News and notes from Swinney media golf outing - Part II

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News and notes from Swinney media golf outing - Part II

SENECA – Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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’s 2012 media golf outing is in the books, and there is a ton of stuff to cover.

First off, we will start with Swinney, and he said that he sees the storyline of the 2012 season being another story of young players being thrust into contributing roles.

“I think more than the freshmen this year, the story is going to be the sophomores and redshirt freshmen,” Swinney said. “They will play big roles for us, especially in the trenches on both sides of the line. We have a lot of freshmen and sophomores that will have to step up. Last year, these guys were backing up guys and got experience, and this year they will play. To me, that is the big story.”

Swinney said he will be counting on his upperclassmen to lead the way.

“I am pretty confident in the 11 seniors and 13 juniors we have,” he said. “I feel very confident in those 24 guys. Obviously, we are going to need a lot more to step up and play big. That’s going to be the fun thing, I think, as we go throughout the season. Seeing that competition and seeing that development and that is our challenge as coaches is getting them ready.”

*Swinney said earlier in the day that wide receiver Sammy WatkinsSammy Watkins
So. Wide Receiver
#2 6-1, 200
Fort Myers, FL

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could play against Auburn in the season opener, but his comments in the afternoon session made it seem like Watkins could miss at least part of the game.

“He is going to sit,” he said. “It’s just a matter of when and how much. This is a young guy that has some rebuilding to do, because he damaged some trust. But he has done everything we have asked him to do.”

*Swinney said that defensive coordinator Brent Venables is an outdoors guy. That much is already evident as Venables has already bought a lake house and sports a long gash on his right arm that he calls a “lake accident.” Venables has also already been whitewater rafting twice, and had the head cold today to prove it.

However, Swinney didn’t hire the former Oklahoma defensive coordinator for his rafting ability, and Swinney said Venables has fit in nicely with the current staff.

“From a football standpoint, he is just everything I thought he would be,” Swinney said. “He is a ball of intensity, has that bull in a china shop mentality. Sometimes I have to say, ‘Whoa.’ He has that type of approach every single day and is a relentless recruiter. He is also very personable with our players.”

*Swinney said Monday night at his house that a certain former Clemson receiver – name withheld to protect the innocent – who has played in the NFL would be a backup on this year’s team. He reiterated Tuesday that the Tigers have a lot of talent at the wideout spots.

“We have got some talented guys out there,” Swinney said. “I think Stanton SeckingerStanton Seckinger
RS So. Wide Receiver
#81 6-5, 200
Isle of Palms, SC

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will develop into an outstanding player. He will play some slot. But I think we have six guys that can play for anybody in the country, and six guys that can be starters. That is exciting. We have two guys back that have been through the wars in Jaron [Brown] and Nuk [Hopkins]. And we have the young guys in Sammy [Watkins] and Charone [Peake] and Martavis [Bryant] and Adam [Humphries]. It’s a really talented group.”

*He also didn’t miss a chance to mention the linebackers.

“We have developed some good players, but we haven’t developed that dominant guy,” he said. “That guy that everybody in the stands leaves the park talking about. That is what I am looking for at linebacker, and I think we have some guys that have the ability to be just that.”

* Swinney said that linebacker Tony StewardTony Steward
So. Linebacker
#7 6-1, 245
Hastings, FL

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has looked sharp as he recovers from knee surgery.

"This isn't just a player. This is a great, great player," Swinney said of Steward. "He's one of the best in America, and we need as many of those guys as we can get. He's still Tony Steward. There's been no weaning off a knee brace. You look at him and you'd never know anything has been wrong with him."

*I spoke with offensive coordinator Chad Morris Tuesday, and he said he believes that the 2012 offensive line does have a chance to be better than the 2011 line, and he cited the physical nature of the current starters, including Tyler ShatleyTyler Shatley
RS Jr. Offensive Line
#43 6-3, 295
Icard, NC

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Morris said he feels like he has seven players he can count on, and hopes to add one or two more in the fall.

*Morris also said that he would hope he could redshirt incoming freshman quarterback Chad KellyChad Kelly
Fr. Quarterback
# 6-3, 205
Buffalo, NY

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, but also understands that Kelly could play his way into the second string spot. If that happens, Morris told me that Kelly will play in every game, and the coaches will figure out a package for him

*Defensive backs coach Charlie Harbison said that he hopes safety Rashard HallRashard Hall
Gr. Safety
#31 6-1, 210
St. Augustine, FL

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can play without a brace this season.
Hall injured his knee against Wofford in week two – an injury that required off-season surgery – and Harbison said that the brace hurt Hall’s mobility.

"Any time you have a defensive back playing with a brace, he’s going to be limited," Harbison said. "The thing is he was in the box and not on the corner, so it wasn’t that bad. When you bring him in the box, your turns are different, but when you’re on the corner, you can’t be playing with a brace."

Harbison did say that he has heard good reports on Hall’s recovery from the surgery.

"Speaking with him, he’s says he’s feeling good," Harbison said. "I’ll know more about how well he’s moving when I see him. He’s a leader. So I feel good about when he tells me something."

*We have plenty more to cover, including the interview with Venables. Stay tuned to TigeNet for more stories and videos.

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