CLEMSON – We can’t read too much into spring practice periods, after all we’re nearly sixth months away from the opener against Georgia. But here’s what I do know: Clemson is way ahead of where it was a year ago, and is entering March with its best team under Dabo Swinney.
Consider that there’s no new schemes or coordinators, there’s a senior star quarterback in camp along with a potential first-round pick in Sammy Watkins. Moreover, there’s dozens of young players who have gained experience during an 11-win season last fall. Clemson’s never had more pieces in place in March under Dabo.
All you need to know is that one of the most intriguing camp battles is for the backup QB spot. That’s a good thing.
*WR Sammy Watkins thought some of his injuries/illness last year could be attributed to poor diet and workout habits. Watkins said he is on a new nutrition and workout plan and is trying to model his offseason after DeAndre Hopkins’ 2012 workout/diet regimen. If he has similar results, Hopkins will have to market this diet plan. Watkins is at 208 pounds.
*Nickel CB Martin Jenkins, who allowed the fewest yards per pass attempt in 2011, was back on the practice field after missing the entire 2012 season. He said he’s nearly 100 percent after sports hernia surgery. Darius Robinson (leg) and Bashaud Breeland (groin) were also back practicing. No unit should be more improved than the secondary, which also adds eight signees in August.
*A lot of people around the program think DE Vic Beasley is a few added pounds and reps away from a breakout. He’s a freak athlete. At the very least he’ll be disruptive on passing downs.
*6-7, 290-pound tackle Isaiah Battle is strictly a left tackle, according to Dabo Swinney. He looks like a prototype there. If he can win the starting job, Swinney said Brandon Thomas could move inside to guard. Clemson has flexibility and versatility up front.
*Swinney loves what he sees from his linebackers; the LB unit has a lot of depth and talent.
*Sounds like it will be Charone Peake who will get the first chance to be Watkins’ Robin, though Adam Humphries will still be heavily involved.
*Who needs a new basketball arena? The new $9 million indoor facility is so massive it could be hope to basketball, too.
PICS FROM PRACTICE NO.1: