Clemson heads into long layoff better than most

Clemson heads into long layoff better than most

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Clemson heads into long layoff better than most

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Tigers' 9 spring practices are more than all but one of its 12 opponents for 2020

When Clemson finished up its annual Pro Day last Thursday, Dabo Swinney was asked how he felt about the Tigers’ progress this spring, given the coronavirus pandemic would ultimately cancel the rest of spring practice.

Clemson started its spring drills earlier than most schools. The Tigers completed nine practices this spring, including a full stadium scrimmage last Wednesday.

Only one team on its 2020 schedule got in more work than Clemson, and that is FCS foe The Citadel, who the Tigers are expected to host on Nov. 14 at Memorial Stadium. The Bulldogs started spring drills on Feb. 10 and concluded their practices on March 7.

They are the only school on Clemson’s schedule to get all 15 practices the NCAA allows in the spring. The next closest team was Louisville, who was able to get seven practices in before leaving for spring break. The Cardinals were scheduled to return to practice this week.

The ACC announced last Thursday it was suspending all competition, practices and activities indefinitely. However, Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich told Clemson’s Flagship Station—105.5 FM The Roar—on Monday the league is meeting on Tuesday, and it is likely going to cancel the rest of the spring.

As for Clemson, Swinney said if they don’t practice again this spring, they will be okay because they have already started the development of their 15 early mid-year enrollees, while also getting tape on their players so they can evaluate and see where they need to improve.

“We have gotten a lot of work done, and if we do not get another practice, I feel good about what we have been able to get done,” he said. “We will respond, and we will get a plan together based on our direction and our leadership and we will go from there.

“The biggest thing is making sure everybody is safe and there are no issues and we can do the learning online. However, we have to do that and try to finish the semester where we want to. It seems like things change daily and, hopefully, the needle will start going back the other way just as fast. But that is just where we are right now.”

Swinney can’t imagine how things could have been this summer had the team not at least gotten in the nine practices they did get this spring.

“A lot of valuable development,” he said. “We have 15 mid-years. That is a lot of development for those guys. They have been in a lot of meetings. A lot of corrections. A lot of installation. A lot of just team building, and a lot of team meetings and things by the way we just build our team every year.

“So, we have gotten a lot of that done and we are in good shape. I am glad we were able to do that.”

Outside of Louisville and The Citadel, Clemson’s other 10 opponents are not in good of shape. In fact, two opponents never got an opportunity to practice—Akron and Virginia—while Notre Dame got just one practice in this spring. South Carolina, Wake Forest, NC State and Georgia Tech all got five practices in before practices were suspended, while Boston College got four practices in and Florida State just three.

Here is Clemson’s 2020 opponents, their number of spring practices completed and last day of spring practice:

  1. Georgia Tech: 5 (March 10)
  2. Louisville: 7 (March 6)
  3. Akron: 0
  4. Virginia: 0
  5. Boston College: 4 (March 10)
  6. Florida State: 3 (March 12)
  7. NC State: 5 (March 5)
  8. Syracuse: 2 (March 10)
  9. Notre Dame: 1 (March 5)
  10. The Citadel: 15 (March 7)
  11. Wake Forest: 5 (March 11)
  12. South Carolina: 5 (March 5)

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