CB Garry Peters (foot) out for FSU

BY AARON BRENNER | abrenner@postandcourier.com
@Aaron_Brenner | Tiger Tracks on Facebook

Garry PetersCLEMSON — Clemson announced Thursday that junior cornerback Garry Peters cracked a bone in his foot at practice Wednesday. He will have surgery Friday, and will be out at least through this Saturday’s game against Florida State.

Peters, who has played 29 games in three years, has been the fourth Tiger of a 4-man cornerback rotation, behind starters Darius Robinson and Bashaud Breeland and nickelback Martin Jenkins. He has made 20 tackles (3.5 for a loss) this season, ranking 10th on the team.

After playing 49 snaps in the opener vs. Georgia (and breaking up two passes), Peters has not since played more than 35 snaps in a game.

Linebacker Ben Boulware (knee) is still listed as questionable.

Pregame Pep Talk: Clemson should roll over SC State, and Week 2 picks (Gamecocks or Georgia?)

Sammy Watkins

BY AARON BRENNER | abrenner@postandcourier.com
@Aaron_Brenner | Tiger Tracks on Facebook

CLEMSON – Yo, Dabo, if you’re reading this … stop. Go, uh, go surf YouTube for “Key and Peele” skits or something.

You too, anybody who plays football in a Clemson uniform. NSFW … Not Safe For Watkins. (That means both of you, Sammy and Carlos.)

South Carolina State’s got no chance.

This is a tune-up game, a warmup act, the Hangover, Part I. You know how Swinney (no, seriously, stop reading, Coach) always openly wishes for preseason games? He’s got a post-preseason game here in Death Valley tomorrow.

Somebody make sure Tajh Boyd wakes up on time tomorrow. And that he stays awake from 12:30 p.m. until, oh, at least 1:30 or so. Then he can go curl up in his bed and watch an ‘Austin Powers’ marathon while Cole Stoudt and (unbelievably) Chad Kelly clean up in the second half.

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Practice report: Clemson plows through the injury bug

Martin Jenkins

BY AARON BRENNER | abrenner@postandcourier.com
@Aaron_Brenner

CLEMSON – The injured list continues to shrink and grow by the day for Clemson; while some guys return, others go down with a groin or a hamstring or a buttock. (Yes, you read correctly. Hold your questions for a minute.)

If it’s any consolation – not that pain and suffering should be taken lightly – Georgia’s dealing with more of the same. Literally: more.

Seth Emerson of the Macon Telegraph – who you’ll hear from frequently the week leading up to Aug. 31 – has an exhaustive report on the nicks and dings ravaging the Bulldogs’ depth chart during fall camp.

Even as the Tigers go through scrimmages with four available cornerbacks, while the wide receivers conduct a conga line through the trainer’s room, head coach Dabo Swinney isn’t about to coddle the Tigers.

“I don’t think you can practice scared,” Swinney said Monday at noon following a morning session, and seven hours before an evening practice.

Two-a-days proceed as scheduled.

“We’ve got a well-thought-out plan of preparation, and we’ve got to execute our plan. There’s no other way to get your team ready, especially if you aren’t opening with a team like Georgia, then maybe you can pace some guys a little bit differently.”

Full story: Targeting, ejections a jarring concern for defenses

Once fall camp transitions into game week, the Tigers will throttle back. But not with 19 days to go before the opener.

“There’s a few guys you can probably hold here and there in some spots,” Swinney said. “But at this point, it’s way too early for that. You’ve got to go through it.”

The latest batch is improving, on the bright side. Cornerback Garry Peters was “full-go” Monday; cornerbacks Darius Robinson (concussion) and Mackensie Alexander (groin) were confidently rehabbing, with hopes of a midweek return; and cornerback Adrian Baker has an MRI for his knee scheduled this afternoon, though there doesn’t appear to have structural damage in any ligaments and can put weight on the leg.

Then there’s cornerback Martin Jenkins, who took a medical redshirt last year with hernia surgery. He’s got an even more unique injury in camp.

“Martin has … I don’t know a better way to say it … but he’s got an arthritic deal in his butt. I don’t know how else to say it,” Swinney said. “It’s genetic. His dad had the same thing. It’s a matter of trying to get the right medication, and trying to get the dosage right to where he can go.”

Jenkins was able to go through team drills and 1-on-1 drills Monday morning.

“(The trainers) feel like they’ve got a good plan in place, and he was able to do more today than he’s been able to do,” Swinney said. “It can be treated and it can get better. It’s just a matter of when.”

Wide receiver T.J. Green, who avoided an ACL scare last week, could return sometime this week. Martavis Bryant and Adam Humphries have bolstered the position’s depth by returning.

Maybe if the Tigers were opening against, say, Florida Atlantic and Georgia Southern, it’d be different.

“There’s no way to prepare our team for what they’re going to face than try to create that type of atmosphere on your practice field every day,” Swinney said. “If you don’t, then you’re not giving them a chance; you’re doing them a disservice.

“Right now is the time to push. We’ll pull back and start working on their legs as we start shifting focusing on Georgia. But right now, it’s all about Clemson. Unfortunately, injuries are a part of the deal.”

Counting down Clemson’s most valuable players in 2013: No. 8 CB Mackensie Alexander

Mackensie Alexander

Photo courtesy of 247Sports.com

BY AARON BRENNER AND DARRYL SLATER
abrenner@postandcourier.com and dslater@postandcourier.com

To help get you through college football’s slow days of late June and early July — before conference media days launch the preseason festivities — we’re counting down the 12 most important South Carolina Gamecocks and 12 most important Clemson Tigers for 2013. One Gamecock and one Tiger every day, so you can spend part of your summer studying the players who will make a difference for your team come autumn. 

CLEMSON’S NO. 8 MOST VALUABLE PLAYER:
MACKENSIE ALEXANDER, FRESHMAN, CORNERBACK

Clemson’s recruiting class of 2010 featured Bashaud Breeland, Martin Jenkins, Garry Peters and Darius Robinson. Only Breeland was a four-star prospect per Scout.com; the others were three stars. All four are between 5-10 and 6-foot tall; all four are between 175 and 195 pounds.Peters had plenty of opportunities in last year’s repaired defense, in part because Breeland, Jenkins and Robinson all combatted injury.Breeland did have two interceptions for 93 yards total in the 2011 season; other than that, the quartet has a combined four picks for eight return yards, with one fumble recovery and no forced fumbles, in 97 career games. Seven turnovers in 97 games. None are what you would call, based on their collective track record, an impact player at cornerback.

Mackensie AlexanderEnter Alexander in 2013, who very nearly went to defensive back-rich Mississippi State and also flirted with Auburn and Florida State following his decommitment from Tennessee.

It’s completely reasonable Alexander cracks the lineup early in his rookie year, perhaps even from day one. (LSU’s defense does just fine installing young corners.) Not only can Alexander make plays, he’s a gifted cover corner and tackler, which is notable as the Tigers look to boost their 73rd-rated pass defense.

Don’t forget Alexander’s name among special teams contributors, as well.
-Aaron Brenner

Mackensie Alexander
Position: Cornerback
Year: Freshman
Height/weight: 5-11/185
Hometown: Immokalee, Fla.
Last year: The No. 4-rated prospect in the country by ESPN’s recruiting services, the highest rating by a Clemson commit since defensive end Da’Quan Bowers in 2008

Previously: No. 12 Jr. DT Grady Jarrett, No. 11 Jr. LB Stephone Anthony, No. 10 Fr. TE Jordan Leggett, No. 8 Jr. RT Gifford Timothy

COMING MONDAY: No. 7