The dog days

CLEMSON - After nearly three weeks of practice, Dabo Swinney finally saw one that he didn't really like.

Thursday's practice, the first since school started, left plenty to be desired by Clemson's fifth-year head coach.

"I thought it stunk," Swinney said. "I thought it was very average, very mentally sluggish would be the way I would sum practice up today. We would have gotten beaten 65-0 today.

"Really disappointed, just not a lot of attention to details -- we just didn't practice with a purpose. It's probably the worst practice that we've had, maybe all of camp, which is pretty disappointing.

"I know they just started school back, but you've got to have mental toughness to push through that stuff. It is what it is, wasted a day today. We've got a lot of work to do [Friday]."

Friday is the Beanie Bowl, a simulated game that takes the team through the game day routine.

"It's kind of a mock game. That's a huge, huge deal. Will throw a lot at these guys tomorrow night, see how they respond," Swinney said. "First time together on the sideline, just really work that situation. We'll put them under the lights, the first time we've done that."

Meetings will be held on Saturday and Sunday is an off day. Monday will kickoff the start of their typical game week schedule.

State of the secondary

Despite another rash of injuries to the several players in the secondary -- Mackensie Alexander [groin], Adrian Baker [knee] and Jayron Kearse [shoulder] -- Swinney feels comfortable with those that are healthy.

"We've been past all that. Adrian's been out for a while. Mackensie has been limited most all of camp. Martin [Jenkins] is back. Martin has been back for about a week now and has really looked good. That's a big shot in the arm for us. We'll keep our fingers crossed that he'll be ready to go and still on the right track next week."

Jenkins, Bashaud Breeland, Garry Peters and Darius Robinson are competing for the two starting cornerback spots.

"We're going to need all four of them," Swinney said. "We haven't worked Martin at a lot of nickel, because we really went into feeling like we couldn't count on him until we could consistently see him practice, but he's a guy that can, maybe, work back in the mix there as we get going in the season. I feel good about those four guys. Breeland got a little banged up today, but I think he'll be OK."

Safety remains a concern. Breeland could help alleviate some of that.

"When I say concerned, we've just got young players there in our depth," Swinney said. "Breeland has worked a pretty good bit at safety, so he could always go back into safety if we got in a bind there. He could give us a little bit of flexibility."

Travis Blanks and Robert Smith remain the starters. Freshmen Jadar Johnson and Cordrea Tankersley are working behind them.

"[Johnson and Tankersley] are just young players that have a lot to learn," Swinney said.

Talking tight ends

Swinney knows that Sam Cooper won't play in the Georgia game. He's holding out hope that Jordan Leggett might be available. Just a few days ago, Swinney didn't think that was the case.

In the mean time, Stanton Seckinger is the next man up, so to speak.

"It's kind of Seckinger's opportunity to step up and I think he will…he's been through some battles on our practice field. He's got some maturity to him. I think he'll respond," Swinney said.

Darrell Smith will have a role. That's a given.

Jay Jay McCullough is right there, too.

"Jay Jay is a guy that's got the whole package, but he's not ready from a whole package, offensively. He's going to be. But, right now, he's still kind of putting it together. We have to game plan with him. He's definitely, as the year goes on, going to be a really nice factor for us." Top Stories