Orange Bowl and 1981 National Championship hero Billy Davis spoke to the Tigers today at practice to share his excitement for the 2009 season.
Coach Dabo Swinney was impressed with Davis' emotions while speaking at the Clemson practice fields.
"He got choked up talking to the team…as he talked to them, he thought back to that emotion, passion that comes from playing here at Death Valley that all of our players experience," Swinney said. "He did a really good job speaking to the team. I'm glad he came back."
"It was really neat to see that passion come out of a guy that has spent 20 years as a secret service agent. There's no telling what he's done and seen."
Davis' fellow secret service agents in Washington, D.C. call him Dabo Davis.
"I told him that's a great reconnaissance name," Swinney said.
Former Clemson wide receiver Derrick Hamilton also spoke at practice.
Much of the special teams talk centered around Richard Jackson, Spencer Benton and the late push from Chandler Catanzaro for place kicking duties, which Jackson has won. Benton will still kickoff and Dawson Zimmerman cemented his spot at punter weeks ago.
Swinney noted several players he expects to make plays on coverage teams.
"I think a guy like (Jonathan) Willard will make an impact on special teams and some of our other younger players," he said.
Kevin Alexander was mentioned as one of the best special teamers. Gunners like Byron Maxwell well make a big impact.
"He's been outstanding all camp," Swinney said. "He is something special on the special teams as well."
Long snapper Matt Skinner will be making his first collegiate snaps on Saturday.
"He's going to be a special long snapper. I hope nobody knows who he is his entire career, until he's gone," Swinney said. "He can really cover. He's a long guy who can run well."
Dwayne Allen's name was brought up too.
"We've got a bunch of guys—nice mix of veteran and younger guys on special teams," Swinney said.
There's no need to worry about effort or preparation at this time. Swinney believes that teams can over prepare for games because of the unknown—that hasn't been the case.
"It's a fine line between not enough and too much," he said.
Swinney does have a few concerns albeit they're very similar to just about any other college football coach's three days before the season opener.
"Not peaking too early. Really, just trying to keep them on a steady climb and getting them focused for a first time game," Swinney said. "We're going to try to minimize the distractions. That's some of the things we'll talk about tomorrow. That we stay focused on the right things, remember what we've worked hard for and don't let something distract you here at the last minute."
Injury-wise, the Tigers are fine. There were no new injuries to report. Xavier Dye and Dalton Freeman will be ready to go on Saturday.
The team again will spend the night before the game in the same hotel—the Anderson Hilton Garden Inn.
Davis, Hamilton address Tigers
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