Temperatures soared throughout top-ranked Clemson’s fall camp this August, which took a toll on players during the already exhausting process of preparing for an early Thursday night kickoff to the 2019 season.
Numerous players described this year’s camp as the hottest and most physically tolling in their time as Tigers. Several players missed time due to injury or various bumps and bruises but now with nine days until the Aug. 29 matchup with Georgia Tech in Memorial Stadium it’s time to get their legs back before game week preparation begins this weekend.
The Clemson defense, in the process of rebuilding after losing several starters, dealt with nagging injuries throughout the rather tumultuous camp.
Missing time during camp is not an unusual or abnormal sight but comes with a territory in the sport, particularly when temperatures and fatigue prevail in the month of August.
Junior defensive end Justin Foster missed about a week in the middle of camp after being diagnosed with a concussion and following the protocol. This month proved difficult for Foster with increased responsibility in a battle for a starting position at defensive end.
“It’s been a pretty rough camp, my first two years I got reps but now I’m getting a lot more reps so physically it has been rough,” Foster told the media Tuesday. “This has definitely been my toughest camp, it’s been hot and physical every day.”
Head coach Dabo Swinney told the media earlier in the week fatigue had set in and the team needed to find their legs. Foster agreed with that assessment but there is nothing to be concerned about heading into game week.
“I’d say we were pretty worn-down last week, we had a couple of people banged up,” Foster said. “We were out there fighting every day with a lot of knicks and bruises, so we have to get our legs back for game day.”
Concerning the position battle Foster feels he performed to the best of his ability. Now the decision rests on the coaches’ shoulders.
Foster played 180 snaps in 2018 and participated in 14 of the 15 games with the exception of the matchup with Syracuse. He recorded 17 tackles, six tackles-for-loss and two sacks with a pair of quarterback pressures after making the switch from linebacker in high school.
Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. on Aug. 29, as Clemson opens up the season against the Yellow Jackets.