CLEMSON -- Some of the freshmen coming off the field in Saturday's 43-19 win over Troy looked like they had seen ghosts, according to defensive coordinator Kevin Steele. Linebacker Stephone Anthony was not among those wide-eyed after his first Division I game experience.
On one particular play, coach Dabo Swinney saw a wheel route developing and was concerned his freshman middle linebacker would be caught staring into the backfield and miss the running back slip out as a receiver. Anthony played it perfectly, blanketing the running back in coverage. On another occasion, Anthony was seen jumping up and down on the field, screaming out a play call to more veteran players. Steele's one minor correction: you don't need to jump, it doesn't make you yell any louder.
Anthony's rare football IQ was evident in the second week of August camp when he was moved from weak-side to middle linebacker, where a player is responsible for making playcalls and positioning the front seven in Steele's complex defense.
"It's very complex," Anthony said of learning the middle linebacker position. "It's a focus you have to have. You have to have the will. You have to want to do it. You have to want to understand the defense. I put in the time. I really put the work in."
While he is not yet starting like fellow true freshman Sammy Watkins on offense, Anthony, working with the second team, appears to be equal to if not exceeding the five-star hype. The 6-2, 230-pound Anthony has the physical gifts to match his football IQ. He recorded his first sack Saturday, showing outstanding closing speed. Said Swinney: "(Anthony) moved from Point A to Point B like a rocket."
Count Swinney among those who did not like the Maryland's new alternate jerseys which debuted in a win against Miami on Monday night. "That wouldn't fly at Clemson," Swinney said. It should be noted Clemson has gone with an all-purple look in recent years.
Hall likely out
Swinney was vague when addressing safety Rashard Hall's knee injury, saying there was a "defect" in the knee that will likely eventually require surgery. Swinney said there is no swelling in the knee and Hall said the pain is manageable. Swinney is leaning toward sitting Hall against Wofford. Freshman Robert Smith or Carlton Lewis could start in Hall's place.
Swinney was asked if anything was said to RB Mike Bellamy after the freshman dropped the ball near the goal line at the end of his 75-yard touchdown run vs. Troy. Said Swinney: "There was a lot said."