Saturday football practice report

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – Week one of bowl practice for the Discover Orange Bowl is in the books, and Clemson head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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said that Saturday’s practice was a proper way to end the week, especially now that exams are over and the players can concentrate on football.

“We had good energy,” Swinney said. “I thought we made each other better today. A lot of good tempo out there, guys having some fun. It’s great when you’ve got beautiful weather like this to go to work in. I think we’ve got a good plan in place, as far as how we’re practicing and all that kind of stuff. Finals are over now and we’ve got 100 percent focus on football. We’re not competing for their minds. That’s a good thing. We’ll continue to do some work with a lot of our young guys post practice. That’s been really good. It’s been fun to see all those guys getting some valuable work. Hopefully, they’ll gain some confidence from this as they go into the offseason and get ready for spring practice. It was a good day for us.”

Freshman receiver Sammy WatkinsSammy Watkins
Fr. Wide Receiver
#2 6-1, 200
Fort Myers, FL

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received the Banks McFadden Trophy from the Greenville Touchdown Club as the state of South Carolina’s Offensive Player of the Year at the practice, and then mentioned after practiced that he would like to throw his hat in the ring for the Heisman Trophy next season.

Swinney said the Heisman was an attainable goal for the Florida native – as long as he takes care of team business first.

“I think he’s got control of that campaign,” Swinney said. “It’s how he goes and plays. Hopefully, he’ll have the same type of impact next year. If he does, he’ll be up for whatever awards they give, if he continues to play like he’s played, stays focused.”

Swinney was then asked what a BCS win in the Orange Bowl would mean to the Clemson program.

“It’s huge. It’s like our first-year, when we got to the [ACC] Championship game.” he said. “That was a big accomplishment for us. Had we won it, it would have given you even more momentum, just like we experienced a couple of weeks ago. It’s great to get there. That’s obviously a goal. We’ve never been to a BCS game since they started that deal. That’s a great accomplishment. They should want to win. Whether it’s the BCS or whatever
the lowest bowl is, you want to win. Winning breeds confidence and
enthusiasm. It’s your last game, so you’re not going to get to go play
again next week. You’ve got to live with whatever happens. It’s been a
good season. We’ve had a good year. We’ve accomplished a lot of things. We
need to try to finish this thing the right way. Momentum is a great thing.
Hopefully, we can play well and find a way to win.”

Other notes

Junior running back Andre EllingtonAndre Ellington
RS Jr. Running Back
#23 5-10, 190
Moncks Corner, SC

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said after practice that he has submitted his paperwork to the NFL to see what his NFL draft status would be, but Swinney said Ellington needs another year.

”In my opinion, he needs to be back here,” Swinney said. “I think he will
be. He really need another year, to finish school and get that behind him.
He needs a full offseason. He missed the whole offseason and really didn’t
get back until summertime. He missed half the year last year. He really
needs the benefit of a year’s worth of training and come back and have a
great year.

“He rushed for 1,000 yards this year and he was a part-timer. I
really think he could be a 1,500, 1,600 type of guy in this offense. He
needs to put some games together and stay healthy. Hopefully, he’ll be
back. That’s a decision he’s going to have to make. Sometimes guys have
to make on their own. He doesn’t need to be worrying about that. His focus
needs to be on beating West Virginia. There’s plenty of time to figure
that out later.”

No grades back as of yet

”No. I won’t know any of that until Wednesday, the 21st,” he said. “We get
all that stuff finalized, have to have all that turned in and documented
before we leave on the 22nd and give them that last per diem pay-out. We
expect everybody to be in pretty good shape, but you never know until you
get the final word.”

Swinney also said that the school hasn’t applied for the medical redshirt waiver for linebacker Tony StewardTony Steward
Fr. Linebacker
#7 6-1, 245
Hastings, FL

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as of yet, and will wait until after the bowl game.

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