By Ashley Denny.
CLEMSON, SC- With Clemson’s showdown against reigning ACC Champions, the Virginia Tech Hokies just two days away, Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney believes that his team is prepared to take the show on the road after a good week of practice.
When I arrived at the practice fields Thursday evening, I heard a loud noise, screaming and cheering, something that you’d hear at a Clemson home game. Come to find out, it was a recording of crowd noise that Swinney was having the team practice to in order to get them prepared for Lane Stadium Saturday evening.
“The crowd noise was real loud out there, I couldn’t hear myself talk,” Swinney said. “It may have been a little bit of overkill but we’re trying to make it that way to see how they respond and they did a good job. We’re not a huddle team, so from that standpoint it’s not a major issue, the biggest challenge is your snap and timing some things up, but we’ve worked it every day, and on special teams as well. Guys have really handled it well.”
As far as an injury update, sophomore receiver Nuk Hopkins is the only person that Swinney believes isn’t 100%.
“Dawson Zimmerman looked really great today, I feel really good about him.” Swinney said. “Nuk I call him probable, he’s not quite 100%, but in 48 hours I think he’ll be able to play and he thinks so too. He wasn’t quite 100% today, but he moved around pretty good. I’d say he is in the position Ellington was in last week before Florida State. DJ Howard will play; he’s looked good and is ready to go. The only person out is Mansa Joseph.”
As for the competition for starting left guard, Brandon Thomas will be the starter for the Tigers against the Hokies.
“Mason Cloy is still battling a little ding, and David Smith has had a pretty good week too, he’s starting to get back as well,” Swinney said. “But Thomas is starting because of a combination of things; he earned the right to start this week from practicing well, but David Smith is still working to come back also.”
Swinney is pleased with his team and how quickly they come off of a win and focus onto the next weekends contest, calling this Thursday’s practice one of the best Thursday’s the team has had.
“It’s been a good week, today was a very focused Thursday,” Swinney said. “Everyone understands and has a sense of urgency as far as what it’s going to take to have a chance to win. It’s going to be a tall order, but everybody’s excited about something different. We’re going to find out a little bit more about ourselves this weekend.”
Last season gearing up for the Tigers’ game against Auburn and Cam Newton, Swinney used Vic Beasley as a model of Newton’s 6’6 250 pound frame. Virginia Tech’s quarterback Logan Thomas is the same size and stature as Newton however Swinney didn’t feel like it was necessary to use Beasley again to simulate Thomas. Instead he used redshirt quarterbacks Tony McNeal and Morgan Roberts.