The Tigers worked out in helmets and shorts in comfortable weather for two hours and 30 minutes on the practice fields behind the Jervey Athletic Center.
It was the first of 29 allowed preseason practices for the Tigers, who open the season at home against North Texas on September 4 at 3:30 PM. Clemson will work once a day Tuesday through Saturday this week.
The only player who missed practice due to injury was junior offensive guard Wilson Norris, who suffered a torn ACL in spring practice last March. He will be out until at least November.
Two players missed the practice to take a summer school exam, starting tackle Landon Walker and wide receiver Brandon Clear.
Coach Swinney was pleased with the first day.
"I saw a lot of progress since we last practiced in April," said Swinney, who is in his second full season as Clemson head coach. "You could see they worked hard on their own over the summer. If you are going to be a good team you have to make progress between the end of spring practice and the start of fall practice.
"I could see that in players like Tajh Boyd. You could see from what he did today that he has made progress. The game has slowed down for him thanks to the work he put in over the summer. I saw that from a lot of veteran players today."
Swinney was also impressed from what he saw from quarterback Kyle Parker.
Clemson's returning starter at quarterback has not thrown many footballs since the end of spring practice, as he helped the Tigers baseball team to the Final Four of the College World Series. The first-round draft pick of the Colorado Rockies announced he would return to Clemson to play football for the Tigers on July 21. He still may sign with the Rockies, but will play for the Tiger football team in the fall.
"He amazes me at what he does from a mental standpoint. He made some typical KP throws that make you smile. He did show some rust, but he had an outstanding day.
"It was good to see how excited the other offensive and defensive players were to have him back. While he was not here this summer, they know he was not off sipping cocktails on an island. They say him play for our baseball team on TV, working hard for that team. He went straight from the bowl game to the batting cage without a break. You could see he was refreshed today and ready to play some football."
Swinney was also impressed by what he saw from the 19 freshmen who were at their first Clemson practice.
"It is an impressive group. They are in good physical condition and will make a contribution as a group this year. It is just the first practice so it is too early to single anyone out, but overall I was impressed," he said.
Many players worked in the return game at the beginning of practice. The Tigers are looking for replacements for C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford in the return game. That duo became the greatest all-purpose duo in NCAA history over the last four years. Marcus Gilchrist, Jaron Brown, Bryce McNeal and some others worked as kick returners during that part of practice.
Swinney said after practice that Tyler Fowler, a walk-on offensive lineman from Canon, GA, was given a scholarship for this fall.
Day one in the books in Clemson
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