CLEMSON, SC – With just under three weeks to go before 14th-ranked Clemson kicks off the 2012 season against No. 25 Auburn in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome, head coach Dabo Swinney says there is still a lot of work to be done.
He and his Tigers tried to get a little bit better on Monday morning as they practiced for two-hours under the sun on the practice fields behind Jervey Gymnasium. It was the first of two practices for the Tigers on Monday.
“We are right on schedule,” he said. “The guys have worked hard and the coaches are doing a good job. We got the first scrimmage behind us and after watching the film, I was really encouraged. I was way more encouraged than discouraged.
“We had a lot of good things and a lot of things that are correctable and teachable things. That’s always the good thing when you get that first scrimmage. You can really teach from that. Some of these guys were getting their first opportunity and I thought it was a good day (Saturday).”
At this time of the year, every team around the country is working and trying to get better. Swinney pointed out some of those teams are just going through the motions of camp, while others are doing everything they can to get better. He feels his team is really working hard and trying to get better.
“That’s all you can ask,” Swinney said. “We have some guys that are young that we have to bring along and quickly make sure they are not making the same mistakes and things like that. We have thrown a lot at them in the first 10 days here.
“Now we are kind of going back. We will slow down with some of the installation a little bit. We will put some things in, but it will not be as heavy as it was those first six or seven days. Hopefully on Wednesday, when we have another scrimmage, we will see some improvement. Then we really get them geared up for another big day on Saturday.”
Punting. The battle for the starting punters job is still up in the air between senior Spencer Benton and freshman Bradley Pinion.
“They are competing hard,” Swinney said. “Neither one of them is as consistent as they need to be, but both of them have really done some good things. I think we can win with either one of them, but right now we are challenging them and hoping that one of them will separate from a consistency standpoint.”
To accomplish that Swinney says he will put a little more pressure on both punters to see who handles it the best.
“Right now, it’s too close to call.”
Injuries. Swinney is hopeful right tackle Gifford Timothy will be ready to go in 11 days when the Tigers host their annual Beanie Bowl on Aug. 24. Timothy injured his left knee in a practice last week and had it scoped on Friday.
He was at practice Monday morning, but was wearing a yellow jersey which means he cannot participate in any drills.
“I hope he can take some reps by then and at least have a chance to have a game week of preparation under his belt,” Swinney said. “It’s going to be about pain tolerance and how he responds to the rehab.”
Swinney also reported that reserve linebacker Justin Parker still has not practiced and will have surgery on his groin Wednesday in Charleston, SC.
Defensive end Corey Crawford was back at practice Monday and participated. He injured his ankle on Saturday. Defensive back Martin Jenkins still has not practiced after suffering a hip flexor last Wednesday; however, he is expected to be back soon.
Reserve wide receiver Daniel Rodriguez caught a pass for an eight yard gain in the scrimmage on Saturday, but suffered a shoulder injury in the process. He will be out at least this week.
Clemson will practice Tuesday at 4:25 p.m. Practice is closed to the public.
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