By Staff Report.
Clemson, SC—Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney put his team through a two-and-a-half hour practice on Saturday morning and afternoon on the practice fields behind the Jervey Athletic Center. It was the sixth straight day of practice for the Tigers who are preparing to face South Florida in the Meineke Car Care Bowl on Dec. 31 at Noon at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.
Clemson began practice last Monday with a workout in the Indoor practice facility. The Tigers worked outside on Tuesday and Wednesday, then had to go inside on Thursday when the weather brought 30-degree temperatures and rain. Clemson returned outside on Friday for a two hour workout in balmy (55 degree) conditions. Saturday’s practice was held in 38 degree temperatures, but it did not rain.
“We have had a good week of practice,” said Swinney. “We have been together for seven days really because he had meetings last Sunday. I think we have had a good combination of game preparation on South Florida, and also had time to work on the fundamentals. We have taken advantage of the extra time since finals ended.
“It has been a very busy week, really the most busy week of the year because you have preparation and practice for the bowl game and you are trying to recruit at the same time.”
Clemson worked for 18 periods, plus conditioning work for the veterans and an extra 20 minutes of practice for the red-shirts and other younger players. One of the highlights of a scrimmage period was a 50-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Parker to Marquan Jones. Later in the period Tajh Boyd connected on a 10-yard scoring pass to Dwayne Allen.
Swinney has been pleased with the progress of the younger players. “The first person who has jumped out to everyone has been Josh Watson. He has really played well in these practices and is going to be a factor for us next year.” Watson is a freshman from Wilmington, DE who is red-shirting this year. He was rated as the number-one defensive tackle in the nation among prep school players last year. He enrolled at Clemson last January after spending the fall of 2009 at Hargrave Military.
“There have been a number of young players who have stood out,” continued Swinney. “I have been Impressed with all of our young offensive linemen. Tavaris Barnes has had a good camp as well on defense. Demont Buice has also looked good, as has Joe Craig and Sam Cooper. We have red-shirted some outstanding young players this year and we are all anxious to see what they can do in 2011. In the meantime they are making the most of this extra practice.”
Clemson will return to practice on Monday and Tuesday, then break for Christmas. The team will meet in Charlotte on the 26th and practice on the 27th, 28th and 29th .
Notes of interest: DeAndre McDaniel was among eight active Clemson football players and two former Tigers who graduated on Thursday. With McDaniel’s graduation it means each of the last eight Clemson football players to make All-American at some point in their careers have graduated. The others are Tye Hill, Gaines Adams, Nathan Bennett, Barry Richardson, Chris McDuffie, Thomas Austin and C.J. Spiller. (Da’Quan Bowers made an All-America team this year, but has only been at the school for three years). Bowers became the 19th Clemson player to be named a consensus first-team All-American since the Tigers joined the ACC in 1953. That is second among ACC schools to Florida State, who has had 23 consensus All-Americans as an ACC school. The Clemson team will do a community service activity on Monday morning in Greenville….five members of the Clemson sophomore class were named honorable mention sophomore All-Americans by College Football News. Those players were Dalton Freeman, Corico Hawkins, Xavier Brewer, Rashard Hall and Dwayne Allen…tickets to the Meineke Car Care Bowl are still available by contacting clemsontigers.com or by call 1-800-CLEMSON…