Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney says linebacker Ben Boulware will not play next Saturday when the third-ranked Tigers host S.C. State.
Boulware, the Tigers most experienced linebacker, sprained his ankle in Saturday’s win over Troy. J.D. Davis was listed as Boulware’s backup at the weakside linebacker position for the Troy game. Jalen Williams, who also plays the nickel and strongside position, might also be in the mix to get the start in Boulware’s place.
“We are definitely going to hold him out this week,” Swinney said during his weekly Sunday teleconference with the media. “He thinks he can play, but we are going to have a quick turnaround next week so we are definitely going to hold him out of this ballgame.”
The Tigers (2-0) play Georgia Tech on Sept. 22, five days after the S.C. State game, and having the senior linebacker available for the Yellow Jackets is more important for the Tigers than it is against the Bulldogs.
Swinney does not think Boulware is at risk for missing the Georgia Tech game.
“Not based on what he said last night and today,” the Clemson coach said. “I guess anything is possible, but I don’t think so. We think he is going to be okay, but I’m definitely not going to put him out there this week … despite his wishes.”
Renfrow is fine. Clemson wide receiver Hunter Renfrow hurt his wrist while landing after making his diving-touchdown catch in the end zone on Saturday. After the game, the sophomore said he was okay and the X-ray came back negative for any damage or breaks.
Swinney confirmed Renfrow will be at practice on Monday and is expected to play against S.C. State.
Williams blamed for one interception. Granted Saturday was not quarterback Deshaun Watson’s best outing as a Clemson Tiger, but it wasn’t all the junior’s fault. Swinney told the media one of his two interceptions was charged to wide receiver Mike Williams.
“The interception was on Mike. It was a really poor route by Mike. It was quarters coverage. He just ran a poor route and made a bad decision,” Swinney said. “He went high and he should have gone low and that’s why the ball was intercepted.
“When you don’t have proper communication … so there are the little things and the details that we have to iron out. Mike takes a lot of pride in his performance. He had another catch, but he was out of bounds so we just have a lot of little things. Then we had him wide open for, I think, two touchdowns and overthrew him.”
Reasons for playing Overton. Freshman wide receiver Cornell Powell was expected to get some playing time against Troy on Saturday and he did, but Clemson also played fellow freshman wideout Diondre Overton in the second half.
Swinney said they were close to redshirting the Greensboro, N.C. native, but he changed their minds.
“We made the decision we wanted to get him some experience,” Swinney said. “The biggest thing was the last couple of weeks and watching him. The game kind of slowed down for him. He improved to the point that we are like, ‘Okay.’
“It gives us eight quality guys. If we get one rolled ankle or something like that you can get thin pretty quick. He is a very talented guy. He hit a little lull there in camp and that is why he was kind of on the fence, but the last couple of weeks, watching him practice and how he has responded, especially as we kind of paired the game plans down, we just made the decision we were going to play him. Obviously, we have some good players in front of him, but he will get some experience this year that will pay off for him in the future and for us.”
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