CLEMSON — Clemson coaches spoke of depth concerns at a number of positions Tuesday, with the quarterback position the latest to carry more questions beyond starter Tajh Boyd.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said No. 2 quarterback Cole Stoudt is dealing with swelling in his left knee, a chronic condition which could eventually require surgery.
Swinney told reporters Stoudt has suffered swelling in his knee since he broke his leg in high school. While the swelling is typically minimal it became more severe since spring practice. Swinney said the sophomore’s condition has improved recently but that it will likely eventually require surgery to repair.
Clemson’s quarterback depth already took a hit this offseason when reserve quarterback Tony McNeal tore an ACL in the spring game in April.
Stoudt was the No. 2 quarterback to Boyd last year though he was being pushed by Morgan Roberts in spring practice.
If Stoudt’s condition worsens, it could allow for incoming freshman quarterback Chad Kelly to charge up the depth chart.
Even if Stoudt is healthy enough to play, Kelly might not redshirt as he said offensive coordinator Chad Morris had discussed using him speciality packages to utilize his mobility.
Clemson also has depth issues at running back, particularly following the departure of Mike Bellamy.
Running backs coach Tony Elliott said freshman Zac Brooks will play as a freshman, and the staff is grooming him to play more as a between-the -tackles power back.
Brooks is 190 pounds and the staff is hoping he can get up to 210 pounds. Brooks, who played running back and receiver in high school, can also play a role in the passing game.
Running back depth hurt Clemson in the second half of last season when starter Andre Ellington was sidelined.
Elliott said he will limit Ellington’s work in training camp in order to better keep him healthy.
Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables was asked Tuesday if he was concerned about his lack of proven players at defensive end. Venables simply answered, “Yes.”
Swinney also said defensive end was his primary concern on defense as only Malliciah Goodman, Corey Crawford and Victor Beasley return with playing experience. Crawford did not play much as a true freshman and Beasley is trying to bulk up his light frame.
Clemson offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell said talented freshman center Jay Guillermo will likely redshirt ... Clemson will have a nutritionist working with the team to coordinate meals for its new training table.