Worst Week of August: Tigers wrapping up last week before opener


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Artavis will get plenty of chances on special teams
Artavis will get plenty of chances on special teams

CLEMSON – Welcome to the worst week of August.

Fall camp is over and teams are dialing in on the first opponent, but the majority of games are still a week away. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney is not a fan of this part of the season.

“It's been like four weeks now. I hate this time of year where it's like, can we just put the throttle down and get the plane of the ground here,” Swinney said after Thursday’s practice. “Once you get to that first game, it's every week you just go fast and it's very structured. It's not normal to have this much time to get ready for a game, so you have to be smart and you have to balance that. There's the anticipation but once you get into the season it just seems like it flies by because you have so much to do to get ready each and every week for that next opponent. Our guys are well-conditioned and they've been in it (the heat) all summer and they'll be ready to play.”

Clemson will play the annual Beanie Bowl on Friday, a rehearsal for both home and away games.

“Tomorrow is a big day. It's our situational dress rehearsal, if you will, to really challenge ourselves as coaches and to really challenge our guys to make sure that they're ready to respond,” Swinney said. “We've got a lot of new guys who don't even know how to go through our pre-game routine, so we'll do everything tomorrow from how we transition from the locker room to pregame routine - who is the first group out, second group and third group - how we do flex and individual after flex, all the way til we leave the field. We'll have a lot of things scripted throughout the ‘game.’ Everybody on the same sideline and sideline organization. Really just try to create that gameday feel and then we'll do post game and how we do things at Clemson - gather at the paw. Dotting I's and crossing T's tomorrow and then Saturday will be another day for us. Sunday they'll be off and Monday is game week.”

Other notes

Injuries

Austin Bryant is the main one that's out right now, so hopefully, he'll heal quickly. That's just one of those things that you assess him each week and we'll look up a couple of weeks from now and hopefully he'll be ready to come back here in a few weeks, but whenever he's ready, he's ready.”

Marcus Edmond

“I don't know if he's going to make an impact. He's not going to start the game. He's missed way too much time. It's good to see him back out there, but he's got to get in shape. He's got to get in football shape and get his sea legs back under him because it's been a while. He got hurt day one, so he missed a ton of work, so he's certainly not in a position to go start the game for us. He can play if we need him to. I'm more focused on getting him back dialed in and ready to go for the long term of the season.

“He's a really good player. He had a great spring and a great summer. He came in as the starter and it's unfortunate that he missed all of that time, but it's been a bonus for Ryan Carter and Mark Fields and Trayvon Mullen. Those guys have gotten a ton of work and that's a blessing in disguise if you will - the amount of work and reps that those guys have gotten because you weren't having to split them. He's (Edmond) doing good. I watched him today do a good job in the man-to-man drills and just really getting that confidence where he can cut it loose. We're still nine or 10 days out and we play about one o'clock in the morning, I think, so he's got plenty of time to get ready.”

Kickoff return

“We have settled on who's going to get the first crack at it and we'll talk more about it next week on who we want to get the first one. We're all very confident in Artavis Scott. There's a guy who had a 50-yarder against Alabama. He's a good football player. Him and Ray-Ray McCloud, Cornell Powell, Tavien Feaster. Those will be the main guys that you see us working in there. We'll hopefully really emerge in a big way in that area.”

Punt return

“Ray-Ray (McCloud) has had an awesome camp. He's a natural. Artavis was very consistent for us last year. We trust him a lot. This is a very veteran guy. The number one job is to possess the ball. Number two job is to keep the ball. Number three job is to make a play. In that order. I say that and Jacoby Ford is standing right over there. I remember I about choked him. He backed up, then he dropped the punt on the one-yard line and then he went 99 yards for a touchdown, so he overcame his coaching. That's living on the edge. I'm really pleased with Ray-Ray and Artavis and how they've worked in handling the punts. I think Cornell eventually can be a guy that can help in that regard. Hunter Renfrow, same thing. We'll start with Ray-Ray and Artavis.”


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