Tigers Now Embroiled In Girdle Gate, Have Two Practices Cancelled by ACC

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – The Clemson Tigers are now embroiled in Girdle Gate.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney met with the media following Monday morning’s steamy practice, and announced that Clemson has been forced to trim its 29 preseason practices by two after the ACC ruled that Tiger players were wearing “improper attire” to practice.

”We’ve got what I’m calling Girdle Gate going on around here,” Swinney said after the practice. “The pants that were under our shorts, something we’ve always worn around here, for whatever reason has become an issue this year. On the first two days of practice the ACC ruled that this was ruled improper attire, to have that girdle on with the little built-in padding. Obviously, we didn’t know that. If you’re robbing a bank, you wouldn’t invite the media to come cover it.”

As a result of the ACC ruling, the Tigers will not hold their first of two-a-days on Monday, and instead will hold their first double practice on Wednesday. Tuesday is a scheduled scrimmage.

Obviously, there was no intent to break the rule,” Swinney said. “But someone turned us in and the ACC said it was improper attire. I think you can get on the internet or on the TV and find a lot of high-profile universities that had on the same exact attire that we had on the first two days of practice. But I’m not going to argue the ruling.”

The media were allowed to watch the first 30 minutes (it was actually longer than that) of practice this morning and here are a few observations:

Freshman offensive lineman J.K. Jay was not at practice and indications are that he will have surgery on the two herniated disks in his back. Swinney said last week that if Jay didn’t respond to the treatment and elected to have the surgery, that it could keep him out up to six weeks, meaning the coaching staff would be reluctant to waste a season’s eligibility on him for just half a season.

Wide receiver Jacoby Ford field some punts early in the practice, before being admonished by trainer Danny Poole to don the yellow jersey. Ford still has not been cleared to practice yet, but said he hopes to be ready to go full speed by this weekend. “I just kind of went through a few drills, to push it and see where we are at,” Ford said. “It is getting better every day and I just have to take my time and be patient with it. We are just going day-by-day to see how it is feeling.”

On the quarterback front, Kyle Parker continues to have a strong camp. He still looks like he throws a little too hard on the short and intermediate throws, but he looks the part of the college quarterback. Willy Korn continues to get better as he climbs back from shoulder surgery in December, but it was hard to see his arm strength based on the few plays the media were allowed to watch. Parker said that with the heat and two-a-days, it’s important to keep a mental edge. “You just have to press through and get mentally tough,” Parker said. “That is where this team will get its toughness from, being out there in the heat with the pads on. The toughest part is being out there, getting hot, and you don’t want to think, but there are a lot of different play packages in our head, and it gets real tough when it’s this hot this early.”

Parker also said that he has no idea which quarterback is ahead at this point of camp, saying, “Right now, we both make our good plays and our bad plays. We are out there trying to run the offense to the best of our ability. Until someone comes out and says something, you can’t really assume anything. Willy is a good guy, and we get along really well. We try to not take the competition that is on the field off the field.”

There were several punting drills early in the practice, and Richard Jackson got off some booming punts, even though there appeared to be some protection problems at times. Coach Danny Pearman spent a good portion of that exhorting the protection to get better.

Wide receiver Brandon Clear was held out of practice today because of what Swinney called bruised ribs. A couple of coaches mentioned that cornerback Byron Maxwell hit Clear last week, along with Carlton Lewis, in a collision that Clear on the ground for several minutes. However, Clear made the catch, held onto the ball and continued to hold onto it while the trainers checked him out.

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