Clemson is only three days into fall camp, but Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney has been very pleased with what he has seen from his football team.
“I’m not disappointed really by anything,” he said after Saturday’s practice.
The Tigers’ head man reported there has been great energy and intensity in camp the first three days. He even said the energy and intensity has been better than last year’s national championship team after three practices.
“Last year we were a really, really young team,” Swinney said. “We were mostly freshmen and sophomores. This year we have a lot of sophomores and juniors and they are just a little older.
“This time last year, John Simpson, (Sean) Pollard, (Tremayne) Anchrum were just true freshmen running around out there. Now we have ten guys repping up front that all have experience and knowledge.”
On Saturday, the coaches introduced the players to shells (helmets and shoulder pads) for the first time in camp and it changed the mindset just a little because they could actually hit a little more than in the past.
“There is just a good vibe out there,” Swinney said.
The good vibes have carried throughout the team, where Swinney feels he has perhaps the best depth he has had since he has been at Clemson. Both he and co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott talked about there not being much of a drop off whenever they rotated the ones, the twos and the threes in.
Scott said he can’t remember a time when they could not tell between a third-team and a second-team player.
“That means we have really good depth, which is something I anticipate, and I hope that we can have just great functional depth on both sides to where we can play a lot of people,” Swinney said. “I’m very encouraged by everything I have seen.”
Off day. The Tigers will get Sunday off before hitting the practice fields again late on Monday afternoon. The team has to take finals for their summer classes on Monday so Swinney says on Tuesday they will really start to ramp things up a little more.
“Tuesday is when we can go fully into camp and we can really have our hands on them all day, every day for the next couple of weeks until we start school again. We have a lot to do, but we are very encouraged by all of these guys.”
Freshmen class looks impressive. Swinney says the freshmen class has looked very good so far. Swinney had high praise for the entire class, but especially pointed out running back Travis Etienne and wide receivers Amari Rodgers and Tee Higgins have been really impressive.
“The freshmen class is impressive,” the Clemson coach said. “All of them … that’s an impressive group of young players to mix in with all these other guys that we got.”
Swinney bragging on the LBs. Swinney continued to brag about his linebacking corps saying it might be the best he has had since he has been here has a whole.
“All of them can play,” he said. “They pretty much … even (Baylon) Spector and he just got here. He is coming along. They know what to do. I’m just really encouraged by the competition we have and the depth we have.”
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