Football season is closer than you think

by - Senior Writer -
The media and the coaches get together on July 22nd

The countdown to kickoff has begun, and fans are already complaining about the length of the off-season and how much time exists between now and the start of the college football season.

However, it’s not as far off as you think it is, and here are some key dates and things to remember as we enter the last part of June and peer anxiously into July. Most fans think of July as the final month of inactivity and void, the last month we are made to endure before football actually begins.

But they are wrong.

The first key date is July 16th – which now sits at just 23 days away. That is the date of the Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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media golf outing at The Reserve, and for the media, it marks the official dawn of the college football season.

You might ask – what does a bunch of media hacks creating divots at a gorgeous golf course have to do with the fans? That marks the first – and only – time that we get access with assistant coaches like Jeff ScottJeff Scott
Assistant Coach / WRs / Recruiting Coordinator
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, Marion HobbyMarion Hobby
Assistant Coach / Defensive Ends
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, Robbie CaldwellRobbie Caldwell
Assistant Coach / Offensive Line
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, Mike ReedMike Reed
Defensive Backs Coach
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, Dan BrooksDan Brooks
Assistant Coach / Defensive Line
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, Danny PearmanDanny Pearman
Assistant Head Coach / Tight Ends
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and Tony ElliottTony Elliott
Assistant Coach / Running Backs
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Dabo allows us to interview the two coordinators – Chad MorrisChad Morris
Offensive Coordinator / QBs
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and Brent VenablesBrent Venables
Defensive Coordinator / Linebackers
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- a few times a week during August practice and then we get them twice a week during the season. We get Morris on Monday afternoons in the WestZone and on game day, and we get Venables on Tuesday afternoons and on game day.

Dabo’s golf outing is the lone chance to sit down with the position coaches and talk about recruiting, get their feel for how positional battles will shake out and take a peek into the season. There will be a ton of videos and stories that will flow from Dabo’s golf outing over the next week, and they will begin to whet the appetite of the Clemson faithful.

Later that week – starting on Sunday, July 21st, is the ACC Football Kickoff at The Grandover Resort in Greensboro, N.C. At the kickoff event, we get to speak with each of the conference’s coaches, two player representatives from each school, ACC officials and commissioner John Swofford.

Last season, Clemson was represented on offense by center Dalton FreemanDalton Freeman
#55 6-5, 265
Pelion, SC

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and on defense by defensive end Malliciah GoodmanMalliciah Goodman
Defensive End
#97 6-4, 270
Florence, SC

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. This year, the Tigers will more than likely be represented by quarterback Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS Sr. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
Hampton, VA

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[it is long overdue to get Tajh at the kickoff] on offense. Defense is a big question mark because there are no “big name” seniors, but early guesses might be junior defensive tackle Josh WatsonJosh Watson
RS Jr. Defensive Tackle
#91 6-4, 285
Wilmington, DE

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and senior linebacker Spencer ShueySpencer Shuey
RS Sr. Linebacker
#33 6-3, 230
Charlotte, NC

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. Both are great interviews, and don’t shrink when the bright lights and cameras are turned on.

The ACC Kickoff runs Sunday and Monday – we get the Swofford and the student-athletes on Sunday, and the coaches on Monday. It will be interesting to see if Clemson is voted as the favorite in the ACC this season – every year there are a few teams that earn some pre-season love, but once July rolls around the ACC media can’t help falling in love with Florida St. all over again, despite being jilted time and time again.

Once the ACC Kickoff ends and the dust settles from a furious ten or so days – we also have an informal get-together at Dabo’s house during that previous span – we have a week off (and NFL training camps get thrown into full gear) before practice begins on August 3rd.

Yes, kickoff is still a long 69 days away. But the unofficial start of the season for Clemson fans and media alike is July 16th, which sits just 23 days away. It is only 28 days until the ACC Kickoff, and a mere 41 days until the Tigers hold their first practice of the 2013 season.

Football season seems so far away, but it’s closer than you think.

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