Swinney on Bryant: ‘He is ready to play’

Dec 31, 2015; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers defensive lineman Austin Bryant (91) against the Oklahoma Sooners in the second quarter of the 2015 CFP Semifinal at the Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said he expects everyone who was injured in Friday’s win over Boston College to practice this coming week with the exception of reserve offensive tackle Tremayne Anchrum.

Swinney said during his Sunday teleconference with the media that Anchrum has a high ankle sprain on his left foot and he will probably not play when the third-ranked Tigers host NC State next Saturday in Death Valley.

The Clemson coach said wide receiver Mike Williams will probably be held out of Monday’s practice and they will reevaluate his status afterwards. Williams has a high hamstring injury and did not play in the second half against Boston College.

Defensive lineman Christian Wilkins and defensive back Ryan Carter suffered sprained ankles as well against BC, but neither was as serious as Anchrum’s.  Swinney expects both starters to play against the Wolfpack.

“There is nothing real serious with any of those guys,” Swinney said. “It was a good, hard, physical game, and I’m proud with how they competed.”

However, the biggest injury news centered on defensive end Austin Bryant (foot) and his return to the lineup. Bryant made the trip to Chestnut Hill, Mass., and even dressed, but the sophomore did not play.

Since Bryant has not played this year, Swinney was asked if the team is considering a medical redshirt for the 6-foot-4, 265-pound defensive end. Bryant fractured a small bone in his foot a week before the end of fall camp in August. The team was hopeful for his return against Georgia Tech, but that did not pan out.

“Heck no! We are going to need Austin Bryant,” Swinney said with a chuckle. “We have a long way to go. We are going to need him. There is no question.”

Swinney says Bryant has had a slower return than expected because they wanted him to come back at full speed and to be comfortable when he did come back.

“I think he could have played (at BC) the other night. Fortunately, we did not have to have him and that’s the way were hoping it would be,” the Clemson coach said. “I think with the way Christian has played and the development of our guys we were able to kind of be a little more patient. Again, he is in a good spot. He is ready to kind of cut it loose and get back in that rhythm. The he has an open date after that so I think it sets up well.

“We have played six games. We are hoping to play fifteen, so we are not worried about redshirting him. We are going to need Austin Bryant. You can bank on that.”

Swinney would not say what the chances were Bryant to return this week, but he said they will see.

“He is ready to play,” the Tigers’ head coach said.

When will Renfrow return?  Swinney says wide receiver Hunter Renfrow has been practicing and can do everything still except tuck the football because of his hand, which he injured and had surgery on following the Tigers’ win over S.C. State on Sept. 17.

The sophomore has missed the last three games, and is still wearing a cast.

Swinney says once the cast comes off he should be ready to play, but the Clemson coach would not say if Renfrow will play against NC State on Saturday. However, Swinney did say he expects Renfrow to be back for the Florida State game on Oct. 29.

Teachable moment. When Deon Cain caught a 23-yard pass over the middle with precious seconds running down at the end of the first half on Saturday night, the sophomore failed to get down so the Tigers could call a timeout and set up a field goal attempt for kicker Greg Huegel.

Instead Cain tried to get some extra yardage and in doing so ran out the rest of the clock as the Tigers came out of that possession empty handed despite getting the ball to the Boston College 25-yard line.

Clemson had called timeout with eight seconds to play in the half to discuss exactly what it needed Cain to do on that play. Swinney was a little animated with Cain as the team was walking to the locker room.

“We practice that, and not only do we practice that, we called a timeout and said exactly what we were going to do,” Swinney said. “So it was very disappointing right there. Again, it is one thing if you don’t have a timeout and you get caught up in the moment and you have a young guy that is not really paying attention. But it is another thing when you call a timeout and you go over specifically what you need to do and then we do not execute that.

“It is an opportunity to coach. It is just one play in that game, but we are coaching for a standard and trying to be the best that we can be and in a tighter game those are things that can make a difference.”

Cain did bounce back to catch two more passes, both touchdowns, of 29 and 16 yards. He finished the game with a game-high 68 yards.

Players of the Week. Clemson’s players of the week for the BC game that are voted by the coaching staff are: Deshaun Watson (offense), Van Smith (defense) and James Skalski (special teams).

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