Fall camp is complete and No. 4 Clemson will now turn his attention to the season opener against Georgia Tech in Atlanta on Labor Day at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (8 p.m./ESPN).
With the observations and interviews at the end of the camp and the practice sessions, there’s plenty to talk about when it comes to what we’ve learned and what we’re thinking on the eve of a new season.
Today we look at the violation:
head coach Dabo Swinney has a deep quarterbacks room, but there are really only two names you need to know right now: DJ Uiagalelei and Cade Klubnik. Uiagalelei has received rave reviews throughout the match, even from defensive players, as we have heard from both coaches and players that his increased mobility has given him more confidence. He needs to improve his accuracy, but he also needs to play better around him from his receivers and offensive line. While Swinney and Offensive Coordinator Brandon Streeter have bragged about Uiagalelei and said he is the undisputed starter against the Yellow Jackets, believe the line will be short. Why? Because that Klubnik kid is pretty good.
We’ve been there at the end of most practice sessions and there’s one quarterback who’s stayed up late to pitch every time, and that’s Klubnik. He still needs to improve his decision making and he needs to learn that it’s okay to throw the ball out of bounds at third base. But there is no doubt about his talent, and there is no doubt about his leadership skills and will to win. He will have a chance to play no matter what happens to Uiagalelei, but if Uiagalelei falters, the coaches won’t hesitate to call in Klubnik.
It’s a little more organized on the way back. The Tigers catch up with three experienced backs Will Shipley, Kobe Paceand Phil Mafah. Shipley will probably get the nod to there for the first snap, but all three bring something different to the table, and the use of each can depend on the game situation. There may be a different lead rusher from game to game, but you look up after five games and see they’ve all carried the ball close to the same number. The three-headed monster is a good problem to have. — David Cap.
There may be no more hyped group coming out of camp than Clemson’s tight ends led by returning starter Davis Allen and an emerging threat to the recipient in Jake Briningstool. Calling Allen “a pro” after the final scrimmage, Swinney said Briningstool, a former No. 1 rated tight end in the nation, was performing at his best in his time as a Tiger. Briningstool and Allen were made available to the media this week and both praised the new tight ends coach Kyle Richardson and its coming impact on the position group and the offense as a whole. Since the broad receiver group is still figuring itself out health-wise as kick-off approaches, more multi-tight ending sets could be coming.
Slot receiver is the healthiest spot for the Tigers after a fairly injury prone battle with Brannon Spector and Will Taylor solid options and freshmen Antonio Williams and Cole Turner get their share of praise during the month.
EJ Williams returned to training after a hematoma in his lower back but was still in a green more limited contact jersey early this week. Beaux Collins (shoulder) also missed important action in the camp. Set aside largely in a yellow contactless jersey, Adam Randall everyone in the camp has had so much buzz for his speed and route running during his comeback from a torn ACL he sustained in the spring. He’s likely to be out for the early part of the schedule, but Clemson’s coaches can’t wait to get him back into the mix after impressing this spring.
Elsewhere in the corps of recipients, some extra opportunity needs a Dacari Collins good? Is the Joseph Ngatatime to shine for a whole season? Swinney was optimistic about the condition of his receiver group after Clemson’s second scrimmage and we’ll have some questions answered under the lights in Atlanta. –Brandon Rink
Each position group is scrutinized from time to time, but Clemson’s offensive line is scrutinized every day and has been criticized by fans for over a decade. However, there is hope that things will change.
Thomas Austin has taken over as coach of the offensive line, he brings in big and talented recruits and the group that had to endure last season’s vitriol are more experienced and itching to get better. We learned in the camp that freshmen tackle Blake Miller standing in line to pull Mitch Hyatt and starts his first college game (grabbing right no less). We’ve learned that this group has held up against the Tigers’ vaunted defense line, and we’ve learned that Austin feels like he has 10 or 11 players he can count on.
That’s all good news.
Jordan McFadden is the likely starter on the left tackle, followed by Marcus Tate at left guard, Will Putnam in the middle, Walker Parks on right guard and Miller on the right tackle. Backups like Dietrick Pennington, Tristan Leigh, Mitchell Mayes, Bryn Tucker, Mason Trotter, Ryan Linthicumand Collin Sadler they all look to provide depth and push the starters into the season. –Niki Hood
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