Tuesday afternoon marked the fifth day of Fall Camp for the Clemson Tigers and the first day of practicing in full pads. Head coach Dabo Swinney is aware there is still work to be done, but overall he is pleased with where the Tigers are at.
Here is what we heard from Tuesday’s practice.
“Well we’ve got a long way to go,” said Swinney. “We have a lot of work to do to really get ready to scrimmage, but today was a step in the right direction because we started to get some live work in today. You don’t get a lot of opportunities to go truly live in fall camp so when we do, we’ve got to cut it loose and we’ve got to maximize our opportunities.
“We had a little live drill to just set the tempo today and then we finished up with some green zone and some short yardage. We got some really good live work so that’s a positive step. But again it’s the first live we’ve had so we have a ways to go and a lot more to do.”
The rest of this week includes three more practices for the Tigers on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The week then concludes with a closed scrimmage on Saturday in Memorial Stadium.
“We’ll keep mixing a little bit in, tomorrow the same thing, Thursday, Friday and then we’ll start having some walk-throughs mixed in as well. Not true practices, but kind of extensions of our meetings on the field for a longer period of time the next couple of days and then cut it loose on Saturday so it’s hard when you only get so many opportunities to go live and it kind of exposes bad habits, a lack of knowledge by some guys, so I saw a little bit of that today but I’m encouraged, I really like where we are.”
Wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud also spoke about practice, but more specifically on the fact he has partly been practicing at cornerback again which is something he and Swinney discussed over the off-season.
“I was like if you need help on defense, if you ever need me, you can use me on defense and just use me at practice to learn the system,” McCloud said.
McCloud said he is still primarily working at wide receiver, but Swinney encouraged McCloud to learn some defense as well.
With wide receiver still being McCloud’s main position, he also said he thinks the transition to cornerback can help him become a better wide receiver.
“It does (help) because of technique. Just learning what defensive backs are taught and learning what defensive backs are trying to get out of you, which way they want you to go and what they’re going to do, to do that. It’s taught me a lot just in the past three or four days.”
Defensive coordinator Brent Venables also touched on McCloud playing cornerback, describing him as very “natural” at the position.
“It’s not asking him to learn a new language,” said Venables. “He’s very, very natural there and comfortable, instinctive, tough, physical, competitive, which is what you thought he would be. We offered him as a corner out of high school.”
Overall Venables is eager to see what happens over the next week with the team as a whole.
“I think what you’ll see over the course of the next week or so is you’ll see guys separate themselves,” he said. “I think you’ll have more clarity on who’s ready to play and who still needs work. It’s a great teaching time though and it’s a great opportunity for us to evaluate mentally the mature guys.”
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