CLEMSON, SC – The bad news for the Clemson Tigers Thursday was that weather moved them indoors for nearly the entire two-and-half hour practice. The good news, they still got a lot of work done.
Clemson spent all but the pre-practice walk-through and the stretching portion of practice in the indoor track facility, but head coach Dabo Swinney said the team got a lot accomplished, especially when it came to installing the offensive and defensive playbooks.
“The bad thing about it is that we do not have a surface that we can go full speed on,” Swinney said. “We made the best of it. It was a good teaching opportunity. We were able to get through all the scripts. I think we got a lot out of it and made the best of it. The guys practiced the right way against each other.
“It was a good practice and it was as good as it could be since we had to go inside. We will come back in the morning and will have a really good physical day. Then tomorrow night we will get back on the field as we get our first two-a-day going.”
Despite being inside, Swinney says the team is still on schedule as they prep for their first scrimmage in Death Valley on Saturday.
“The biggest thing is that you are doing a lot of installing and teaching. We got a lot of work done and a lot of teaching done,” he said. “It was really a good tempo. They practiced well against each other. We will go in and we will grade the film tonight and go through it all. That part of it, we are still on schedule.
“What you lose is that little bit of intensity and that physical smash-mouth contact out there on the field. We had to give that up, but we were able to stay on course from a teaching standpoint… We wanted to be able to go live on a couple of our practice segments, but we were not able to do that.
“In the (track facility) you can’t afford to cut them loose like that because it is not that type of surface. We are thankful that we have it because we have a place to go, but we just can’t go full speed.”
Timothy update. Swinney reported right tackle Gifford Timothy has an MCL sprain in his left knee and will have it scoped in the morning.
“I’m no doctor, but that sounds good to me,” he said. There were fears that he could have a torn ACL.
There is no timetable on when Timothy will return, but Swinney is hopeful he will be back before the season-opener on September 1 against Auburn.
“We will know more when he gets (his knee scoped) tomorrow and we see where he is at in the next three or four days,” Swinney said.
In the meantime, Jerome Maybank has moved from defensive tackle to offensive guard or tackle.
“Obviously he is behind, but we evaluate our personnel and try getting everyone on the right seat of the bus,” Swinney said. “This will give him a better opportunity to compete and hopefully help our team at some point.”
Freeman to tackle? Swinney said there is a chance center Dalton Freeman could move to right tackle if Timothy is unable to come back and if second-team right tackle Joe Gore struggles.
The coaching staff feels they can make this move because of the emergence of Ryan Norton at second team center. Swinney says he is coming along better than they thought he would and he could help the team out a lot this season.
“(Freeman) is a fifth-year senior and he is a guy that we know exactly what we have with him,” the Clemson coach said. “Norton is a guy that we are really excited about. He has made some progress. He is really climbing up there quickly and showing we can count on him.
“I hope (Gore) will seize the moment. He is a very talented young player. Obviously, he does not know a whole lot. He has a lot to learn. But he has all the skills. We do have some flexibility because we feel like Norton can go in and play for us and Dalton can go out and play right tackle and we can keep on rolling.
“We will see how it all plays out. We have some options and that is one of them.”
The Tigers will have their first of four two-a-days on Friday with the first practice starting at 9:45 a.m. and the second starting at 7:15 p.m. Both practices are closed to the public.
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