Dry Dugout: Monte Lee, Tigers begin life without Beer
|Thursday, September 20, 2018, 2:26 PM- -|
CLEMSON – The 2019 season will mark the first time in head coach Monte Lee’s Clemson tenure that the dugout and locker room will be dry, as in no Beer to be seen. However, Lee still thinks he has the right pieces in place to overcome the loss of standouts such as Seth Beer and Chris Williams.
The 2019 Tigers begin fall practice this weekend, and Lee has 22 returning lettermen. Clemson is coming off the 2018 season when it won the ACC Atlantic Division title and had its most wins (47) since 2006.
“Any time you lose a player of a Seth Beer or Chris Williams’ caliber, you know you have a lot of offense that you have to try to replace, but that happens every year,” Lee said Thursday in the dugout at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. “Every year that I've been coaching, you look and see, 'We lost this guy or this guy. We lost four guys out of our lineup. We lost our whole weekend rotation.' Every year brings different challenges when you're dealing with the draft or graduation.
“For us, we don't focus on what we lost. It's not something I've ever focused on because I think every year is a different year and a different team. It's really more about embracing the guys we have here and trying to figure out who's going to play where, who's going to assume the roles we have available, where's the competition going to be and we go from there.”
Lee said the fall will be about letting the entire roster compete for playing time.
“The fall is all about player development and guys trying to compete to win jobs. We focus there,” he said. “What's already happened has happened so we don't focus too much on that. We'd love to have a player like a Seth Beer and a Chris Williams in our lineup and hopefully, some of the guys that we brought in will be able to compete for jobs. It's hard to expect anybody to replace those two bats. Those guys had hundreds upon hundreds of significant at-bats and played significant games for us and were high-level performers, so we're not trying to replace those guys.
“We're trying to figure out with the group of players we have this year, who are going to be our guys and how are we going to develop them and put them in a position to be successful. We're certainly going to miss them but we've got to move forward with what we've got and I'm excited about the opportunity that's starting Saturday in team practice.”
The fall practice season continues through October and concludes on the first weekend of November with three Orange & Purple Scrimmages at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
A new NCAA rule allows for two scrimmages against outside competition in the fall. The Tigers travel to SRP Park in North Augusta, S.C., on Oct. 13 to play Georgia Southern at 1 p.m. Then on Oct. 27, Clemson hosts Coastal Carolina at Doug Kingsmore Stadium at 1 p.m.
“We're really excited about the opportunity to play a couple of scrimmages this fall. We're going to play October 14 against Georgia Southern in Augusta at the Pro Park, so we're excited about that opportunity,” Lee said. “We're going to play Oct. 27th against Coastal Carolina here. It's going to be fun for the guys to be able to play against somebody else. I think sometimes for the players, the monotony of intrasquad and the only people we get to play is each other throughout the whole 45-day window of fall practice, it can get a little boring to them.
“It's not boring to me. I like to watch our guys play and compete no matter who it is. I think the excitement of being able to play somebody else is going to be good. We're going to get to see some guys really compete in that environment before we get to the spring, so I think it will tell us a little bit more about some of our guys.”
All practices and scrimmages at Doug Kingsmore Stadium are free and open to the public.