Clemson closed the preseason camp portion of its preparation for the season opener against North Texas with a half scrimmage on the practice fields behind the Jervey Athletic Center. The scrimmage was held in front of over 50 Clemson faculty and staff who Swinney invited to the practice.
The practice actually began with Clemson President Jim Barker in attendance and he said a few words to the team as they begin the 2010 season. ESPN analyst Todd Blackledge was also in attendance. The former Penn State quarterback will broadcast Clemson’s game at Auburn on September 18.
The Tigers will go into specific game preparation for the Mean Green, who come to Clemson for the September 4 season opener. “I am glad to turn the page,” said Swinney. “We have had a good camp and we had a good practice today. It was full speed tackling and hitting, the last time we will do that before the first game.
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“The defense was very focused. It was a good half scrimmage. We’re all tired of looking at each other and it is now time to go to dust off the scouting report on North Texas. The emphasis is now on winning the opener.” Each year Swinney has a list of goals and winning the opener is one of those goals.
Swinney said after practice that first year freshman receiver DeAndre Hopkins and linebacker Justin Parker were two freshmen who would play this year. He also mentioned Martin Jenkins as a freshman who would probably see time this year. Jenkins is a 5-9 defensive back from Roswell, GA. He also said other freshmen are “on the bubble” for playing his year.
Swinney also talked about Marcus Gilchrist’s role as the top return man on special teams. “Marcus has had a great average (on returns) for his career when he has gotten the opportunity. His only problem was that he was behind C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford for the last three years. He will do very well in that role.”
Swinney also praised the play of punter Dawson Zimmerman. “Zimmerman has been a Practice All-American the last couple of years. Now he needs to do it on the field during games. He has done very well in camp and been consistent in practice and scrimmages.
Swinney has also announced that Mansa Joseph, a red-shirt junior cornerback from Salters, SC and Murray High School, had been put on scholarship. This gives the Tigers 11 original walk-ons now on scholarship for the 2010 season.
The only injury in the scrimmage was suffered by red-shirt freshman Roderick McDowell who sprained an ankle. Wide receiver Brandon Clear was back at practice after travelling to Chicago to attend his grandfather’s funeral.
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