One Week to Go: The craziness starts next Tuesday


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A week from today we will have plenty to talk about
A week from today we will have plenty to talk about

One more week to wait. That’s it. Seven days. Seven more days and college football will be back with a vengeance.

The long off-season is almost at an end.

While the actual kickoff to the 2016 college football season is still six weeks away, the Clemson media will descend on Sunset, South Carolina, next Tuesday for head coach Dabo Swinney’s annual media golf outing at The Reserve.

It will be the first chance we’ve had to talk to Swinney in-depth since the end of spring practice, even though we’ve had a few brief chances at different IPTAY events. However, what makes Swinney’s golf outing special for those of us that cover the program is not just the chance to talk to Swinney, it’s the one and only chance we get all year to speak to the assistant coaches who aren’t coordinators.

It’s always interesting (and fun) to sit down with Marion Hobby, Robbie Caldwell, Danny Pearman, Dan Brooks, Mike Reed and Brandon Streeter and have in-depth conversations about the players in their position groups. Sure, we can get an idea about a player from talking to a coordinator, but Brooks knows his players better than defensive coordinator Brent Venables and he usually provides valuable insight into what makes a certain player tick.

This year’s event also has a different feel to it because there was almost no drama – at least from a player standpoint – during the down time. Other programs had to deal with trials and arrests and suspensions, and Clemson had a quiet and peaceful offseason. Last season, we were dealing with the loss of left tackle Isaiah Battle and the status of kicker Ammon Lakip.

The only personnel question coming out of the spring centered on wide receiver Deon Cain, but Swinney made it clear that Cain has done everything asked of him and will be a part of the team once fall camp begins.

This off-season has been quiet, and that’s a good thing for a team that wants to make another run at the national title.

Right now, we can ask (again) about special teams and the secondary and how can Venables get this defense ready to play, but we covered most of that during the spring. At this point, we need to get to fall camp and have people start competing before we can really get into the good stuff.

We will take a day off on Wednesday, and then the craziness really gets cranked up on Thursday with the start of the ACC Football Kickoff at The Westin in downtown Charlotte. The ACC Kickoff has typically been a laid-back affair that covers three days at some posh resort like The Grandover in Greensboro or the Pinehurst Resort.

In the past, we’ve had the players on one day and the coaches on a second day, but the ACC is moving to a format that mimics the SEC Media Days. This year, the event will be held at the hotel in downtown Charlotte, and we’ll get the Coastal Division coaches and players on Thursday and the Atlantic Division coaches and players on Friday.

Swinney, quarterback Deshaun Watson and linebacker Ben Boulware will represent Clemson on Friday. I am not sure that Swinney will have anything different to say on that Friday than he did on Tuesday, but hey, three days will have passed and anything can happen. Watson is very vanilla in his interviews, but we always love talking to Boulware and you can bet he’ll have plenty to say. Most of it will be good, some of it will be entertaining and every bit of it will be honest, to the point and straightforward.

I know, it’s been a long offseason, but give it a week and everything will change.


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