Wednesday practice report: Brandon Ford moving to tight end

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Brandon Ford celebrates a blocked punt against PC.

CLEMSON – The Clemson football team was back on the practice fields behind Jervey Wednesday afternoon, and head coach Dabo Swinney said he had a “mad” football team on his hands.

“They were really into it,” Swinney said to the media after practice. “I saw that on Monday night, too. They were anxious to get back. The team, I would kind of characterize them as mad. They’re kind of mad at what happened Saturday. They are mad at themselves. They want to do something about it to get it right. It was a good practice. I like the leadership of this team. I like what I see from that standpoint. Today and tomorrow is like a typical Tuesday practice for us. We had good meetings yesterday. A good team outing, which was fun. Another good day tomorrow and we’ve got a good start. We’re in our plan already for Miami. One more day and they’ll be off this weekend. “

Left guard David Smith suffered an ankle injury during the latter stages of the game at Auburn, and he is listed as doubtful for next week’s game against Miami. Swinney said former starter Mason Cloy will likely move into the starting spot while Brandon Thomas will see an increased role.

“Mason moved to left guard. We put Brandon Thomas in there,” Swinney said. “Brandon’s going to be fine. He’s a football player. He got some guard work. We trained him up at guard some in camp. It’s not like he hasn’t been in there. He’s a really good tackle, too. He’s kinda like David Smith in that regard.
He’s a luxury kind of a guy because he can play either spot. We’ve got a little bit of flexibility. He’s played a little bit now to where he’s got some confidence to go with his youth a little bit. But he’s a big, strong guy that’s athletic, can run and is physical. I think he’ll do a good job for us. I talked to him today. He’s got to step it up.”

Another development that came out of Wednesday’s practice was the announcement that wide receiver Brandon Ford, who is currently listed at 210 pounds, would be moving to tight end. Starter Dwayne Allen played 90 snaps against Auburn.

“We’re taking Brandon Ford and moving him to tight end,” Swinney said. “We actually started toying with it a week or so ago. We made it a full-time move for this season right now. We’re going to see if we can get him up to about 235 [pounds]. He really has great ball skills. He’s a little bit of a better matchup inside against some of those bigger linebackers. We had been toying with it a little bit for a couple of weeks, and we just haven’t moved him. We’re going to see if we can grow him up a little bit. He wants to do it. Darrell Smith did a really good job the other night when he got in there. I think he’s capable of being a solid guy. Dwayne - I’m proud of him because he stepped up. He played offensive snaps, he’s playing punt team. He’s getting after it.”

Starting quarterback Kyle Parker, still recovering from the bumps and bruises he garnered last Saturday, was at practice but didn’t actively participate.

“Tajh [Boyd] took all the ones,” Swinney said. “Mike Wade took the twos. KP was there for all of it. He looked better. KP was moving around much better, actually. I think that will continue over the next several days. Hopefully he’ll come back Monday ready to go.”

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