SUNSET – I’m very sorry.
Every year, I promise to myself I’m going to be more diligent and consistent with these blog posts, because the 7 at 7 (or 10 at 10) dynamic is brilliant. It’s a gentle morning read, with a nice array of notes that didn’t quite make the print notebook, random quips and 1-2 sentence nuggets that help fulfill our Clemson football beat coverage.
Alas, every year, it becomes sporadic just because we get sucked into the grind of football season. I can’t swear by any pledge that 7 at 7/10 at 10 won’t get lost in the mix in 2015, just because we here at The Post and Courier not only work very hard during football season; we’ve got a different way of covering your favorite teams. (Here’s a three-word hint: quality over quantity.)
However, I do promise to try. I’ll try to have at least one of these a week during fall camp and football season. Ideally, it’ll be Tuesday or Wednesday, following a full day of interviews.
1) Let’s begin our seven notes from The Reserve at Lake Keowee with our obligatory Deshaun Watson update. Head coach Dabo Swinney said he’s been fully cleared for all football activities for a few months, though we’ve yet to actually see such activities and I have heard Watson’s not been totally turned loose (not that he needs to be, in July.)
“He’s been full go since May. He’s done everything,” Swinney said. “In a couple weeks, he’ll be leading the charge with no restrictions. He’s been doing that. He hasn’t missed anything. I watched him sprint the hills. He’s done everything in the weight room. He’s ready to go.”
2) So October’s gonna be a month to remember for Clemson’s co-offensive coordinators, former teammates and longtime chums.
The wives of Jeff Scott and Tony Elliott are each due to give birth during football season. Sara Scott is expecting the couple’s first child (a daughter, to be named Savannah) on Oct. 3, while Tamika Elliott is due with Kid No. 2 a couple of weeks later. Tony and Tamika already have a 2-year-old son named A.J.
The Scotts’ due date is the same day Clemson hosts Notre Dame.
Clemson does not play a road game in between Sept. 17 and late October, though the Tigers are on the road Oct. 24, Oct. 31 and Nov. 14.
Remember, major family events are frowned upon on fall Saturdays. In this case, it’s luck of the draw, with a 14.3 percent chance of breaking the time-honored Southern rule.
3) Scary thought regarding the defensive line: there might be 18 scholarship ends and tackles, but they own a combined total of six career starts.
Defensive tackles D.J. Reader and Carlos Watkins, and defensive end Shaq Lawson, each started one game in 2014. Reader also had three starts in 2013.
“I look at it this way: if you’ve never started, you’re a backup,” defensive ends coach Marion Hobby said. “So all of them are in the same category and they’ll have to fight for those jobs. Nothing is solidified.”
Reader has played 828 career snaps; Lawson has 632 and Watkins 338. The fourth summertime first-teamer, defensive end Kevin Dodd, has played 219 snaps, all off the bench.
“I’ve got confidence in D.J. Reader and Carlos Watkins. Those guys have played a lot of football around here, and never questioned their talent level,” Hobby said. “I think we’re going to get a bunch of push.”
4) We interrupt this assortment of notes and nuggets to bring you an important news bulletin regarding jersey numbers:
Junior safety Jayron Kearse has switched from No. 20 to No. 1. The reason is not yet known, though the opportunity arose when Ebenezer Ogundeko hit the ol’ dusty trail.
Please return to your regularly-scheduled 7 at 7.
5) A reporter asked Elliott about his “new toys” on campus, Tampa-bred athletes Ray-Ray McCloud and Deon Cain.
Neither has participated in a team practice to date.
“Toys you can’t play with. You know you got some Christmas presents, but you can’t touch them,” Elliott said. “It’s been nothing but rave reviews on those guys. They’re going to bring something explosive to our offense.”
Elliott said McCloud “is dynamic, he can do a lot of things”, and will train behind Artavis Scott as the team’s “2” receiver, who makes plays all over the field.
Meanwhile, Cain will work at the “9” position behind Mike Williams as a deep threat.
“(Cain’s) pretty when he walks by you,” Elliott said.
Here’s a fun stat: Cain was listed at 6-1, 190 pounds and ran a 4.4 40-yard dash as the No. 6 WR prospect in the country in 2015. Another talented kid out of Florida once was listed at 6-1, 180 pounds and ran a 4.5 40-yard-dash as the No. 5 WR prospect in the country in 2011.
That kid was Sammy Watkins.
6) Officially, left tackle Mitch Hyatt has been promoted to first-team left tackle on the team’s most recent depth chart released Wednesday.
He is backed up by Eric Mac Lain, the starting left guard who might be looking at the Kalon Davis and Reid Webster role this fall until those other freshmen are ready.
7) Remember, ACC Media Day interviews kick off Monday, with a pair of seniors in Mac Lain and Reader representing Clemson. Mac Lain and Reader are scheduled to meet with print reporters from 2:30-3:10 p.m. and from 3:25-4:05 p.m., with a brief press conference splitting the two time availabilities.
Dabo Swinney speaks with print reporters starting at 9:15 a.m. Tuesday. See you in Pinehurst.