Tigers using bowl prep to develop young stars

Mackensie Alexander stretches before the Tigers' Orange Bowl practice session at their indoor facility on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013 in Clemson, S.C. Clemson plays Ohio State in the Discover Orange Bowl in Miami, Fl. on Jan. 3, 2014. (AP Photo/Anderson Independent-Mail, Mark Crammer)

Photo by Mark Crammer

Mackensie Alexander stretches before the Tigers' Orange Bowl practice session at their indoor facility on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013 in Clemson, S.C. Clemson plays Ohio State in the Discover Orange Bowl in Miami, Fl. on Jan. 3, 2014. (AP Photo/Anderson Independent-Mail, Mark Crammer)

CLEMSON - For the second time in three months, Clemson is losing a lineman to a career-ending injury.

Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney announced Saturday that junior right tackle Gifford Timothy's time on the field has come to a close, dealing with a nagging knee injury. The Delaware native started six games this year and had totaled 1,128 career snaps. Supplanted in November by sophomore Isaiah Battle, he played just four snaps in the final three games.

Bowl practice report - 12/14

Timothy's career over

"He just doesn't feel like he can do it anymore," Swinney said. "His knee, it's just a mess. I hate it because Giff never complains. He is a guy that has given every ounce of everything he has to this program and to being the best player he can be. He's one of those guys that's transformed his body since he got here and really became a very good player for us.

"He's been frustrated big-time because his knee just won't let him perform like he's capable of performing."

Like fellow o-lineman Patrick DeStefano, who made a similar decision in October (shoulder), he will stay on as a student coach. Swinney says he'll be glad to have him in that role.

"We've got some young tackles on this team that we have high hopes for moving forward," Swinney said. "Giff will be a big part of it in continuing to develop those guys."

Going into next season, Clemson's o-line has three rising seniors, seven juniors, two sophomores, two redshirts and two commits (16 total). They have to replace All-ACC tackle Brandon Thomas.

SLOW START, STRONG FINISH TO FIRST FULL-PADS PRACTICE

Two periods into Saturday's practice, something wasn't quite right about a select few Tigers, including senior-leader Tajh Boyd...they didn't put on their hip pads.

After a midfield meeting, Boyd and a group of Tigers were bused back through the cold and rain surrounding Clemson back to the WestZone to get that fixed, and that was pretty representative of the practice as a whole.

"I thought we were a little lethargic early getting them going," Swinney said. "We had a couple of big hits and a couple of little scuffles that woke them up a little bit. It was good to see them respond. We had good energy. We kind of lost a week this year with the way the calendar fell. Everybody's dealing with the same thing.

Mackensie Alexander looking good

None

"We're going to make the most of the opportunities and time that we have to prepare our team for Ohio State and also develop our team for this spring. We kind of started that process today and we'll wrap it up each day (with that)."

That development comes in the way of 10-minute "JV" practices for the redshirt freshmen and reserves.

"It's a huge head start for them," said Swinney. "A lot of them haven't been coached in that role since (fall) camp."

One redshirt in particular who gets his time to shine is former five-star cornerback Mackensie Alexander (Immokalee, Fla.). He had a nagging injury (groin) that needed surgery in early October.

"He actually looks good and is moving around good in the scout group," the Tigers head coach said. "Today we got started with good individual work. We'll ramp it up as we go through this week and have a couple of days of work with the JV guys. He's in a good spot and hopefully he'll continue to do that."

NO DRAMA FOR DABO?

With jobs at his alma mater (Alabama) and Texas reportedly in limbo, Swinney's name was thrown around the Internet speculation world in the last week, but by Friday night, all seemed quiet on that front.

Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban signed a multi-year extension that reportedly will raise his salary over $7 million a year, and within the hour, reports of Texas' Mack Brown returning were on the table as well.

That all changed in less than 24 hours, as the 16-year 'Horns coach turned in his resignation, opening one of the top jobs in college football.

Swinney, whose last extension came in 2012 (through 2017), addressed the media circus after practice, but before the Texas news broke Saturday.

"I watch ESPN like everybody else. It is drama," he said. "It's sad and frustrating at times. It's just the world we live in. Everybody needs a story or whatever. It's unfortunate at times that's where we are and that's what it is.

"Everybody deals with it. I'm just focused on this team and getting ready to try to beat Ohio State. Haven't been many teams that get that done."

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Comments » 2

33dtb writes:

and we're only recruiting 2 O-Linemen this year ????

twk writes:

I hope Dabo and company don't change nothing! they looked great last game!, Go Tiger5

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