoyed it, being able to play all three positions and having that responsibility, being willing to mix it up sometimes. I know how important it is to the line, to be able to have that depth."

Any questions of the offensive line's toughness were put to bed with last week's performance at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Cloy said that's a credit to the group's experience.

"With experience, you're able to play with more confidence. You can let loose more. You're not as worried about making mistakes," he said. "A lot of times freshmen, and sometimes sophomores will play tentative because they're so conscious of their assignments and footwork and being able to read the defense all at the same time.

"I'd pretty much say that's one of the only factors that has to do with it. A lot of people try to blame it on coaches."

Cloy, a redshirt junior, has plenty of experience under his belt. He played in 26-straight games before missing last season's Music City Bowl. And with over 1,100 snaps to his name, Cloy is very comfortable with his grasp on the Tigers' playbook.

"You don't really have to go through the thought process of your responsibilities when a play is called and the defense is lined up," he said. "Whatever look they show. Whatever blitz they're showing. You're easily able to formulate what you have to do and communicate with everybody else. It just kind of happens."

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