Tigers start fall camp with a lot of veterans, plenty competition

Tigers start fall camp with a lot of veterans, plenty competition

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Tigers start fall camp with a lot of veterans, plenty competition

Clemson coaches have 3 weeks to figure out a plan for the quarterback position

It is here. Football season in Clemson officially begins today as the second-ranked Tigers open fall camp this afternoon at the Poe Indoor Practice Facility in Clemson.

“There is a lot of enthusiasm in our building,” head coach Dabo Swinney said. “Our players have worked hard this summer. This team has been very focused. Guys have continued to work. That is a sign of maturity. That is a sign of our veteran leadership and guys understanding what it takes, but also being committed to what it takes to be in position to get off to a good start in fall camp.

“I think we are in a good spot. We are just anxious to get going.”

The Tigers will practice in camp for the next three weeks as it prepares for the 2018 season, which begins against Furman on Sept. 1 at Death Valley. Clemson returns 17 starters and a record 61 lettermen from a team that went 12-2 in 2017 and won a third straight ACC Championship and played in the College Football Playoff for a third year in a row.

“It is well documented that this is the most veteran team that I have had since I have been the head coach and I am excited about that,” Swinney said. “Last year, was the polar opposite. I embrace whatever challenge we have every year. I just embrace that.”

Swinney’s No. 1 challenge in camp will be to solve his quarterback dilemma. Though starter Kelly Bryant is back for his senior year, newcomer Trevor Lawrence, the No. 1 recruit coming out of high school, is pushing Bryant for his job.

The Clemson head coach has indicated in the weeks leading up to camp that the Tigers could use multiple quarterbacks this coming season. Of course, Swinney and his offensive coaches will have the next three weeks to figure out what they will do at the quarterback position.

“How that is going to shake out? I don’t really know. I know how we are going to start,” Swinney said. “Kelly is coming out of spring number one. He went into spring number one and he came out of the spring number one, but the gap closed.

“We will see what happens. It is a daily competition. It is a daily battle. I am very confident in Kelly Bryant. I believe in Kelly. I am very confident he can lead this team. He has already proven he can do that. He is so much better today than he was this time last year.

“It is the same thing with Trevor and Chase (Brice). I know neither one of them have taken a snap, but based on what I have seen in our (spring) practices and our meetings and who they are as people, I think those guys will have an opportunity to compete. So, I don’t really have a timeline.”

Swinney said it would be great if he did not have to get the quarterback question throughout camp. However, he also said it’s great he is getting the question because it means they have great competition.

“It is great to have great competition too because I don’t know that I have really had a situation where I can honestly say I think we can compete in our league with three guys. So, that is a good situation,” he said.

Besides quarterback, Clemson will also have good competition battles at running back between Travis Etienne and Tavien Feaster; at wide receiver between Tee Higgins, Trevion Thompson and Diondre Overton; at tight end between Milan Richard and Garrett Williams; at middle linebacker between Kendall Joseph and Tre Lamar; at cornerback between A.J. Terrell and Mark Fields and at kicker between Greg Huegel and Alex Spence.

“The guys are ready to go. They are chomping at the bit to get started,” Swinney said. “We have a lot of veterans, but we have as much competition as we have ever had. Everybody on this team, they know and they accept that fact that they have to go earn it.

“Nobody is given anything. That is just the culture that we have.”

 

Hot off the press. ‘Back with a Vengeance’ is now available for online orders.  TCI takes an in-depth look at the upcoming season as the Tigers march towards another national championship.  Order your copy today!

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