Notebook: Observations from Clemson's Friday bowl practice

Notebook: Observations from Clemson's Friday bowl practice

Football

Notebook: Observations from Clemson's Friday bowl practice

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Clemson opened up the first four periods of its Bowl Game practice to the media on Friday. The Tigers are just 12 days away from playing vs. Iowa State in the Cheez-It Bowl at Camping World Stadium (Orlando, Fla.) on Dec. 29.

Here’s what The Clemson Insider observed during the portion of practice that was available to the media:

  • Starting safety Nolan Turner was in street clothes, sporting a boot on his left foot. He was off on the sidelines during the stretching portion, along with linebacker Baylon Spector, who will be held out of the Bowl Game later this month. Turner’s status for the game is currently unknown.
  • Clemson’s starting offense didn’t look too much different from how it finished the regular season. However, there are two exceptions. Marcus Tate has been reinserted as the team’s starting left guard, while E.J. Williams is back healthy at receiver.
  • While Swinney mentioned that WR Joseph Ngata was in a yellow (no-contact jersey) on Tuesday, it appears that he’s starting to progress. Ngata, who has been dealing with a foot injury, was in a green jersey, which means a player can participate in most drills, but they cannot participate in any live (tackling) drills.
  • Newly promoted co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Wes Goodwin looked comfortable in his new role and his position group seemed to be attentive and focused.
  • Former Jacksonville State head coach John Grass, who recently was hired as an offensive analyst, has already been getting himself acclimated. He already seems to be adjusting to his new role and made himself readily available to multiple position groups Friday.
  • As promised, offensive analyst Thomas Austin was working with the tight ends during Friday’s practice. Swinney announced Tuesday that Austin would be coaching the tight end position through the Bowl Game as newly minted TEs coach Kyle Richardson underwent back surgery earlier this month.
  • Former Clemson offensive lineman Brandon Thomas, who was recently hired as a graduate assistant, was working with the offensive line on Friday.
  • Clemson currently only has three quarterbacks on its roster after Taisun Phommachanh entered the transfer portal earlier this month. Starting quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei was still sporting a big, bulky brace on his injured knee.
  • While veteran tight end Jaelyn Lay is set to move on from Clemson after the season, he is still currently with the team and practiced in full on Friday.
  • After not playing in Clemson’s regular-season finale against South Carolina, Xavier Thomas was not limited in practice. He was a full participant as he prepares to play his last game as a Tiger.
  • Running back Kobe Pace was absent from the practice field Friday. Will Shipley received a lion’s share of the Tigers’ first-team offensive reps.

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