Though head coach Dabo Swinney would not come and out and say it officially following Monday’s practice at Jervey Meadows, he did insinuate Greg Huegel has won the placekicking job for the second-ranked Tigers.
Swinney says Huegel has separated himself from Alex Spence and B.T. Potter in competition.
“He’s had a great camp,” the Clemson coach said. “Alex has had a good camp and Potter is right there, doing a nice job. But Greg has separated himself right now.”
Of course it is of no surprise Huegel is winning the job. Before tearing the knee up in his plant leg prior to last year’s Boston College game, the senior was having one of the greatest kicking careers in Clemson history.
As a freshman, he set the single-season record for field goals made with 27 on 32 attempts. In 2016, he was a big part of Clemson’s national championship season as he connected on 14 of 19 kicks.
Spence took over for Huegel after his injury last season. The senior struggled earlier on, but went on to make 7 of his last 8 kicks, including field goals of 42, 44 and 46 yards to close the year. His 42 and 44 yards kicks in the Sugar Bowl represented the Tigers’ only points in the College Football Playoff Game.
Break came at a good time. As you know, Swinney gave the program this past weekend off. It marked the first time as a head coach he gave one of his team a weekend off in the middle of camp.
It also marked the first time, period, in his 29-year college career as a player and as a coach he himself took or got a weekend off in the middle of training camp. However, Swinney said it was all worth it. After 17 straight days of work, which included three scrimmages, he knew his team was ready for the break.
“I’ve always felt like less is more anyway, so this is something we tried to do back in May,” he said. “We talked about starting later, going seventeen straight days and then taking Saturday and Sunday to kind of refresh, recharge, refuel, and to recommit.
“So that is kind of what we talked about and what everybody decided on, and I think it is great. I think everybody was ready to go this morning. There was good energy. This is always a tough practice, this Monday practice. But it was a good day.”
Injury update. Swinney reported wide receiver Trevion Thompson was back at practice and looked good.
“He was very sharp, very crisp today,” the Clemson coach said.
As for the rest of the team, there is really nothing to report. The weekend off allowed some of the players who got banged and nicked up from the scrimmages to rest and heal their bodies. Swinney said he could tell his team needed the break and it will benefit them as they get into the grind of the regular season.
“Seventeen straight days of grinding and always on your feet, and banging and running, it’s just a lot going on. You know, mentally fatigued, the (injury) list was very small today,” he said. “The only guys were Cam Scott, who wasn’t even in camp, and Will Brown who has been out since the second day with a pulled hamstring. That was it. I think there were only two guys on the list today.
“That was very good to see going into this last week. We are very fortunate and need to keep that up.”
The Tigers will conclude camp this afternoon behind the Allen Reeves Football Complex in Clemson. They will open the regular season on Sept. 1 against Furman at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is set for 12:20 p.m.