1. Dabo Swinney is really high on his secondary this year... he's now said on more than one occasion in the last seven days that this will be the deepest secondary Clemson has had in a "long long time." And he said it again after practice this evening. He was also very complimentary of his special teams through the first two days of camp, citing several walk-ons that could start at other Division I schools. By the way, speaking of special teams, assistant coach Danny Pearman has been out of practice all week as he is dealing with the death of his father. He's expected to be back in time for Monday's practice. For the record, I am hearing good things about Ammon Lakip - the new starting kicker. Sunday will be a mental day for the team - no on-field work.
2. It's starting to become pretty obvious the defense isn't reading any preseason press clippings. As Stephone Anthony told me after practice, "We haven't done anything yet and we know it." I jokingly told him he almost sounded like Brent Venables talking and he agreed with a smile. Venables isn't letting this group gain any kind of confidence by what media geeks like myself are writing or talking about - and I think that's a good thing.
3. Had a lengthy conversation with D.J. Howard about what it takes to be a starting running back at Clemson. He said the one thing most fans don't understand is how much the running back has to understand pass protection. He says he believes that's where his edge is versus the other younger backs on the roster- and he's right. Chad Morris talked about this with me two weeks ago- you can't put a guy in there who can't pick up a linebacker blitzing off the edge. "My knowledge of this offense is what sets me apart," he said. When I asked him at what point did he really start feeling comfortable with pass pro - he responded, "Pretty much about right now. It takes some time to understand it all. It really does."
4. I asked Dabo specifically about both quarterbacks through two practices and not surprisingly he said both were doing good. "We're going to be fine there," he said. Deshaun Watson had some center-quarterback exchanges issues early in today's practice but quickly got those corrected. He also said he spoke to Cole Stoudt's father, Cliff and Cliff told him he experienced significant weight gain in his final year playing college ball, just like Cole did. Found that interesting. Cole's was by design, as was Deshaun's, but still.
5. Also talked to Vic Beasley for a little bit. Beasley isn't a huge talker but I think he's getting better. Asked him specifically about his versatility this season and he admitted he expects to play a lot of defensive end and outside linebacker. "I'm very comfortable with both," he said. Beasley projects as an outside linebacker in the NFL. He also said he's "not a numbers guy" but he's got a number in mind when it comes to sacks this season. Wonder what it is? 15? Given the talent around him, there's a good chance he can get there.
Fast Five from Saturday's Practice
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