Summer free time means nervous moments for coaches, leadership opportunities for players

Dabo Swinney: 'They have more challenges as far as making the right decisions and surrounding themselves with the right people'

Clemson's Reid Webster during spring football practice.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson's Reid Webster during spring football practice.

Exams are over.

Summer school is still a couple of weeks away.

Coaches everywhere are, understandably, just a bit apprehensive.

"The biggest concern for every coach out there as you do into the summer is that you've got a hundred and fifteen 17-22 year olds with more free," said Clemson coach Dabo Swinney. "So they have more challenges as far as making the right decisions and surrounding themselves with the right people. Nobody wants to have distractions."

That being said, summer break isn't like it used to be, when players left campus following exams and didn't return until fall camp.

"It's not like the old days," Swinney said. "I'd be a little more concerned if they were checking out right now and I wasn't going to see them again until August. It used to be that 'camp' was to get guys in shape. It's very different now.

"I wish I could be out on the field with them, but they're here and I see them and they're all in summer school. They're working out and they're training. And they're doing their skills-and-drills."

Swinney said that summer workouts have become a proving ground for the emerging leadership of a new team.

"The interesting thing is to see how the new leaders manage the team," Swinney said. "This is really when the team transforms. We get ready, January to April, and then from May to July, they have to transform - mentally, physically, everything.

"It's dog days. They're here, working out, going to school, running in the heat. We've got skills-and-drills two days a week first-term and then it goes to three days a week, second-term. They have to run and manage that, so you depend on the leadership of your team to do a good job.

"I think this group will do a good job. We've got a great plan in place. But we'll see."

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campusfriar writes:

We're looking at you UGA....

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