By William Qualkinbush
Clemson wide receiver Adam Humphries was in a meeting when it hit him that this was his third preseason camp as a member of the Tiger football team. He was stunned.
Now beginning another year in Chad Morris’ offensive system and another year catching passes from quarterback Tajh Boyd, Humphries finds things easier this time around.
“It’s definitely a big difference being a veteran out here—just knowing the tempo of the practice, knowing where to be and when to be there,” he said. “We also have the job of getting those young guys up to pace because they’re a little behind.”
Humphries was just glad to be out on the field at all, with any labels, on Friday. A nagging injury kept him out of the first week of drills, which he said was difficult but manageable.
Humphries was not able to be on the field during the installation of the offense, but he was able to play a role in the process by lending a helping hand to some of his younger teammates. He says some of the freshmen routinely used him as a sounding board, asking questions and making sure they understood what was happening.
The rapid progress of his younger teammates gives Humphries confidence as the season draws closer.
“We’ve definitely improved from the spring,” he said. “This summer, we got a lot of work in. Right now, we’re looking good, but we’re not there yet.”
In addition to Humphries’ aches and pains, the injury bug has bitten another member of the Clemson receiving corps. Martavis Bryant has been limited in camp thus far, and Humphries says the sophomore receiver is poised for a breakout campaign if he can get his body to cooperate.
The injuries may actually work out in Clemson’s favor in the upcoming season. Due to the limited number of able bodies, several members of the Tiger wide receiving corps—including Humphries—have been cross-trained at multiple positions within Chad Morris’ spread attack. According to Humphries, this allows his teammates and him to stretch their minds and abilities to create positive development.
“It also fools the defense,” he said. “They don’t know where someone is going to be, whether in the boundary or in the field. That’s good for our veteran players to be able to move around in case injuries or something like that occur.”
The level of syncopation within the Tiger offense has been upgraded from recent years due to a number of familiar faces returning. Humphries says he is excited to renew his partnership with Boyd, and he says the third-year signal-caller has not missed a beat after months off the field between spring practice and preseason camp.
“I know how he throws the ball. He knows how I run my routes,” Humphries said. “It’s really good for us, especially just working outside of practice. We’re clicking now.”
At this point, Humphries’ top concern is not who is throwing him the football. The thing he is most thankful for is the ability to be on the field to even catch the ball in the first place.