Three days into fall camp for Clemson and the energy level only continues to grow.
Saturday’s practice was especially intensified because the coaches introduced the players to shells (helmets and shoulder pads). The mindset changed because they could actually hit harder than they did before.
Following Saturday’s practice, the media spoke to many players and coaches about the team’s fall camp progressions including head coach Dabo Swinney, co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott, defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, and wide receiver Deon Cain.
Here is what we heard:
During Swinney’s and Scott’s interviews, there was one thing that stood out. They both really emphasized how pleased they are with their team’s leadership emergence, the energy shown and maintained, and the focus that each and every player has shown for the past three days of camp.
“We’ve had a good three days,” Swinney said. “I’m really encouraged by what I’ve seen. And I’m trying to mix it all up, I’m not really letting them get in any kind of comfort zone from a rotation standpoint, as far as, ‘this group always goes first, this group always goes second.’ I’m just calling them randomly and mixing them up. Really just trying to see if I see a whole lot of difference, and to be honest with you, I don’t. which is a good deal. That means we’re going to have really good depth.”
Similarly, Scott said this team is full of eager learners, all putting in the effort expected of them.
“The first three days, these guys have been every efficient,” he said. “You’re trying to eliminate (those things) that are slowing the group down. Kind of what we talked about energy vampires that are high maintenance guys that are not giving effort. And really, we don’t have that. And a big part of that is the culture that Coach Swinney worked hard with these players and these leaders have worked hard to create. That’s really refreshing for me as a coach. The standard does not change.”
One strong suit on Clemson’s defense is its depth in the trenches. Wilkins said the goal is to strive to meet the feats the Tigers’ 2014 defense did, who were ranked as the number one defense in the country that season.
“We know what it looks like,” Wilkins said. “A lot of the older guys now were on that team with the 2014 defense. They know that the standard looks like. They know what it’s supposed to be. They know what that excellence looks like. Every day we’re pushing each other to be as best as we can.
“They’re the gold standard so it’s something great to shoot for. We feel like we have the talent to be a really good defense but it’s doesn’t mean anything if we don’t put the work in every day and have the mentality of pure and total domination each and every day.”
On the offensive side of the ball, guys are still intensely competing for starting gigs. As of now, Cain secured his position as the number one wide receiver going into the season opener versus Kent State, but he doesn’t look at it like that.
“I don’t really see it as ‘me as the guy,’” Cain said. “It’s just going up in the levels. I already know to attack every game one by one. I just see Kent Sate as an opponent, and just attack it.”
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