Paying his penance

CLEMSON - Germone Hopper's spring break was bookended by news from both ends of the spectrum.

Through the first four practices of the month, Dabo Swinney didn't have a whole lot of good things to say about the redshirt sophomore wide receiver from Charlotte, but things started to trend in the right direction during the fifth and final practice before spring break.

"G-Hop had probably his best day today, which was good, because I think he's been very average the first few days, very average, so it was good to see him show up and do what he can do," Dabo Swinney said, after that practice. "He was electric out here today.

"His consistency is where he's got to improve."

Hopper, who caught 23 passes for 149 yards with two touchdowns last season, was feeling good about the direction he was headed.

"I feel like I'm playing really fast," he said, before spring break. "Part of it was getting acclimated to it, getting it down. I wasn't sure last year of what plays, but now I've got it down pat. It's allowing me to play faster."

With the early exits by Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant, that's what Swinney and Chad Morris are counting on from Hopper in 2014.

"I feel like I've come a long way," Hopper said. "Now, I'm playing faster. There are no letdowns. I have to step up now that Sammy and Tay, those guys are gone. It's just time, like coach Morris said, it's time for guys to step up now."

There's just one issue with all of that. Hopper, apparently, hadn't been living up to his end of the bargain off the field.

Swinney told reporters on Monday that Hopper will not practice the rest of the spring. While he wasn't entirely specific about the facts, Swinney alluded to academics as reason why Hopper will be on hiatus from the practice facility over the next few weeks.

"It's a daily thing," Swinney said, after Monday's practice, the first since spring break. "It's a daily commitment to showing up to meetings, things like that…hopefully, it's a situation where it's a situation where he can spend some time in Vickery and get focused on his academics and get a handle there.

"That's where it starts. It's just one of those things you do from time to time. Hopefully, he'll do it. If he wants to be a part of the program, he's going to have to do it."

Swinney wouldn't classify the disciplinary action as a "suspension."

"The biggest thing is academics. Just got the first wave of academic reports here," Swinney said, "Just getting guys to buy into the totality of the program. It's not just the football."

There's no reason for concern in that department.

"He's going to be just fine as a football player if he'll commit in all the areas that he needs to commit in. That will take care of itself," Swinney said. "Basically, just removing all that from the equation, so he can get his priorities in order."

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