Saturday, December 14, 2013 1:22 PM
Bowl practice begins, Mackensie Alexander back at work
by TigerNet Staff

CLEMSON – Gentlemen, don’t forget the hip pads.

Clemson officially began practice for the 2014 Orange Bowl Friday afternoon, but the media was allowed to watch the first 40 minutes or so of Saturday’s practice, and Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was not happy with about a third of his team.

Following the requisite stretching session, Swinney blew a whistle, gathered the team at midfield of the indoor practice facility (it’s pouring in Clemson) and sent a number of players back to the locker room for not wearing hip pads. For those unfamiliar with the Clemson’s routine, that means the players had to get back on the trams and go back over to the locker rooms, add the hip pads and come back to the indoor facility, a process that took 15 minutes or so. Tajh Boyd and Chad Kelly were among those that didn’t have hip pads, and Cole Stoudt and Nick Schuessler took the reps in those spots.

Other notes and observations

MacKensie Alexander

I know there has been a lot of speculation about Alexander and whether or not the prized defensive back would transfer. He was at practice Saturday, but he had changed things up a bit – instead of wearing his usual No. 2 jersey, he was in a No. 4 jersey, and he went through all of the drills that we were allowed to watch without any hesitation or signs of injury.

On that front, I’ve been talking to a LOT of people, and I know some think he is a lock to transfer. After talking with several people close to our program, I get the sense that is way too early to call.

Here is what I have found out: Yes, he misses his brother Mackenro, who is at Auburn, and he misses several of his friends at Florida St. Both of those teams have had success this season, and I am sure it was hard on him being injured and not being able to play. Also, I’ve gotten the sense that during his high school career, he got by on athletic ability and really wasn’t pushed or made to work hard. That can be a bit of an adjustment as well.

I wouldn’t count out this staff in making sure that he stays on campus. The kids who have redshirted this season will get special attention during bowl practice, and my guess is that he will get plenty a lot of that attention. Heck, Swinney even took the time out this morning to go over and help Alexander stretch. I think this is just way too early to call, and we will get a better feel for it after the bowl game.

*Right tackle Giff Timothy was not dressed for practice. Timothy has battled some injury issues at times this season – he suffered concussion-like symptoms at N.C. State – but we’re unsure why he wasn’t dressed out today. Hopefully we will find out more when we talk to Swinney after practice.

* Safety Travis Blanks, linebacker Kellen Jones and wide receiver Charone Peake were all in street clothes. All are recovering from ACL injuries that required surgery.

*Running back Tyshon Dye was also in street clothes, but he hasn’t participated in practice much of the season after having back surgery.

*Jay Jay McCullough, who was recently moved to running back, continued to practice with Tony Elliott’s group. He was catching passes out of the backfield and looked smooth. It’s going to be interesting to see if he stays at that position. He just might be the big back Chad Morris is looking for.

*Several players were in yellow jerseys (you can be out there and stretch, just not participate fully in practice). Kevin Dodd- he red-shirted after being sidelined with a toe injury for most of the season. B.J. Goodson- suffered a groin injury during The Citadel game and is still in the yellow jersey. Carlos Watkins – suffered injuries after being involved in a car accident in September. He lost weight after the ordeal, but he looked like he has gained a lot of that weight back and he looked pretty good from what we saw.

*Center Ryan Norton and defensive back Bashaud Breeland were in green (non-contact) jerseys.

*2016 RB Tavien Feaster of Spartanburg (SC) was at practice and walking around with Brad Scott. He holds an offer from Clemson, along with FSU, UNC, South Carolina and Tennessee.

*The big video board inside the indoor practice facility said, "The season starts today" and had a bowl of oranges on one side and the Orange Bowl logo on the other.

TigerNet Staff can be reached at webmaster@tigernet.com