SUNSET — If Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney is any more or less stoked for the 2016 season to begin, he’s not showing it.
“I guess the day will come where maybe I’m not jacked up to start the grind of the season,” Swinney said. “And when that day comes, I’ll be doing something else.”
What is different for Swinney entering this, his eighth full season as a head coach, is the Tigers coming off a run to the national championship game, a raise from $3 million a year to $5 million a year, and unprecedented expectations placed on a program that not long ago was pretty good and now bangs on the door of the nation’s elite.
But to know Swinney, gregarious even on his worst day, is to know he was just as pumped up for, say, the 2011 season coming off a 6-7 year. Once again greeting media at the summer’s annual golf outing held at The Reserve at Lake Keowee, Swinney can’t wait to get back into the swing of things.
“I love the grind. I love structure. More importantly, I love being with the players on a daily basis,” Swinney said. “The so-called offseason, once you get out of spring, you’re away from your guys a lot. This is the best time of year, because you get back to doing what you love.”
In one of his last family trips of the summer, Swinney took his wife and three sons to New York City as an official invitation from the New York Yankees to attend a weekend series against the Boston Red Sox.
“Took my boys. They thought a big building was Clemson House,” Swinney said, referring to a dormitory on campus. “Pretty neat to see their reaction and to see the city.”
Swinney said the family enjoyed watching the designated hitters, Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz, in what was a series victory for the Red Sox. The Swinneys toured Yankee Stadium, meeting with New York manager Joe Girardi.
“Definitely a bucket list item to tour that museum and see all the Yankee greats,” Swinney said. “You could just feel the tradition and the pride in that whole organization.”
Offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell disclosed the weight results for the current starting offensive line as of this week’s player check-ins.
Right guard Tyrone Crowder has been a higher-than-desired weight, and he checked in at 337 pounds. Caldwell would like him below 330 by the start of fall camp.
Center Jay Guillermo is down to 310 pounds, while right guard Taylor Hearn is up to 322 pounds.
Both tackles have put on weight: left tackle Mitch Hyatt is up to 297 pounds (he was 285 last year) and right tackle Jake Fruhmorgen is up to 300 pounds (he was 282 last year.)
According to Swinney, the only unhealthy player on Clemson’s roster is cornerback Adrian Baker, who tore his ACL in spring practices. Baker will definitely be out for all of fall camp, though he is “doing well, progressing well” per the head coach.
Incoming freshman running back Tavien Feaster has been cleared from shoulder surgery. Reserve tight end Cannon Smith is coming off shoulder surgery, and he will begin fall camp in a non-contact green jersey.
T.J. Chase, one of three four-star wide receiver recruits who signed with Clemson in February, has not yet enrolled at Clemson as he awaits academic clearance. Swinney indicated a resolution should be reached this week, and it’s possible Chase will spend the fall at prep school before looking to enroll next January.
Chase’s fellow receiver recruits, Cornell Powell and Diondre Overton, are on campus.