Young and getting younger.
But there’s a difference.
Brownell’s basketball program is in the midst of a youth movement by necessity. Swinney’s move to a younger lineup is, in part, dictated by personnel turnover, as well. But in part, it’s a result of a big-picture plan to elevate Clemson’s on-field talent level via recruiting.
The movement started in the fall when players like Sammy Watkins, Charone Peake, Adam Humphries and Martavis Bryant were thrust into mainstay roles on offense; and it’s likely to continue next season when as many as 35 first-year players – true freshmen and redshirt freshmen – join the Tigers’ playing mix.
These are exciting times, Swinney said, to be coaching Clemson football.
Swinney said he liked what he saw last Thursday night when he met with the Tigers for the first time since the Orange Bowl.
“They’ve got the right frame of mind, and the experience they had this year is priceless,” Swinney said. “As I look at our roster and study it as we plan for ’13 and ’14 and ’15, right now we’ve got 11 seniors on our team – 11. And all 11 of them are players and impactful people, all capable of being great leaders. That excites me. We don’t have a lot, but we’ve got 11 really special men who have a chance to take the reins and lead this football team.
“We’ve got 13 juniors, and that counts (original walk-ons) Phillip Fagjenbaum and (Chandler) Catanzaro. So we’re going to have 61 freshmen and sophomores on next year’s team. Eighty percent of roster will be freshmen and sophomores, and that’s exciting to me.”
Swinney said spring practice will offer an opportunity for young players to show that they’re ready to contribute.
“I think we’ve got the right kind of guys here,” he said. “We’ve got to grow ‘em up, and it’s going to be a blast this spring because there’s going to be a lot of competition and a lot of jockeying. We’re going to look at a lot of things, personnel wise, and try to give ourselves our best chance to be successful.
“I really believe we have a chance to make a run over the next four, five, six years that Clemson hasn’t seen in a long, long time.”
As for Brownell, his 2012-13 team will likely be comprised of two seniors, no juniors, five sophomores and six freshmen – 85 percent first and second-year players, with no redshirts.