Camp Insider: Potter enters Swinney's witness protection; NFL scouts get look at Tigers
Ajou makes a catch Saturday.

Camp Insider: Potter enters Swinney's witness protection; NFL scouts get look at Tigers

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – Clemson kicker BT Potter was briefly in the witness protection program Saturday afternoon but was soon back in the good graces of his teammates and coaches.

The Tigers practiced for over two hours on the fields behind the Reeves complex, and as the proceedings drew to a conclusion, Swinney lined up the entire team on one sideline and called Potter, a snapper, and a holder to the middle of the field for a 41-yard field goal with two seconds left on the clock.

Swinney told Potter that if he made the field goal, practice would be over and everyone could leave without any extra running on a hot and humid afternoon. Swinney even told Potter that he could later attend the big “Kappa Kappa Gamma” party being held. He then told Potter that there was “pressure.”

Potter pulled the kick wide left and Swinney, on the microphone he has broken out this camp, turned to the sideline and said, “Ok, he missed it. BT, you are now in witness protection. Let’s run up-and-backs.” He then turned to Potter and said, “Oh no, you don’t run. You watch your teammates run.”

Once the team ran, Potter was called back out for a field goal with one second left on the clock, and instead of the cheers and jeers you could hear on the first kick, the entire facility was eerily quiet. Potter nailed this one right down the middle. Swinney, still on the microphone, told the entire team to watch while Potter ran the field and back. He then declared that Potter was no longer in witness protection.

Welcome to fall camp.

*There were Houston Texans, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Rams, Cincinnati Bengals, Kansas City Chiefs, and New York Jets scouts in attendance.

*Former wide receiver Artavis Scott is back with the program and helping out with the wide receivers, but he doesn’t wear coaches shoes. Scott is out there in his cleats.

*Freshman wide receiver Troy Stellato, who looked to suffer from cramps yesterday, was in a yellow jersey today.

*The offense struggled at times today. The tempo period was sloppy and sluggish at times, a typical second practice, and it was obvious that Swinney wasn’t happy. I thought Taisun Phommachanh had a good day – he was more accurate than yesterday and showed a lot of poise. His performance was one of the unexpected surprises because, to me, he looked like the Taisun we saw in 2019.

*Andrew Booth continues to dominate, even when he’s wearing the boxing gloves the coaches put on the corners. He went 1-on-1 with Joseph Ngata on a beautifully thrown pass into the end zone (from Phommachanh) and knocked it away at the last second.

*Center was a revolving door Saturday. There were times when Matt Bockhorst was in the middle, with Marcus Tate at left guard. However, Bockhorst is in a green jersey and when he came out, Tate stayed at left guard while Mason Trotter played center. Hunter Rayburn and Ryan Linthicum also saw action at center, but it’s obvious that Marcus Tate is going to figure into the offensive line plans, especially if the coaches want to get the best five on the field.

*Ngata appeared to come up gimpy during one of the sessions but it didn’t appear to be serious. EJ Williams also looked like he might have rolled an ankle but he came back in to play. For the record, Williams has been extremely impressive. On a day when the wide receivers appeared to struggle (dropped passes), Williams excelled.

*Sophomore receiver Ajou Ajou continues to have his “WOW” moments. Everyone in the program seems to think Ajou is going to play significant snaps this season. On one go route up the sideline the ball was underthrown buy he stopped on a dime, leaped high in the air and used his hands to grab the football (at what looked like was 12 feet high). He hit the ground, spun on a dime, and sprinted into the endzone. Even when he’s covered, he’s not covered.

However, there are times when he draws the ire of Swinney or wide receivers coach Tyler Grisham, such as when he ran the wrong way out of a certain formation, or simply has sloppy technique. The ability is there, and it’s obvious the coaches are trying to push him to be his best.

*It's a good thing there is no tackling right now. Xavier Thomas continues to impress, and he came off the ball so fast on one snap it was obvious the poor quarterback, who shall remain nameless, would have been obliterated. I was 40 yards away and could see the look in the QB's eyes as Thomas roared in like a freight train.

*Barrett Carter and Trenton Simpson are two defenders that once again caught our eyes. Simpson is going to have a special year, while Carter has a chance to play this season, based on what we've seen.

*Will Taylor isn’t the biggest quarterback, but he throws a great ball. Billy Wiles has also had his moments.

*Kobe Pace continues to get what I think are the most snaps at first-team, but Lyn-J Dixon is a close second. Will Shipley is next. During the good-on-good sessions, Shipley showed the type of weapon he can be by running several wheel routes out of the backfield.

*Tight end Jaelyn Lay is physically impressive and it looks like he’s turned a corner, and Davis Allen is always impressive. But Braden Galloway looks like a guy who has been in the program for a few years and has been impressive.

*More to come.

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