Tigers get back to work

Football - Deshaun Watson

Photo by Mark Crammer

Football - Deshaun Watson

CLEMSON – After a 10-day break, Clemson returned to the practice field in shells with a chill in the air.

Ratcheting up the play installation process, the Tigers will conduct three scrimmages in their final nine spring practice sessions over the next three weeks.

Davis working around with special contacts

Davis getting double-takes, doing triple-duty

Putting on the pads, Clemson is scheduled to practice twice more this week (Wednesday and Friday) then three next week (Mon./Wed./Fri.) and four more to wrap it up (April 7, 9, 10, 12). All but the April 12th Orange-White spring game (4 p.m., ESPNU) will be closed to the public, while a number of position battles heat up.

“They looked like they were ready to get back at it,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said after practice Monday night. “Looked like they had done a little bit of something mentally at least to still be in tune. Had a few guys that I could tell they were still shaking 7-8 days off. Good to get back at it. We have a lot of work to do in the next three weeks. Can’t waste a day.

“Every day is critical for developing our team and setting a foundation for this 2014 team. That’s what these next few weeks are about.”

Swinney announced redshirt sophomore receiver Germone Hopper will sit the rest of spring to “focus.”

The N.C. product had his ups and downs as a freshman – hauling in 23 catches for 149 yards with two touchdowns. Mid-last season, he served a suspension for the Boston College game for a violation of team rules.

“He’s just a good young man and talented,” Swinney said. “But not very focused or committed to doing what he needs to academically. Just kinda given him some time to focus at Vickery Hall.”

“He’s got to grow up a little bit. Hopefully this will help him. Sometimes these guys need a little help in getting focused. That’s what this is all about. Hopefully he will come back with a little bit better appreciation for his opportunity. He certainly can be a great player. There’s no question.”

As far as injuries, junior center Ryan Norton said after practice he’s been dealing with shoulder pain that hampered him down the stretch last season and that he had offseason surgery on. Swinney said he will rest a little bit more this spring as one in a mix on the o-line he’s “confident” in.

The Tigers’ coach said junior Isaiah Battle has been working primarily at left tackle, but juniors Eric Mac Lain, Joe Gore and Shaq Anthony are working both tackle spots.

Kalon Davis, a starting right guard at points last season, is working both guard positions and right tackle. Backup sophomore center Jay Guillermo is playing both guard and center and senior Reid Webster is playing a little bit of everywhere.

Practice Report - 3/24

Hopper sitting out spring

“That’s one of the things I’m trying to do myself is keep those guys on edge,” Swinney said, in a spot where Clemson replaces two starters. “I call them out at different times. You go here and you go here and you go here. Sometimes with the ones and sometimes with twos. We’re trying to challenge those guys. Make sure they know what they’re doing.

“It’s good. Spring is about knowing what you’re about and what these guys know. We’ll hone in on it. By the time we play in August we’ll have a good five in there and two or three guys who can go in and play afterward.”

Swinney also made a point to say all of the mid-year enrollees have caught his eye, including five-star quarterback Deshaun Watson.

“After six practices, knowing he’s a true freshman - he’s going to be special,” said Swinney.

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