Though Clemson has started preseason camp and are back on the practice fields behind the Allen Reeves Football Complex in Clemson, some practices will not be the same as in years past.
This past May, the NCAA Division I council approved amendments prohibiting drills that create unneeded contact (particularly straight-line contact that is not common to the game) and reducing the number of contact practices from 21 to 18 (requiring at least seven helmet-only days and restricting full-pads days to nine). The acclimatization period will also increase from five to seven days.
Furthermore, there will be limits on full-contact practices, including no more than two consecutive full-contact practices, no more than 75 minutes of full-contact action during any practice session and no more than two scrimmages in the preseason.
“They must have stolen my practice schedule for the last twelve years,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. “When that all came out, I think a lot of coaches were like, ‘What?!’ And what they legislated is what we have been doing around here forever, with the exception we have always done three scrimmages.
“We have done two true scrimmages and the third one was situational. So, we will still do the situational day, but it will be all thud (no tackling to the ground).”
As for the 75 minutes of tackling, not counting scrimmages, Swinney said he has never had a practice where they went 75 minutes of tackling.
“The most we have ever been live is maybe thirty minutes on a 50-50-type day,” he said. “I think they said you have to have seven days in shorts, I think last year we did nine or ten days and that is the same it has been for twelve years around here.”
The only adjustment for Clemson is the Tigers will not be allowed to do their Paw Drill (Oklahoma Drill). They will be allowed to do the WIN Drill, which Swinney says is a totally different deal and is within the rules.
“The Paw Drill is the safest drill we do,” he said. “We don’t ever get anybody hurt in Paw Drill. We get guys hurt in shorts, but that is the rule that was put forth. So, you have to do eleven-on-eleven type stuff to get what you need. You can’t do three-on-three. No Oklahoma Drill or what we call the Paw Drill forever, ever and ever.”