There were a handful of notable comments from Coach Swinney’s Sunday teleconference.
On the injury front, running back Will Shipley did not tear his ACL. The injury looked pretty gruesome, but Coach Swinney said it was actually something with his tibia and not his ACL and that he could be back in 3-4 weeks. That means in a best-case scenario he may only miss the Boston College and Syracuse games. If the Tigers can survive Boston College without him, they could be in the thick of the ACC Atlantic race when he returns.
Bryan Bresee did not get such good news. His ACL is torn and he will miss the rest of the season. Bresee was already playing through a shoulder injury that will require surgery so he will go ahead and get that taken care of now and should be 100% next season. The Tigers are now without their two starting defensive tackles. Defensive End Justin Foster will take some snaps at defensive tackle to help with depth, but it sounds like Ruke Ohorhoro and Tre Williams will be the starters.
The report on James Skalski was vague but positive:
Swinney: Skalski will be fine. #Clemson— SportsTalk Media Network (@sportstalksc) September 26, 2021
In addition to injury updates, Coach Swinney was asked directly about the transfer portal. Matt Connelly asked if there was ever any thought of taking an experienced offensive lineman from the transfer portal:
“No. There was nobody out there that we looked at.” - Coach Swinney
Anna Hickey asked a follow-up question to see if he would reconsider that approach in the future.
“We’re always looking for the best player. The reason some for these guys left our program is because we had better guys that were starters for us and were younger players. So we’re always looking for the very best player. We like the guys that we signed. We’ve got some youth. We’ve got some inexperience... Marcus Tate, Dietrick Pennington, and Tristan. Those guys are going to be great players, and we’d sign them all over again. Linthicum. It’s going to be a great group, they’re just young. I think there is a balance.”
“You’re always evaluating everything you do. But the biggest thing just depends on who is the best player, and how the transfer situation impacts [things]. We’re not even a year into the transfer situation. That’s going to force everybody. If guys leave in the spring, you can’t sign high school kids in the spring. In college football that’s going to happen moving forward. There’s no question. It happened last year. It is going to happen moving forward, because you can. Again, you’re always evaluating and trying to get better, but you don’t panic or flinch because you’re having a bad moment. We’re literally a couple plays away from being 4-0, albeit an ugly 4-0, but it would be a heck of a lot better than 2-2.
From these comments it sounds like Clemson may reluctantly take transfers in occasional situations when a player leaves in the spring, but it also leaves one to wonder how this season could be different if they had landed an experienced interior O-lineman. Perhaps there weren’t any interested individuals in the portal; time will tell how Clemson’s approach changes moving forward.
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