Swinney not pleased with first bowl practice

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – How sloppy was Saturday’s first bowl practice?

The players could be seen running what seemed like unlimited gassers in a light rain once practice was over, and Clemson head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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said it got to the point that he was threatening to put his foot in a place most players wouldn’t like.

The Tigers returned to practice Saturday following a two-week layoff as they prepare to face LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl later this month, and Swinney said he had a unique way of getting the players to focus on the task at hand.

“Well, I wear a size 9 ½ or 10, and the first thing you do is you stick it right in their rear,” Swinney said. “Everybody needs a little motivation from time to time, and some gassers and some up-downs and things like that can help. Young people, they don’t always automatically focus. It’s called coaching – that is part of our job. We are going to get it out of them. We had a nice little session after practice today. It wasn’t like we went out there and were just awful, but it wasn’t anywhere near the level I expect.”

Swinney said the team looked rusty.

“The biggest thing I saw was a team that hadn’t practiced in two weeks, and I was disappointed to be honest with you,” he said. “It will take a lot better focus and energy than what we had today. They have a lot going on, but we lost the focus of a few guys. In a team setting, it doesn’t take but a few to be a distraction and bring guys down.”

He said the next week will be crucial for the team’s bowl preparation.

“This is a huge week for us, for the coaches and the players,” he said. “We have a lot to balance – the players have finals. We have to balance our practice schedules and meeting times around those finals and we still have a lot of recruiting going on. But it is important that between now and next Saturday that we get a lot done towards LSU, so that when we come in next Saturday there are no distractions and we can get the plan done before we leave here. When we leave here on the 21st, we need to have the plan. When you get to the bowl site, there is a lot going on and you want to have the plan polished.”

*The team practiced in shells and had some contact, and ran what Swinney called “good on good.”

*He said that freshman Travis BlanksTravis Blanks
Fr. Defensive Back
#11 6-1, 190
Tallahassee, FL

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– who was named a second-team Freshman All-American earlier in the day, will find a permanent home at safety. Blanks then told TigerNet that because LSU plays a lot of “21” personnel, he expects to play more safety than the hybrid Nickel-SAM in the bowl game.

“We will bump him back to safety,” Swinney said. “We have managed him well this year. Safety has a certain degree of complication, and he will be a great fit for that. He has great ball skills and is a highly competitive football player.”

*Swinney said he is a “fact man” when it comes to players deciding on whether to leave early for the NFL.

“You use examples and your past experiences,” he said. “You give them all the facts and they decide.”

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

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was in a green jersey during practice with a banged up shoulder but should be fine for the bowl game.

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