Tuesday update: "It was a little miserable" in Jervey Meadows


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Swinney has the team practicing in Jervey Meadows this week
Swinney has the team practicing in Jervey Meadows this week

CLEMSON – Head coach Dabo Swinney moves his team off of the manicured practice fields behind the new football operations center and the indoor practice facility for a week during fall camp every year and makes the team practice in Jervey Meadows. The reason? The fields aren’t perfect, and the bony remnants of last year’s tailgating meals litter the grass.

Swinney wants to add a little toughness to his team’s routine, but he didn’t see the toughness he needed to see after Tuesday’s practice, even though the hot and trying conditions were just what he wanted.

“It was wonderful. It was hot and just the way we wanted it. It was a little miserable. It was great from that standpoint,” Swinney said. “I thought this was one of those days that the offense gave in. The defense really pushed them around a little bit. I didn’t see the mental toughness that I need to see offensively. I didn’t see enough of it. There were spurts of it here and there, but nowhere near the consistent mental toughness. I thought we gave in to it a little bit today. It was a good finish. We did some competitive two-minute situations and a couple of different situations, I did think we finished better. It took a while for the offense to get their mind where it needed to be. On the flip side of it, I thought the defense competed and pushed through all day.

“I don’t expect a day like this. I expect guys to come out and compete to the standard we talk about. Sometimes, you have a day that’s not going so well, I expect somebody to pick it up and I didn’t see either one today.”

Swinney said that while he was disappointed in the effort, teams can learn from being challenged.

“You need days like this where you create some adversity. I thought there was some adversity today. That’s something we’re always evaluating, in how those guys respond to that because it wasn’t a perfect day,” he said. “There were a ton of dropped balls. It’s the worst day we’ve had. Our receivers and our tight ends, they took the day off and it just kind of went downhill from there. Nobody really picked up the slack, so that was disappointing. I didn’t see any of the quarterbacks not compete or go through the motions. I think they competed hard. It just wasn’t a good day. The good news is we’ve got another day tomorrow.”

The team will have the chance to redeem itself early Wednesday.

“I saw a few guys that took it to heart and we’ll see how they respond tomorrow. We’ve got a quick turnaround in the morning and we’re going to run a lot of plays tomorrow,” Swinney said. “It’s going to be a big situational scrimmage. We’re going to make sure we get enough work. We’re going to hit all of the situational work that we need and it’s going to be a lot of plays. We’re going to stress them pretty good in the morning. It’s a quick turnaround, so I’m anxious to see how they show back up and compete tomorrow.”

Kelly Bryant, throwing a pass in Jervey Meadows, is still the starter

On practicing at Jervey Meadows

“It’s two-fold. It’s so perfect over there - immaculate fields and everything is amazing - and I want them to remember where we came from. You come over here and it’s just not real perfect. It’s kind of lumpy and we do the best we can. We found a big rib and a chicken wing, so it’s just a little bit more of a grind. There’s no shade. It’s a little bit harder. We’ve been going two weeks so this is the point of camp where we’ve got to develop some mental toughness because that’s what this comes to. It’s not physical, this is mental. I want to see who is going to embrace - the gnats out here and all of that - and who’s going to give into it. The second part is it gives me a chance to get those fields immaculate and let them recover for a couple of weeks. We won’t go back over there until game week.”

Ray-Ray McCloud

“Ray-Ray worked more on offense. He’s always working more on offense. We just try to mix him in and make sure he gets a few reps. He’ll get some of the third team reps and we mix him in on some the skele stuff. He got some good reps in the scrimmage the other day. He got maybe 10 reps and he did a good job.”

On not practicing Monday and having a karaoke session

“I thought we got better yesterday. Once they all got in their pads, we called an audible and told them to go change and we opened up Club All In. It was the second year in a row we've done that, and it was a blast. We had a ball. It was good to see them have a little fun. That was part of it, but the other part of it was I felt like they really needed another day. This is a long camp. A week longer than last year. And we're really just trying to be smart. I knew this was going to be a tough week and get them back where they needed to be. Yesterday was a lot of fun. We sang some karaoke and everybody had a chance to have a little fun. It was a great, great time. I am the emcee at Club All In and that was a lot of fun.”

The upcoming schedule

“Today was a tough day. Tomorrow will be a tough day and tomorrow night we'll have meetings and another walk-through and a really tough practice out here Thursday morning. We will take them out to the lake Thursday afternoon for about three hours or so and blow off a little steam. Then come back and have meetings Thursday night, and then Friday will be another day to recover a little bit. They will go to dinner with their position groups Friday night and have a different deal and then Saturday another scrimmage. Saturday will be the wrap up of Clemson camp. and then we'll start Monday on our season and start some season prep and specific opponent prep, Kent St. prep, and then they will start school next Wednesday. And then next Thursday will be all game prep and we will have the Beanie Bowl and then we will move back over here and it will be game week.”

If two quarterbacks have separated themselves from the pack

“I don't see it as two quarterbacks right now. Kelly (Bryant) is still the starter. He has been the most consistent and he's graded the best. If we played today somebody has to go out there. Doesn't matter if he's by far or a little bit. Camp isn't over and every day and practice counts. Even if he's the starter on the season he has to do it on the game field. I think we have three guys right now we can win with. But if we played today there is no question Kelly would start for us. And we would play somebody else because we don't have anybody else with any experience.”

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