CLEMSON FOOTBALL

Conn hopeful to get injured players back this week, says freshmen playing well

Conn hopeful to get injured players back this week, says freshmen playing well


by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – Mickey Conn said getting the Tigers’ extensive list of injured players back in action this week would be a huge shot in the arm.

Conn, the Tigers’ safeties coach and co-defensive coordinator, met with the media Monday ahead of this weekend’s noon kickoff at Wake Forest. The Tigers were without defensive tackles Bryan Bresee, Tyler Davis and Tré Williams, defensive end Xavier Thomas, safety Andrew Mukuba, and cornerback Nate Wiggins heading into last weekend’s game against Louisiana Tech. Corner Sheridan Jones then left with an injury in the first half.

Conn addressed the injury situation during Monday’s interview, but also said a positive is the younger players gaining experience.

“We're hoping, we're hoping. I know our doctors and trainers are working like crazy to get them ready. That would be a big shot in the arm if we can get them,” Conn said. "It's going to feel real good. But man those young players are getting opportunity and they're playing well. Payton Page had two pressures and was getting a lot of knock-back on Saturday. DeMonte Capehart was getting a lot of knock-back too. We are playing a lot of young corners and inexperienced safeties. Just have to get in the fire to learn."

Conn said he doesn’t have an update on Jones – he thinks Jones is ready to go but deferred to head coach Dabo Swinney. In Jones’ absence last week, freshmen corners Jeadyn Lukus and Toriano Pride were thrust into action against Louisiana Tech’s Air Raid offense.

Conn said he was pleased with how well the youngsters held up.

"I think a lot of that is confidence. You get out there, and there's 85,000 people and this is your first time. Coming from high school when you had 1,000 people and now you're on the big stage,” Conn said. “Your mind is racing 1,000 miles per hour, all these plays you have to know how to run, and everything is situational. In high school, you have a few plays you have to know. Now every call is situational. You're trying to process that, you're trying not to embarrass yourself or the team, you want to do well. So the more you play, the more confident you get, and I think you're going to see drastic improvement with a lot of these guys."

How much does he trust the two young corners?

"Well right now, they gotta go play. So I'm excited they got a lot of reps this past week,” Conn said. “That's big when you go from playing like nine snaps to 42, you're only going to see improvement after that. I think you make most improvement from that first big moment to that second game. I think it probably changes mentally how they prepare, knowing the game is on them. They are going to answer the challenge. I'm excited for them."

Another freshman that performed well was safety Sherrod Covil.

"Covil is getting better and better each week,” Conn said. “Takes a little bit longer for those safeties because there's a lot to learn, and he's learning both of them, but I'm expecting for his reps to continue to go up."

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