Warm Temperatures Greet Tigers

JACKSONVILLE - Before practice even started Saturday morning, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney made an adjustment to what he was seeing.


"Get off the field," he yelled at his team. "It's just like back at home. When you step on the field for the first time you run!"

And just like that, the entire team ran off the practice fields at Jacksonville University, where it will practice all week in preparation for the upcoming Konica Minolta Gator Bowl, and ran back on.

It may not have been the biggest story to emerge out of Clemson's first practice in Jacksonville, but Swinney got his point across loud and clear.

"It's just like being at Clemson," Swinney said. "Let's go back to work. Wish we could have brought our sign with us. It's still a work zone and you still have to clock in but it's just a different zone.

"I wanted to make sure we got off to a good start today and our mentality was right."

Other than the slow start, which is to be expected just two days after Christmas, and five days after the Tigers' last practice, Swinney was pleased with his team's overall effort.

"I thought it was a really good practice. In particular the defense. The defense was flying around - I was pleased," he said.

Most of the team seemed to be pleased as well.

"I felt real good today," senior safety Mike Hamlin said. "We are getting back into the swing of things. We kind of got back into the routine today. It was a whole lot hotter than I thought it would be. It's not South Carolina weather - it feels real good out here."

NO BLUE TURF HERE: With temperatures hovering in the upper 70's Saturday, not to mention an expected record high later today, Swinney said this year's bowl game is just what his team needed.

"This is just what the doctor ordered," he said. "What a great week of weather we are supposed to have. Probably felt like 80-something out here today and that's nice for these kids to not have to bundle up and come out here and practice football."

The early forecast for Thursday's game calls temperatures in the mid-60's under partly cloudy skies.

QUICK HITS: Landon Walker was the only player to not be in attendance for Saturday morning's practice. He was driving down today from North Carolina after being sick with the flu. "Hopefully by tomorrow, with another day in bed he'll be able to get out here and do a little bit," he said. ... Swinney passed along condolences to Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini, who lost his father, Anthony Pelini, over the holidays. He was 85. ... The team will go to a Jacksonville Theme Park Saturday afternoon as part of its Konica Minolta Gator Bowl-sponsored events. ... The team had a curfew of 1:30 AM for its first night at Jacksonville- with most players spending their time at the popular Jacksonville Landing area.

NEXT UP: The Tigers return to practice Sunday afternoon from 3-4:30 PM. All practices are closed to the general public. Later today the team will be at the Adventure Landing Players Outing.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "His name is Bo and I'm Da-bo. His last name is Pelini and mine is Swinney. We both rhyme with weenie." - Dabo Swinney when asked to compare himself with Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini, who is also in his first year as a head man.

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