Photo-realistic Death Valley replica!
Blanks settling in at safety


  by - Senior Writer - Friday, March 15, 2013 2:08 PM
    |

CLEMSON – Travis BlanksTravis Blanks
Fr. Defensive Back
#11 6-1, 190
Tallahassee, FL

View Full Profile
, one of the rising starts on Clemson’s young but talented defense, was going through a drill earlier this week when a collision with a teammate during a drill was something akin to “the shot heard round the world.”

Or, in Clemson’s case, the shot heard round the indoor practice facility.

Clemson’s paper-thin secondary can’t afford to suffer any more attrition before the freshmen arrive this summer, and Blanks wore a yellow jersey the rest of the week as a precautionary measure, but Blanks told TigerNet on Wednesday that big licks are simply a part of the game.

"It was just practice. I was just running around hitting and got banged up a bit,” the rising sophomore said. “Nothing major.”

Clemson head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
View Full Profile
offered his own take of the collision with the unnamed teammate.

"He got his bell rung. He got rocked pretty good,” Swinney told the media after Wednesday’s practice.

Swinney later characterized the injury as a “slight concussion” while Blanks said he was told the measures were just precautionary.

"They never diagnosed me. It's just a head injury,” Blanks said. “I don't want to say concussion when they never told me it was a concussion. They just took precautions."

Blanks said he should be full speed when the team returns to practice after spring break on March 25th, welcome news for a secondary that is already without the services of corner Garry PetersGarry Peters
RS So. Defensive Back
#26 6-0, 195
Conyers, GA

View Full Profile
– who has been held away from practice by Swinney as the head coach tries to get him to refocus on football – and freshman Jadar Johnson, who dislocated his elbow on the first day of practice.

The injury to the Tigers' starting free safety is the latest in a line of issues for a secondary that's already thin. Garry Peters, who is expected to compete for a starting job at cornerback this offseason, has not yet practiced this spring as he continues to "get with the program," after being challenged by the coaching staff to rededicate himself and refocus on off-the-field duties. And true freshman safety Jadar Johnson has been injured.

Swinney said he can’t envision a scenario where the freshmen don’t contribute this season.

"I don’t see a way that we can’t play them,” Swinney said. “That is one of the reasons we went and signed so many. Our number is 14 – that is what we try to recruit to in the secondary. Right now, we’ve got eight guys here on scholarship, with Jadar coming in, and then seven more coming, so we will actually be one over. The reason we did that is because we know we are going to have to count on some guys.

“Now, they're not all going to be ready. You just never really know. Who you think is going to be ready, he'll come in and he won't be ready. Who you think, 'That guy will never play as a freshman.' He'll shock you. You just never know. But they're all talented. And there is certainly an opportunity. We like the guys we have, but we need more accountability and competition and more quality depth that we can depend on.”

Blanks said the players on hand are doing their best to take advantage of the opportunity at hand, and aren't worrying about the highly-publicized freshmen who will arrive in the summer.

"We are kind of thin right now, but hey, we're taking advantage of our opportunities," Blanks said. “Right now we have to focus on what we can control. We can't control the freshmen coming in. All we can control is making the best out of every spring practice. That's our focus day by day. The more reps we take the better."


Blanks turned in a stellar freshman campaign, but played out of position as he tried to help new defensive coordinator Brent VenablesBrent Venables
Defensive Coordinator / Linebackers
View Full Profile
at the hybrid nickel-SAM position. This spring, Blanks has moved back to safety, and he said he is settling in comfortably at free safety and works on what he calls "eye discipline and eye control."

“Everything is going so fast. The playbook is bigger, so a lot of it is just about getting comfortable and being comfortable," he said. "I'm going to focus on my keys that I have to read based on the formations that are there. I can cover ground. I can tackle. I can break up passes. I've just got to have more discipline and control. feel natural there. That's where I played in high school. I see the whole field. I just feel so natural and good at free safety."

Blanks said making the transition easier has been the addition of new secondary coach Mike ReedMike Reed
Defensive Backs Coach
View Full Profile
, a coach that Blanks calls a “great teacher.”

"We make mistakes. But he teaches,” Blanks said. “He doesn't just yell at us. He teaches us. He's a great fundamentals guy. We are learning so much new technique and so much that can add to the positives of our game. Our technique has improved by leaps and bounds just in the short time he's been here. We all love Coach Reed. He played in the league and he's really helped us with our fundamentals and technique."


Rate this Story:
8 votes
Send Feedback to David Hood: Email | Comment
    |
  •  
    No Fly Zone - 2 days ago
    The Clemson secondary has a slogan for this season, one that defensive backs coach Mike Reed hopes will help make the game fun for a talented but young group of defenders. Where did he get the phrase? What does he say about Jayron Kearse and Mackensie Alexander? Full Story »
  •  
    Tiger Tidbits: No Fly Zone, Deshaun Watson and more - 2 weeks ago
    What's the latest we've heard this week surrounding the Clemson program? How is Deshaun Watson doing this summer as he rehabs from injury? What is the "No Fly Zone?" Full Story »
  •  
    Venables: The story of this defense will be told on the field - 2 weeks ago
    Brent Venables has heard about the hype and preseason expectations for his defense, but he told the media Tuesday that this unit won't achieve greatness in the media or on the message boards, it will have to earn it on the playing field. Full Story »
  •  
    Lack of respect? Clemson coaches think so - 2 weeks ago
    The national media doesn't give Clemson much of a chance to sustain the recent success the program has achieved, pointing to the loss of players like Sammy Watkins and Tajh Boyd as too much to overcome. However, Clemson's coaching staff has other ideas. Full Story »
  •  
    News and notes from Swinney media golf outing - 2 weeks ago
    News and notes from Tuesday morning's interview session with Clemson assistant coaches at Dabo Swinney media golf outing. What is the latest on Charone Peake? Can the coaches keep Scott Pagano off the field? What is the latest on Germone Hoppper? Full Story »

Subscribe to our RSS Feed
Follow us on Twitter
Follow us on Facebook
Sign Up for News Alerts
Features
Updates
Daily Digest