Investment Banking: Tigers expecting dividends from on-field experience

'At some point you've got to play...It makes practice better and meetings better. They'll all be able to grow from this experience'

Tight end Stanton Seckinger catches a pass in the second half

Photo by Mark Crammer

Tight end Stanton Seckinger catches a pass in the second half

Leading 14-0 at halftime in an early-season 1979 soccer match at Riggs Field, Dr. I.M. Ibrahim's top-ranked Tigers waited on the field at the beginning of the second half, an eager group of reserve players anxious for their opportunity to play.

Without a word, their opponent never returned.

Someone checked the parking lot, and Belmont-Abbey's bus was gone, already trundling back up the interstate to Charlotte.

Ball State's Cardinals must have been tempted to do the same on Saturday, down 45-10 at halftime, overwhelmed by a 32-point second-quarter Clemson outburst, capped by an insult-to-injury, ACC-record, 61-yard field goal by Spencer Benton on the final play of the first half.

The Cardinals, for the record, didn't do a runner. They regrouped, refocused and gave Clemson's second and third-teamers a game in the second half, winning the final two quarters 17-7.

Looking back later on the entirety of the yet-to-unfold 2012 season, Clemson's rout of the visitors from the Mid-America Conference may not seem like much of a big deal - just another day at the office for the Tigers, who did what they do, and did it well, without any sign of a let-up or let-down.

Dabo Swinney and Chad Morris believe it will prove otherwise.

The Tigers are in this season for the long haul, chasing a second straight ACC championship and seeking to end an exceedingly disagreeable three-year run of futility against their neighbor and rival from the mid-state.

Depth-building will be an essential part of Clemson's growth and development over the course of the season, and in that regard, the Tigers could hardly have asked for more than the opportunity they gave themselves on Saturday.

By taking care of their business early in a no-nonsense fashion, the Tigers allowed their coaches to clear the bench in the second half - not only investing in players who'll be counted on in the short-term down-the-road, but also affording opportunity to hard-working walk-ons on rarely see the field.

There were plenty of highlights on Saturday.

Daniel Rodriguez catching the first pass of his long-delayed college career brought the crowd to its feet.

Dabo Swinney was just as proud of walk-on long-snapper Sam Van Gieson, who, after four years of hard work and dependability, finally got on the field for snap.

In all, 80 Tigers played on Saturday.

Scholarship players who made their debuts as Tigers included placekicker Ammon Lakip, punter Bradley Pinion, quarterback Morgan Roberts, running back Zac Brooks, defensive tackle Carlos Watkins, defensive lineman Kevin Dodd, tight end Stanton Seckinger, and offensive linemen Ryan Norton, Isaiah Battle, Spencer Region, Joe Gore and Jerome Maybank.

The list of walk-ons who played on Saturday included Van Gieson, Corbin Jenkins, George Johnson, Jerodd Williams, Dante Stewart, Julian Patton, Taylor Watson, Harrison Tucker, Zach Fulmer, Collins Mauldin, Scott Wilson, Andrew Maass and Wes Forbush.

Swinney said the snaps logged by the Tigers' second offensive line were especially valuable.

"To get those offensive linemen as much time as they got, I just can't tell you how important that is to the growth of this football team," Swinney said. "At some point you've got to play, and to get those guys into the game, it makes practice better and meetings better. They'll all be able to grow from this experience."

"Our message to the team at halftime was that we really have a chance to improve this football team in the second half," said offensive coordinator Chad Morris. "Probably moreso than anything else we could do at this point in the season.

"Those young guys got some real, quality experience, and I saw some really good things from them. And we saw some things they need to improve on. There's a reason why they're second and third-team right now. We were able to see that and get some great evaluation on tape, and that was important. I'm proud of them."

Swinney is hoping for a re-run next Saturday when the Tigers play Furman.

"I told our guys during the week, you have to be ready when it's your turn, and you have to practice like you'd play," Swinney said. "Hopefully we can start off strong again next week and give a lot of guys some playing time again."

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Comments » 1

omnipotent1 writes:

Much better than keeping your starters in and running up the score. Shows more class, too.

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