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Wednesday, February 11, 2009
O-line history indicates Clemson will have winning season

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Forget about the new offensive coordinator, the new defensive coordinator, the new quarterback, and the fact that James Davis, Aaron Kelly and Michael Hamlin are gone.

The offensive line is back.

Clemson has all five starters returning, and if you believe in numbers, then the odds are in favor of the Tigers having a winning season again. 

Longtime sports information director Tim Bourret is always good for a nifty stat. Check this one out: 

Since 1963 in seasons when Clemson has had to replace four starters in the offensive line, the Tigers have won 54 percent of their games. That includes last year when Clemson had to replace four starters and finished 7-6 (53.9 percent). This year Clemson has all five starters back. Since 1963, Clemson has won 76 percent of its games in seasons it had all five offensive line starters back.

So, there you have it. Clemson is en route to a nine-win season thanks to Chris Hairston, Thomas Austin, Mason Cloy, Landon Walker and Cory Lambert. Barry Humphries and David Smith also have starting experience.

OK, so it's not that easy, but if Clemson's offense is going to improve this fall, it's going to have to start up front, regardless of who is calling the plays. Having everyone back will certainly help.