The last we saw of the Clemson football team, the Tigers were taken to the proverbial woodshed by Ohio State in the national semi-final playoff game held in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. Wednesday the Tigers began the process of getting back to the playoffs in 2021 with the start of spring practice. They will have 14 spring workouts leading up to their spring game April 3rd.
Much has changed for Clemson since that 49-28 defeat. Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne, Amari Rodgers and Mike Jones are just some of the departed players. CJ Spiller is now the running backs coach. Tony Elliott is now the tight ends coach. And Danny Pearman is now in charge of scouting talent.
But not changing, according to Dabo Swinney, is their model for success. Some players and coaches may be gone, but Swinney said Wednesday the philosophy around which he has built his program is unchanged.
Here are some of Swinney’s key comments to the media Wednesday afternoon:
- On moving Danny Pearman off the field and into evaluation, said its more than just the transfer market, its for high school and self scouting as well, said Pearman is a great evaluator.
- Timing was right to hire CJ Spiller as running backs coach, he’s going to be a great coach and has a great perspective on Clemson. He loves hiring former players.
- OL Blake Vinson is going on a medical scholarship and will stay with program as a student-coach.
- DE Justin Foster graduated in December and is moving on into the business world. Tried to talked him out of it but Foster had a very tough fall with Covid.
- WR Justyn Ross will be back but no contact in the spring. He will be in regular practice mode. He still has another big appointment in March. Matt Bockhorst and Davis Allen had some cleanup surgeries and will be limited.
- Luke Price, Jack McCall, KJ Henry, Lannden Zanders, Baylor Spector and Etienne Reuben will miss spring due to postseason surgeries.
- DeMonte Capeheart had a procedure that will limit him during the first half of spring practice.
- Matt Bockhorst and Davis Allen also had procedures and will practice on a limited basis.
- Some guys will miss the start of practice due to Covid and/or contact tracing.
- Youth and inexperience on the OL was a weakness last year, 13 freshmen and sophomores, didn’t have the depth required, need to bring those young players along.
- Excited about having Uiagalelei starting at quarterback, got a glimpse of what he can do last season, wants to see what Phommachan do competing for snaps, need to get him to take that next step.
- Said they stunk against Ohio State, terrible defensive performance, beat up front and bad technique, didn’t play great on offense but well enough to win if the defense had not been so bad.