Decision day looms for the freshmen

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – Saturday and Sunday will be big days for Clemson’s freshmen football players.

Clemson head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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told the media following Friday’s practice that jobs will be won and lost and red-shirts avoided over the next few days as the Tigers get closer to wrapping up fall camp.

“We have some freshmen we really have to evaluate. Sunday is going to be a big day for a lot of those guys as far as initially, here is what we are thinking right now,” Swinney said. “Obviously things can change early in the season with injuries and things like that, but that’s a big day for some of those freshmen who are on the bubble. We have some battles in the offensive line. Same thing at defensive tackle. I think we have five guys that are capable of starting at defensive tackle, and obviously you can’t start five guys. Same thing at defensive end. We have really grown our depth.”

The competition at running back is ongoing, and Swinney said it’s doubtful the coaching staff will settle on just one player.

“Running back is another position that I think is very competitive from a depth standpoint,” he said. “We are not going to have just one guy that is going to run out there and play the whole game. That is not very realistic with what we do. But who is going to be that next guy and that next guy. That is up for grabs.”

Swinney said that freshman running back Tyhson Dye has been out with a lower back injury, and Wayne GallmanWayne Gallman
Fr. Running Back
#9 6-1, 195
Loganville, GA

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has taken that opening to impress the coaches with his play. Swinney followed that up by saying he thinks that one of the two freshmen will play this season.

“I do. Absolutely. Unfortunately, Tyshon has been out for several days now with a lower back. He jumped out early but faded with his injury. He just hasn’t been able to work and he needs the reps. Wayne Gallman has been steady. Tyshon and Wayne are going to be great backs. Tyshon came in here at 220 pounds, and Wayne came in at 200 right off the street, and he will be a 220-pound back this time next year. He is a very violent runner. He never makes a mistake, and for a freshman to come in here and pick it up the way he has is impressive. That is one of those decisions we have to make. Unless something changes, I don’t see us playing both of them. We just have to see how it shakes it out. “

Other practice notes

*Swinney said he could tell his players had “hit the wall” before Thursday’s practice, and that was the reason for letting them have most of Thursday’s practice free. The Tigers worked on flex and special teams before turning them loose.

“You would have thought they had won the lottery,” he said. “But it was also good for our coaches and our trainers and video people that work hard. Everybody had a chance to go home and get some rest.”

On the cool temps

“This is usually the afternoon we take them on a team outing and go to the lake. But I don’t know what’s going on around here. Its 60-something degrees and it’s August. The Apocalypse is upon us or something. It’s August 16th and 60 degrees in Clemson, South Carolina. That is crazy. So we will take them to a movie today.”

*The Tigers worked on punting, safety situations and special teams during Friday’s practice.

*Swinney said that if it rains Saturday – heavy rain is in the forecast – the Tigers will scrimmage inside of the indoor practice facility.

*Swinney said that defensive back Martin JenkinsMartin Jenkins
RS Jr. Cornerback
#14 5-10, 180
Roswell, GA

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was back at full strength.

“Good to have Martin Jenkins back. I thought he had his best day today. It looks like the medication is working for him. He looked great today. I thought he did a good job of matching up with Sammy. It was good to see him out there and hopefully we can continue to keep him healthy.”

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