7 at 7: Mike Williams pushing Martavis Bryant for playing time, Danny Ford reflects on Bill McLellan, and what Syracuse defense does well

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

CLEMSON – Typical Chad Morris: he’s at the point of expecting to be asked what went wrong after a 49-point victory, because elite is never enough.

Quite simply, Morris said in his weekly Monday sitdown with reporters, “There’s plenty to get better. We’re not going to spend the day patting them on the back.”

Among the complaints Clemson’s offensive coordinator had for his No. 16-rated scoring offense: “We’ve got to get cleared up in our run game. We had some snap issues. We gave up two sacks just by being soft, entirely too soft and not playing with technique. Our technique has got to get better on the offensive line. We’re going to keep pressing those guys. We had three drops.”

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7 at 7: Tajh Boyd’s swagger, Vic Beasley’s sack pace, and an Office Space reference

Tajh Boyd

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

CLEMSON – I haven’t done nearly enough of these. To the blog readers: please, please hit me with your input. You can reach me at any link above: e-mail, Twitter or Facebook.

1) Tajh Boyd is one part philosopher, one part optimist.

The guy knows how to work a room; both when it’s time to drop some wisdom, and when it’s time to express some confidence.

“Being so much involved in the offense and being here for a while, we have expectations of what the offense is supposed to look like,” Boyd said.

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The Maturation of Martavis Bryant: Clemson wide receiver is a student, an athlete & a father, and not in that order

IMG_0113 (2) BY AARON BRENNER | abrenner@postandcourier.com
@Aaron_Brenner | Tiger Tracks on Facebook

CLEMSON — The man-child curses himself for dropping a pass, for mistiming his route, for doing anything that could possibly hinder his future.

Martavis Bryant possesses a freakish marriage of size (77 inches from dreads to toes) and speed, making the junior wide receiver a prototypical 6-5 deep threat to stretch the field in Clemson’s favor.

Bryant’s made mistakes, in football and in school. The worst of which disqualified him academically last December, booting him from Clemson’s Chick-fil-A Bowl trip, the catalyst for change in Bryant’s lifestyle.

Ultimately more life-changing are Bryant’s decisions off the field. He fathered two daughters, with two women, before he could legally drink alcohol.

Instead of running full-stride from his responsibilities, Bryant leans on his mother, his roommate, his mentor, and most of all his inner drive to provide for Brooke and London Bryant.

“My kids. My family. Just gotta take care of them. Can’t let them down,” Bryant says. “That’s the only thing that makes me happy, and keeps me going, really.”

He became a man because of his children. He saw no other choice.

Full story: The Maturation of Martavis Bryant

Martavis Bryant

7 at 7: Seven reactions from Dabo Swinney, who’s “tired of that storyline” of Clemson’s inconsistency

Dabo Swinney

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

CLEMSON – Seven topics touched on by head coach Dabo Swinney in the 24 hours after No. 8 Clemson’s 38-35 epic victory over No. 5 Georgia, and we start with a passionate plea Swinney clearly wanted to throw off his chest …

1) It was a simple, fair question. Does becoming the first non-SEC team to win two consecutive games against SEC opponents ranked in the top ten in college football history dispel the notion that Clemson underachieves?

Well, it’s an unfair question in that upsets are par for the course in college football. It’s fair in that Clemson has been unable to fulfill expectations in the past, and in sports, picking nits is part of the deal.

Anyway, Swinney went off.

“Yeah, well, I don’t get that. Y’all need to start writing something different. People, whoever covers us, need to start asking different questions,” Swinney said, with ire in his voice as the clock pushed past 1 a.m. Sunday.

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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.”