Wednesday’s Thoughts: Tigers report for fall camp today
Football season is officially here.
Clemson players report to camp today at the Allen Reeves Football Complex in Clemson to begin fall camp. The Tigers will have meetings on Thursday and will hold their annual weigh-ins, as well. On Friday, they will begin practice.
“We are excited to get this thing going,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said.
Swinney has a lot of reasons to be excited. His Tigers open camp as the defending national champions for the second time in three years. He also welcomes back 12 starters and 48 lettermen from last year’s championship team.
Those numbers will be especially pronounced on offense as Clemson returns eight starters, including Preseason ACC Player of the Year Trevor Lawrence at quarterback. They Tigers also welcome back reigning ACC Player of the Year Travis Etienne at running back.
In all, Clemson placed all eight starters on the preseason All-ACC team, including wide receivers Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross and four starters on the offensive line…Sean Pollard (center), John Simpson (left guard), Gage Cervenka (right guard) and Tremayne Anchrum (right tackle).
On the defensive side of the ball, the Tigers bring back four starters in linebacker Isaiah Simmons, safeties K’Von Wallace and Tanner Muse and cornerback A.J. Terrell.
Though they have to replace all four starters up, the Tigers are still expected to be pretty good on the defensive line. Defensive end Xavier Thomas and defensive tackle Nyles Pinckney joined Simmons, Muse and Terrell on the All-ACC preseason team.
“I know all of Clemson Nation and everybody is excited to get back on the field,” Swinney said. “Our players are ready to get back to work on the field. Everybody has been grinding since January. There is always a little bit of a misperception, ‘Okay, we’re beginning right now.’
“We really are not beginning right now. We are heading into the third phase of our journey as we break our year down into four phases. For our players this is the third phase and for our coaches. We get ready, we transform, then we head into prime time.”
Swinney says there has been a lot of work going on, but this is the fun part of the season because they get a chance to get back on the field and start playing games.
“Everybody has a visual in their mind of that team last year because we have not played a game since then, but this is a very different team and everybody is ready to turn the page,” Swinney said. “Until you play a game, it is hard to do that for a lot of our fans.
“So, August 29 will be here before you know it. We have a lot of work to do with this team. We have a lot of work. We are a true work in progress, but it has been a good summer. The guys have really handled themselves well. The accountability and the leadership has been excellent.”
Now it is just time to play some football. Clemson kicks off the 2019 season on Aug. 29 at home against Georgia Tech.