By Heath Bradley.
Dabo Swinney met with the media following Thursday’s practice for the final before his first weekly press conference next Tuesday. Coach Swinney spoke to a variety of topics, including whom he expected to play and whom he expected to redshirt.
Tomorrow the Tigers will take part in the annual “Beanie Bowl” a simulated game in Death Valley to teach the players the details of a normal game. From pre game warm-ups, to where to stand on the sideline, the Tigers will practice tomorrow as if it was a normal game. “Tomorrow will be a really important day, for just the overall preparation process. A lot of things, getting them all on the sideline together, when you scrimmage you are on opposite sidelines. Sideline Organization, communication, a lot of situations, and substitutions. We have a lot of things scripted we want to present to them and see how they react tomorrow.”
Two players Swinney mentioned were expected to play were LB Tony Steward as well as DE Kevin Dodd. Steward who is coming off of his second ACL surgery in as many years is expected to be a key member on special teams and a backup linebacker. “Tony is good to go, he is going to play, and is excited about it. He is starting on all the special teams and is going to play 25-plus playas game, just on special teams.” Dodd, who spent last season at prep school, is an early enrollee who is expected be the fifth man at defensive end.
Other players that Swinney announced would avoid a redshirt and play in 2012 are; DJ reader, Carlos Watkins, Isaiah Battle, Zac Brooks, Bradley Pinion, and Travis Blanks.
According to Swinney, two players that are in current “holding pattern” are Chad Kelly and Germone Hopper. Both players will be prepared to play but will only play if necessary, with the coaches hope to redshirt these players also. Jay Guillermo and Patrick Destefano will also be prepared early in the season in case they are needed.
Swinney also announced that CB Martin Jenkins would miss the entire season and is expected to have surgery in the near future on a nagging groin and abdomen injury. “Martin is probably going to have to have surgery.” “He is definitely out for the year.” “A really talented player that I hate we are not going to have available this year. He is one of my favorite guys, he plays a lot bigger than he is.”
In other injury news, Gifford Timothy practiced today and is further along in the rehabilitation process than Swinney had expected.
“We are really encouraged, I kind of told you all last week, check back with me Friday, and he is further along at this point than I thought he would be. I am really encouraged that we have a chance to have him ready,” said Swinney.
Backup left tackle Isaiah Battle suffered an injury in today’s practice, however at the time of interviews Swinney did not know the severity of the injury. “Battle was banged up today, I have to find out how he is, and hopefully he is ok.”
The battle for the starting punter role has been won by Spencer Benton for the time being.
“Benton will start at punter. Pinion will play this year, no doubt. He is definitely not going to redshirt, that battle is going to continue to go. Benton has been the more consistent guy, that is good to see, he is the senior,” said Swinney.