Ailing Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins out for Boston College game

CLEMSON — Clemson All-America wide receiver Sammy Watkins will not make the trip to Boston College for Saturday’s football game because of an abdominal virus, the team announced Thursday night.

The 17th-ranked Tigers play at Boston College at 3:30 p.m.. The game will be televised on ESPN2.

“Sammy has been practicing, but on Tuesday and Wednesday took himself out late in the practice because he was not feeling well,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “(Thursday) he was worse and after going to the doctor it was determined that he needed to stay here this weekend.”

Additionally, second team offensive guard Kalon Davis pulled a hamstring on Thursday and also will miss the trip. It was announced earlier in the week that wide receiver Martavis Bryant would not travel due to a groin injury.

“With Sammy and Martavis out of the lineup we will bring Germone Hopper with us on the trip. We will only use him in case of an emergency,” Swinney said. “It is still our intention to redshirt him.”

Watkins missed the first two games of the year due to a suspension, but had played in the last two games, a victory over Furman and a loss at Florida State. He had 10 catches for 76 yards in the first two games, and ran the ball six times for 95 yards and a touchdown.

Last year Watkins was a first-team All-American as a freshman when he set a school record for reception yards (1219) and reception touchdowns (12). He had seven receptions for 152 yards in Clemson’s 36-14 win over Boston College last year.

No changes on defense

Despite Clemson’s defensive struggles, Swinney said there will be no major lineup changes for Saturday’s game. Xavier Brewer could continue to spend more time at cornerback. Swinney said freshman Travis Blanks has begun working more at safety. Freshman defensive linemen like D.J. Reader and Carlos Watkins could see more time, but there will be no wholesale changes.

No comparison:

Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables knew he was inheriting a project at Clemson. Venables helped lead Oklahoma to top 10 defense as recently as 2009 and said building such a unit takes time.

“In (2009) that was nine, 10 years into a program,” Venables said. “You have a foundation that can handle a little bit of a change. You have players with fundamentals and technique. There’s just a strong foundation. That was probably one of the three or four winningest programs over that period. The success was ingrained into that program already.”

He said it

Clemson defensive tackle DeShawn Williams on Venables after the Florida State game: “You never want to see your coach hurt like that.”

No Kueckly, no problem

Even after losing star linebacker Luke Kuechly to the NFL, Boston College retains a 4-3 defense that produces high-volume tacklers at linebacker. BC linebacker Nick Clancy (43 tackles), Kevin Pierre-Louis (36 tackles) and Steele Divitto (28 tackles) are rank in the ACC’s top tacklers.

Book-end giants

Boston College has two of the ACC’s three most physically intimidating ends in the 6-8, 285-pound Brian Mihalik and the 6-6, 265-pound Mehdi Abdesmad. The two ends have yet to produce a sack but have been productive in defending the run.

Rodriguez nominated

Clemson special teamer Daniel Rodriguez has been named as a nominee for the Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award. Rodriguez is a war veteran and Purple Heart recipient.