Tigers sloppy in first practice back

Clemson returned to the practice fields behind the Jervey Athletic center on Thursday afternoon after more than 48 hours away from the sport and it apparently showed.

Tigers Head Coach Dabo Swinney was not pleased with his team's performance during a two and a half hour workout on Thursday.

"It was sloppy," said Swinney. "We looked like a good 6-6 team today. I know it was the first practice after the first day of class and we were away from practice since Tuesday morning, but that is not an excuse. There were just too many mistakes."

Swinney did point out one positive, the kicking of red-shirt freshman Chandler Catanzaro.

"The Catman is way out in front at this point when it comes to the placekicker position. He missed just one kick in practice all day. Spencer Benton is second right now and Richard Jackson (the starter last year) is third. But, I told Richard after practice, I am not giving up on him. Tomorrow is a new day."

Swinney and the Tigers welcomed back Da'Quan Bowers to practice on Thursday. Bowers missed practice over the last 10 days after the sudden death of his father, Dennis. He actually came back to Clemson last Monday night, but Thursday was his first practice.

"We welcomed him back at the team meeting this afternoon. The team was excited to have him back and I know he was glad to be back with the team. He has had a tough last 10 days. He was very close to his dad.

"We have had some tough family situations lately. Brandon Clear's grandfather passed away and he will be leaving for that funeral tomorrow night. It is his father's father, so Brandon's dad will make the trip back from Afghanistan (where he is in the United States military). Justin Parker's mom has had surgery recently."

Swinney was also asked about the red-shirt status of some of his first year freshmen.

"We don't play for two and a half weeks, so we don't have to decide today. We want to red-shirt as many as we can," he said. "Justin Parker and DeAndre Hopkins look to be two young men who can help us. There are three or four more on the bubble. We will just have to see."

Running back Rod McDowell missed the practice with a concussion. He suffered that injury in Tuesday's practice. He is expected to return next week. Scotty Cooper missed the practice with a neck strain and Andre Branch was out with a virus. Drew Traylor was out with a sprained ankle. Hopkins was limited in practice due to shoulder sprain.

Quarterback Kyle Parker also returned to practice. He had missed the last two practices while working on his contract with the Colorado Rockies. He was a first round pick of that team in June.

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