Young Tigers face separation week

by - Senior Writer -
Freshman RB Wayne Gallman will make his case to avoid a redshirt this week. (TigerNet Staff)

Dabo Swinney practice comments
Travis Blanks interview
D.J. Reader interview
Spencer Shuey interview

CLEMSON - Week two of fall camp is separation week for the Clemson Tigers.

Clemson head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
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said that there were a lot of positives and negatives from Saturday’s scrimmage, but now the focus must turn to assembling the team.

“Another week. Good hot day today. A lot of good things on film from the scrimmage on Saturday. A lot of bad things too, unfortunately,” Swinney said after Monday’s practice session. “That’s what it’s all about. That’s why you practice. I thought we had good meetings last night with good engagement from our guys.”

Swinney wants to see improvement from Saturday to Saturday and scrimmage to scrimmage, which was his challenge to the entire team.

“The challenge this week is to get better - be better next Saturday than we were this past Saturday,” Swinney said. “We want to see a lot of these guys make some good improvements and learn from their mistakes. Saturday was the first day that we kind of stepped away. It wasn’t a controlled type of deal. Everything that we’ve installed was available to be called.”

Swinney said that Monday’s practice was one of the toughest to date, and that things aren’t going to get any easier when the team reassembles for tonight’s session.

“I thought they came back this morning - this is going to be a tough day for them- a full two-a-day with live hitting- did some tough hitting, a “W-man” drill that you either win or lose at the point of attack at all three levels, and then we did a rapid fire drill with a lot of reps in 10 minutes going as fast you can go,” Swinney said. “It’s one of the toughest drills that we have from a mental toughness standpoint. We did a live second-and-seven and play third down type of deal. It was tough practice that I thought they pushed through a good bit. We’ll come back here tonight, put the shells on and have another good, tough session. This is a big week and in particular these next few days. We’ve got a lot we’ve got to get done from a team standpoint.”

*Deciding who will redshirt and who will play is often times a difficult decision for a coaching staff, but Swinney said ultimately the decision will come down to who is ready and who can help the team.

“The preference is to play your best players, whoever it is,” Swinney said. “If a guy is ready to play and can help you, then you play him. I don’t like to waste guys’ years. At the end of the day, we’ll do what’s best for the team and if that means we have to play a freshman, then we’ll play them.”

Swinney said that most of those decisions will probably be made after Saturday’s scrimmage.

“We’ll probably let it go this week. Some guys we probably have a good feel for some guys,” Swinney said. “Some guys we know are going to play and some guys we know are probably going to redshirt and need to redshirt. Then, we have some bubble guys. Probably this weekend, we’ll get through one more scrimmage and then start narrowing it down from a staff standpoint with two weeks to prepare.”

*With the new rules in place for targeting a defenseless player, Swinney was asked if he has seen in problems during the first week of practice.

His answer was “no,” however, he doesn’t know how referees will choose to officiate in a game.

“We haven’t really had any issues on our practice fields, but maybe the refs would disagree with that,” Swinney said. “The unknown is how the refs will officiate and how they will interpret certain things. I had a long talk with the crew that did our scrimmage on Saturday. We didn’t have a lot of penalties and no targeting penalties.”

Swinney also said that all players, regardless of position are taught proper tackling technique.

“We try to teach all of these guys the proper technique for tackling, whether it’s a kicker, an offensive lineman or a defensive player. Everyone has to know the proper way to tackle,” Swinney said.

All of the players know the rules and Swinney doesn’t foresee a problem during the season.

“It’s the unintended play that comes into question,” Swinney said. “I think guys are more conscious. The biggest thing is not hitting people in the head. You’ve got defenseless players and you know who those guys are. As long as you are targeting below the shoulders and not hitting people with the crown of your helmet, which is dangerous for the person tackling, you should be okay. There are just certain bang, bang plays that there is not intent to target and it will be interesting to see how those plays are handled.”

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