By Will Vandervort.
Clemson players have to maintain their football focus as they grind through the rigors of training camp
By Will Vandervort
Chad Morris sent out a message to his offense after Clemson wrapped up the first of two practices early Friday afternoon in Clemson.
“This is not no let-up time. This isn’t happiness camp,” the Tigers’ offensive coordinator said. “We have to keep grinding and keep pushing them and they know that.”
Morris and the Clemson coaches have now pushed the eighth-ranked Tigers for a full week as they prepare them for the season opener against No. 5 Georgia in Death Valley on Aug. 31. Friday was the first of three two-a-day practices for the Clemson players in camp.
“The first day we went full pads, we started out with paw drills,” guard Kalon Davis said. “They were basically saying the whole game is going to be like paw drills because Georgia likes to line up and try to hit you in the mouth.
“Every day is only going to get tougher. Even after practice today, (Coach Dabo Swinney) was telling us it is only going to get tougher. You can’t fall off now because it is only going to get tougher from here on out.”
Clemson will find out just how tough things will get tomorrow as it suits up for its first dress rehearsal of camp. The Tigers will hold a two-hour scrimmage in Death Valley Saturday morning. It’s closed to the media and the public.
“The biggest thing is, we just want to make sure guys are playing hard,” Morris said. “We are kind of in the middle of camp right now and some of these guys think they can’t go any harder, but they have to keep working. They think it is tough and it isn’t tough. It has to be a lot tougher right now on these guys. We have to keep straining these guys.
“I hope to see some guys that are really pushing and working and we have been. We have been. We have to go harder. We have to go harder and we have to strain them a little more as a coaching staff so that’s what I hope to see.”
Offensive lineman Eric Mac Lain, who moved over from tight end last fall, says in order to get better and not let the pressure of camp get to them, they have to keep talking to themselves and not let their bodies talk to them.
“You have to tell yourself a positive story and keep going strong, knowing you have your four brothers beside you,” he said.
Getting through the trials and tribulations of camp, especially for the guys in the trenches, is a mindset more than anything else. They understand it’s not a “happy camp.”
“You try to make it happy, but it is what it is,” Davis said. “You have to come out here and compete. The better you compete, the better it will be… You have to have a football mentality every time you come to practice.
“It is easy to get away from it. I probably got away from it yesterday because I had a rough day, but right now, you have to be there in the moment all the time. You have to have your mind ready to go.”
If not, it’s definitely not going to be “happiness Camp.” It might just end up being a very difficult camp.