By Ashley Denny.
CLEMSON, SC- Another week, another challenge and Dabo Swinney and his Tigers are up for it. This Thursday members of the media met with Swinney where he spoke on topics such as Ellington’s health, how receivers Charone Peake and Adam Humphries are on the rise, and how he’s handling the amount of publicity he and his players have been receiving over the past few weeks.
“What I’m most pleased about with this team is their businesslike approach to practice this week,” Swinney said. “I like how they practice, we still have a lot of mental preparation to do between now and Saturday, they’ve got to continue to keep the distractions out and focus on what they’ve got to do to have a good performance on Saturday.”
As for who will start in place of Benton for kick off duties, Chandler Catanzaro has won the job, however Swinney hopes to use both Catanzaro and Dawson Zimmerman some in Saturday’s game kicking off.
“We’ll probably start Cat on Saturday but I hope to kick both of them,” Swinney said. “We’d like for them both to get kick off experience in a game. Chandler has been more accurate in kicking off, although Dawson has a stronger leg, Catanzaro has put it where we want it so far.”
Clemson’s star running back Andre Ellington, before he was injured last season was Clemson’s key offensive threat. This season, after Ellington was reinjured in the Auburn game early in the season, the progress that he’s made to get back to 100% was slowed down and he hasn’t been the same since. Swinney however has seen a different Andre in practice this week and promises that he will cut it loose soon.
“He’s good, he’s practiced really well yesterday and today,” Swinney said. “He had to work through a little bruise Monday and Tuesday because on that interception Saturday Tajh dove right into Andre trying to make a tackle on Hosley. He looks good though, he’s about close to 100%. He’s too good of a player to keep down; at some point he’s going to make his presence known.”
Brandon Thomas again will start in the left guard position with David Smith as his back up. Mason Cloy will also see the field at either center or guard at some point.
Two players that Swinney believes have practiced well enough to make an impact in games are freshmen receivers Adam Humphries and Charone Peake.
“Charone had a hurt shoulder for a few weeks but he’s feeling better now,” Swinney said. “He’s a guy we’ve got to get going, he and Adam. Both of those guys practice great, man they’re both really good players. We’ve played five games now, and I trust them so I think you’ll see those guys worked in a little bit more, we really need them. Peake is definitely ready to take on a big role in this offense.”
As for the recent hype surrounding Clemson and their 5-0 start, Swinney is used to the interviews and being in the spotlight.
“My first year when we went on that run and 2009 when we won the division, we were in the spotlight then too,” Swinney said.”It’s good how we have things set up though because I can keep that kind of stuff away from our coaches and keep them dialed in. It’s good for Clemson, we’re getting a lot of recognition and nothing’s wrong with that. Our job is just to keep everyone focused and keep them moving forward.”