Thin at TE, Tigers practice under Orlando sun plus news and notes

by - Senior Writer -
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The Tigers are hopeful Jordan Leggett will be able to play against Oklahoma.

ORLANDO, FL – Senior Sam CooperSam Cooper
RS Sr. Tight End
#86 6-6, 250
Brentwood, TN

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knows how to negotiate from a position of power.

Clemson’s football team practiced under sunny skies early Wednesday afternoon in Orlando’s Citrus Bowl, and Cooper was the lone scholarship tight end - Rod Byers is listed as a tight end/fullback - able to participate in the two-hour workout. As a result, he was making sure that new offensive coordinators Tony ElliottTony Elliott
Assistant Coach / Running Backs
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and Jeff ScottJeff Scott
Asst. Coach (WR) / Recruiting Coord.
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know he wants the football when the Tigers take on Oklahoma in next Monday’s Russell Athletic Bowl.

Stanton SeckingerStanton Seckinger
RS Jr. Tight End
#81 6-4, 241
Isle of Palms, SC

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suffered a knee injury during the Tigers’ 35-17 win over South Carolina at the end of last month, and Jay Jay McCulloughJay Jay McCullough
RS So. Tight End
#89 6-3, 248
Fort Mill, SC

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didn’t make the trip for the bowl game. Jordan LeggettJordan Leggett
So. Tight End
#16 6-5, 251
Navarre, FL

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is also battling the injury bug, and while he was dressed out Wednesday he didn’t participate in the practice.

“We're a little thin right now. Obviously the year has been tough but injuries are a part of the game and we feel like it's the same song but different time,” Cooper told the media after the practice. “We've been here before and we always have a good plan”

He is also trying to get a few passes thrown his way.

“There is a little lobbying, I'm not going to lie,” Cooper said with a big smile. “We'll see if it worked, but at the end of the day it's just about getting a team win. We're excited.”

Offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said that he hopes Leggett will be able to play against Oklahoma, but also said that converted defensive tackle Roderick ByersRoderick Byers
RS Jr. Defensive End
#55 6-3, 284
Rock Hill, SC

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is getting snaps at the tight end spot.

“Obviously, you have to have a plan in place but we're very hopeful that Leggett will be able to get back and give us snaps,” Elliott said after the practice. “It's a concern but we've got a plan in place. “We've been pushing him [Byers] hard to be able to function in the majority of the situations. Those guys have to know a lot and are responsible for a lot. We are pushing him to get him ready to be able to play. We're a little bit thin, so it's really just Sam and Byers and hopefully Leggett will be back by the end of the week.”

Head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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said the Tigers will know more about Leggett’s situation as the week progresses.

“We kind of pushed him (Leggett) a little today to see where he is. We'll know a little more tomorrow when we put the pads on,” Swinney said. “We're hopeful but we don't know right now. It's too early in the week. Today is like a Monday practice for us so we've still got a few days before we make that decision.”

Swinney was asked if he was worried about the position heading into next season, and he said no.

“We're going to be great at tight end. Hopefully we'll get Jay Jay back if he can do what he needs to do. [D.J.] Greenlee was making a lot of progress for us. Physically he's going to keep developing. He's out. We've got to get him healthy. We've got to get Seckinger healthy so the biggest thing in fixing it is we've got to get guys healthy. It's been that way all year. Leggett has been hurt. He's been in and out and inconsistent as far as his ability to be on the field this year. We've got two outstanding young prospects in Milan RichardMilan Richard
Fr. Tight End
#80 6-3, 243
Savannah, GA

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and Cannon SmithCannon Smith
Fr. Tight End
#84 6-5, 235
Columbia, SC

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. They'll be coming off redshirt so that's a big shot in the arm for us.

“We've got another signee [Garrett Williams] that will be coming in to join the group that we're really excited about. We'll be fine at that position. It's just been that type of year and it started in the first game with Coop in warmups and it's been that way. It's been everybody's turn all year long. We just haven't had the continuity there, kind of like our offensive line. We'll be a very, very good tight end group around here for a long time.

Other notes

On what McCullough has to do to get back in good graces

“He's just got some things that he's got to satisfy. The biggest thing is getting back to school and re-evaluating where he's at and we'll go from there.”

On fall semester grades

“We had a couple of walk-on guys that were ineligible during the season for whatever reason, but all of the guys that have been playing and traveling are here. I'm really proud of our guys. They all showed up. We had a team meeting at 7:45 last night and every single one them were there early or on time with the exception of Kellen JonesKellen Jones
RS Jr. Linebacker
#52 6-1, 233
Houston, TX

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. He had a plane cancellation coming out of Texas so he got here a little bit later, but everybody else was here. I was really pleased with that.”

Boulware to start at MIKE?

Swinney that linebacker Ben BoulwareBen Boulware
So. Outside Linebacker
#10 5-11, 235
Anderson, SC

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– who has practiced predominantly at the WILL linebacker spot, is in line to get the start for MIKE linebacker Stephone AnthonyStephone Anthony
Sr. Linebacker
#42 6-2, 244
Polkton, NC

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who will have to miss the first half of the bowl game after a targeting penalty in the South Carolina game.

“We're probably going to start Boulware but we'll make the final decision this week”

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