GREENVILLE, S.C. — Dabo Swinney can’t wait for next Thursday to get here. That’s when his Clemson Tigers begin fall camp and start working towards the start of the 2017 football season.
“The off season is my least favorite … the whole year is great, but my favorite time of year is the season,” Swinney said from the Hyatt Regency in downtown Greenville as part of the 8th Annual Coaches for a Cure event on Wednesday. “This is always the most challenging time because no matter how prepared you are there is always so much to do in trying to get the plane off the ground, if you will.
“I can’t wait to get out there and continue the process of building this team. We start a new phase on Aug. 1 (when players report). Every year is a new journey for us and camp is the critical part of developing who we want to be and evaluating our new players and also evaluating the progress our guys have made since spring ball.”
This is also the first time Swinney and his staff will see his players on the field since the spring game. He is especially excited to see his quarterbacks and how far they have come this summer. Of course Kelly Bryant, Zerrick Cooper and Hunter Johnson will be in an intense battle to see who will replace Deshaun Watson.
“I think it is fun and I think it is exciting because I know the type of young men they are,” the Clemson coach said. “They are good people and they are very talented. Anytime you have really, really good people that are competing and guys that take so much pride in their performance, you know they are going to have a high level of intensity in practice every single day. So it is going to be fun.”
Swinney will use the first couple of practices to see how well his players are conditioned and get a gage about how serious they are about the upcoming season.
“So we kind of see the conditioning and kind of see the look in their eye and see where they are mentally and see who has great retention from the spring,” he said. “Just look for improvement from where we were when we finished. We had individual meetings and kind of laid out a plan for every player on the team, and what we want to improve on.
“It is always fun for me to see guys those first two days put the work in. We needed him to put 10 pounds on and we needed him to get a little stronger and have a little more ownership of the system. Because when they really have that understanding they are confident. When they become confident players, they become leaders. These are some of the things I look for.”
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