Sunday night news and notes


by - Senior Writer -
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CLEMSON – Sunday afternoon’s teleconference with Clemson head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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covered a broad range of topics, from the health of Sammy WatkinsSammy Watkins
So. Wide Receiver
#2 6-1, 205
Fort Myers, FL

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and Dalton FreemanDalton Freeman
Gr. Center
#55 6-5, 265
Pelion, SC

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to possible lineup changes this week.

Watkins missed the Boston College game after falling sick mid-week last week, and Swinney said Sunday that Watkins’ blood work looks improved, but he will have a better idea on Monday.

“Danny Poole [trainer] was taking him this afternoon to get some more blood work,” Swinney said. “The initial blood work looked good, but they wanted to do more today. Sounds like he's definitely improved greatly since Thursday night. Hopefully I'll find out more tonight but I won't have an update until tomorrow."

Swinney said that Freeman injured his thumb during Saturday’s win at Boston College.

"It's more his thumb. It'll be a little sore tomorrow, but by Wednesday he should be ready to go,” Swinney said. “He was able to finish the game. He played with it sore a good bit of the game."

He said that he feels like the defense grew up during the second half of the victory.

"Good trip back and a big win for our team. Really proud of our guys bouncing back,” he said. “We had some adversity throughout the game. I really thought last night that we grew up on defense in the second half. We still gave up too many chunk plays and made some critical mistakes, doing a poor job with our eyes, but overall we improved, we found a way to win and it was a great job by the whole team in getting it done.

“The players of the game were Nuk Hopkins and DeShawn WilliamsDeShawn Williams
So. Defensive Tackle
#99 6-1, 285
Central, SC

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. Andre EllingtonAndre Ellington
RS Sr. Running Back
#23 5-10, 195
Moncks Corner, SC

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was our special teams player of the game. We played a lot of guys, which I felt was important. We want to get guys as much experience as we can. Injury-wise, we're in pretty good shape. D.J. HowardD.J. Howard
RS So. Running Back
#22 5-11, 195
Lincoln, AL

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is probably the most questionable with his shoulder. We're in good shape with injuries."

Corner Garry PetersGarry Peters
RS So. Defensive Back
#26 6-0, 195
Conyers, GA

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started the second half and had a key interception late in the game, and Swinney said Peters will start at corner this week.

"Oh yeah. We're going to start Garry this week. We've just been too inconsistent on the back end. He went in and did some good things. We'll give him the opportunity to be the starter. He's got to practice well."

He also said the coaching staff might try redshirt freshman kicker Ammon LakipAmmon Lakip
RS So. Punter / Kicker
#36 5-10, 175
Alpharetta, GA

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on kickoffs this week.

"For whatever reason last night and last week, we've been very inconsistent with hitting the ball like we're capable of hitting the ball,” he said. “We'll see how they compete this week."

On Nuk Hopkins

“I thought yesterday was his most complete game. That's probably the biggest thing. He's just a more complete player. He's a more technical route runner. He wasn't very polished when he came here. He was just a great athlete, but he's really developed technically. He's a much more physical player. He's picked up probably 20-plus pounds since he's come here. That's helped him a lot. Just being a complete player and doing the little things, it's definitely shown."

On Nuk wanting to be baptized at practice

“I was kind of surprised. “He said he wanted to get baptized after practice in front of his teammates. Never had that request before. That's his personal decision. I didn't have a problem with it. Thought it was pretty neat. He stood up in front of his team and told them what he wanted to do. I'm proud of Nuk. He has grown in every area of his life and he's grown spiritually as well."

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