Give and take relationships

CLEMSON - Since putting the bow on the 2013 signing class, the Clemson coaches have met with a number of other staffs at all levels across the country.

It's not much different than last offseason's trips to Nevada and Oklahoma State.

"We don't have all the answers here, far from that," Dabo Swinney said. "Football coaches borrow and steal from -- beg -- from everybody they can get something from. When we get guys that come in here, we just don't give them information. We learn as much from them as they do from us."

Clemson coaches have taken one road trip this offseason. And they've hosted several other high school, college and NFL coaches.

"The coaches went out to Arizona State and had a good trip out there, had a really good visit out there," Swinney said. "We brought Ohio State, they came here. We had good meetings with them here."

There were connections in Tempe. While serving as the head coach at Tulsa, Todd Graham hired Chad Morris to serve as offensive coordinator. Graham is now the head man at Arizona State.

Urban Meyer got to know Swinney and Morris well during his one-year sabbatical from coaching. Though Meyer didn't trip to Clemson earlier this year, he did send offensive coordinator/quarterback coach Tom Herman and wide receivers coach Zach Smith visited.

Tigertown was also the host site for the Atlanta Falcons.

"We spent a whole day with the Falcons' defensive staff," Swinney said. That was, actually, very helpful. They met with our defensive guys and our offensive guys. They're trying to learn more about what we do and how we defend what we do.

"But, yet, we were able to take a lot from them as well. There are a lot of people that we talk to."

Leadership on the OL…

Dalton Freeman played 3,361 snaps over his 53-game career at Clemson. Of those 53 games, he was the starting center in 49 of them.

The two-time Rimington Trophy finalist is tied for first in school history in starts and tied for fourth in games. And he's also the only Clemson center to be named First-Team All-ACC twice.

Replacing his play won't be easy. Filling the leadership void he'll leave behind could be even more of a challenge.

Tyler Shatley was the first name that came to mind when Swinney was asked about candidates to lead.

"He was a guy I challenged in front of the team [Sunday] night," Swinney said. "Shatley, there's not a better guy that leads from an example standpoint.

"He's going to do everything to the Nth degree, way above and beyond of what's required. That's just who he is. He is a great leader."

Swinney noted Brandon Thomas as another player along the line who's "done a good job" in the leadership department.

A few others were called out by Swinney after Monday's practice.

"We need Ryan Norton to be a young leader for us. We need Eric MacLain to be a young leader for us," Swinney said. "Those guys have the ability to do that. We need Kalon [Davis], David [Beasley] and Reid [Webster] to accept more leadership roles around here."

Back in the fold

With season-ending injuries to Darius Robinson and Bashaud Breeland, Garry Peters was thrust into a starting role at cornerback. He logged a career-best 522 snaps, recorded 20 tackles and broke up eight passes.

Peters made his way into the Dabo Dog House before spring practice began earlier this month. Swinney punished Peters, forcing him to visit Vickery Hall while his teammates went to work on the practice field .

On Monday, he rejoined his teammates for practice after a five-day leave of absence.

"He's out here bouncing around [Monday] and [Tuesday]," Swinney said. "Wednesday was supposed to be his first day back, but we needed to get two days of shorts in, so we let him do some fundamental work stuff [Monday]. He'll be back full-go Wednesday when we crank it up." Top Stories