This is the only time that we get to hear from Assistant Coaches, here are my takeaways. (Excuse the choppiness, I'm trying to get it out as quickly as possible)
Isaiah Battle is only 277 lbs. and Caldwell wants him to work on eating more. Sigh...
Coach Caldwell was quick to defend Joey Batson and the staff as the best in the business but what do you expect the guy to say? Caldwell framed Eric MacClain starting and sticking at Guard as MacClain needing to stick with one position and get comfortable before moving him all around. Great line but it confirms what we have been hearing that MacClain has lost some foot speed and isn't an option at RT heading into the Georgia game.
Gore is up to 290 but is still inconsistent, especially with his hands. He will be the guy at RT heading into camp--that makes me nervous. Caldwell says he has improved but you don't throw your best guard in Kalon Davis out to RT for no reason. Gore has always had the physical tools but I am worried about the confidence and mental make-up when the lights go on between the hedges.
Kalon Davis came back in great shape from Japan, which is great to hear and Caldwell was saying he could be a back-up at LT or RT. Yep, we have recruited zero Tackle depth in the past two-three years.
Anthony is at 285 but still can't punch or run block. Tired of hearing he was a pass blocker in high school--that was what, close to 4 years ago? A lifetime in football years.
Coach Elliott was throwing out some serious optimism about Tyshon Dye. He is up to 215 and supposedly could be back by mid-October. Color me extremely skeptical. It takes 6-9 months to even recover from the surgery, let alone make any sort of cuts. Sure he could run in a straight line but this would be another medical miracle and rush job by our training staff if this was allowed. I'm hoping this is just good vibes being sent his way and to the team. Better plan is to try and get Dye a 6th year of eligibility through a medical hardship with the NCAA.
is at 208 pounds. Wow--he is already surpassed all the existing RB on scholarship with little to no help from S&C. If he is that big already he may get a crack at playing this fall. Elliott was talking up his combination of size, speed and pass catching.
Germone Hopper is working his way back on to the team. He is on his last legs with the staff but Jeff Scott sounded optimistic that he would play in the fall. He is back with the team this summer.
Love me some Coach Brooks. Coach Brooks says Carlos Watkins is just getting himself back to where he was after Georgia and NC State games. Reminded everyone that he was starting in those games as a true Sophomore over some really talented guys on the D-line but has been inconsistent in his recovery (which is to be expected). Brooks really likes his guys and wants to roll ten Dlineman this year--5 inside, 5 outside. Happy they are no longer close to being considered the weak link. Thought Safety Robert Smith was consistent and the young CB's, although they haven't played a snap, are very talented.
With regards to his own guys, Brooks had high praise for Scott Pagano and it will be "hard to keep him off the field this year." Sounds like last year Pagano was definitely going to avoid a redshirt but then got injured. It is important for future of Dline depth that Pagano play this year needs to get at least 100 snaps this year. Brooks is optimistic that DJ Reader could have a breakout year with his focus entirely on football. Reader started camp off slow but came on in the end. He weighs 325 right now.
Brooks sees something in Jabril Robinson who is at 250 right now. Likes his strong lower body and thinks he can develop into a 3-tech. I'm still skeptical but its Dan Brooks and I will definitely defer to his judgement.
Mackensie Alexander to Brent Venables:
"I am going to prove it to you coach. Just watch."
If you remember i kept saying last year that Mac Alexander was my favorite incoming true freshman and that he and Shaq Lawson would play in the opener against Georgia. Of course, Alexander got injured but he is the starter heading into the fall and it is not even close. But we were absolutely right that he would eventually become the starter. Venables talked about wanting to see him play through adversity, i.e. they are trying to keep pushing Alexander as much as possible, although he is the clear starter. Now the question is who lines up beside him.
You get the sense that everyone likes Martin Jenkins and what he brings to the table in terms of toughness. Venables said he is "fearless and skilled" but the coaches are worried about his history of injury. Sounds like Venables wants him playing as the Nickel back. That is a crowded competition though--Jenkins, Wiggins, Blanks and even Dorian O'Daniel will compete for time. Spoke positively about O'Daniel having a "bright future" at Clemson.
Robert Smith got singled out as the most consistent DB "by a long-shot" this offseason. I think this is less a ringing endorsement of Smith as a great player than it is an indictment on the rest of the Safeties to mentally lock down the position (Jayron Kearse). I'm hoping this is a lot of motivational speak for Kearse. His back-up is TJ Green and it looks like he will stick at Safety (where I said he should have been all along) and has "really come on". But don't expect him to take many snaps from Smith.
Jadar Johnson and Jayron Kearse are legitimately battling every day. (yikes.)
Kellen Jones has looked good in his return from ACL surgery, he gives added flexibility to the LB's with his ability to play multiple positions.
Tony Steward is up to 237 pounds and has added 6-7 pounds of pure muscle. I can confirm this, the man looks ripped recently. Venables is high on the leadership from both Anthony and Steward who have solidified themselves as the starters and leaders of the group "willingly and unwillingly".
The progress of Steward, Ben Boulware, and Cordrea Tankersly has "taken off like a rocket ship...they just became different players."
Coach Swinney says defense has 'swagger" this year coming from last season. (should have just used swag)
I will update this page as I get more info typed up throughout the day.