First bowl practice in the books

CLEMSON - Dabo Swinney wasn't too pleased with what he saw on the first day of bowl practice.



"The biggest thing I saw was a team that hadn't practiced in two weeks. It was sloppy," he said. "I'm really pretty disappointed with the first day…it's going to take a lot better focus and a lot better energy than what we had today."

He added, "I was just a little disappointed with the focus of a few guys. There are a lot of guys that did a great job. In a team setting, it only takes but a few to really be a distraction and bring you down.

"Just kind of the cobwebs of getting back going syndrome, but I'm glad to get back out on the field and get back started with it."

Swinney said the next seven days will be critical for Clemson as the Tigers prepare to take on LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on the 31st.

"This is will be a huge week. There's a lot going on for the coaches and the players. We've got a lot to balance," Swinney said.

Between practice and meetings, players will be taking final exams. Coaches will continue to hit the recruiting trail as the contact period continues through the 15th.

"It's just a lot to juggle this week," Swinney said. "It's very important, between now and next Saturday, that we get a lot done."

Decisions, decisions…

Over the last few months, most have speculated that DeAndre Hopkins will forgo his final season at Clemson and enter the NFL.

Though Hopkins wouldn't comment about his decision after Saturday's practice, Swinney did.

"I don't know what he's going to do," Swinney said. "I, personally, think he'll be back to Clemson. But we'll see. That's a decision he'll have to make at the right time."

Contact in practice…

Players were in shells during Saturday's practice, so there was a "pretty fair amount" of hitting.

"We don't want to rush back and do any live-type drills your first day," Swinney said. "We'll ramp it up over the next few days. We'll have quite a few days of live work over the next couple of weeks, full-speed tackling to the ground -- the whole deal."

Super freshman…

On Friday, freshman defensive back Travis Blanks was named second-team freshman All-America by FoxSportsNext.com.

Blanks, who started eight games this season, has 49 tackles, six pass breakups and two tackles for loss.

"Sometimes, you just forget he's a true freshman," Swinney said. "He's just like a sponge. He's been there, done that, the experience factor, the knowledge, he's just grown immensely since he got here."

After this season, Blanks will move from the nickel back position to safety.

"He's got great range, good ball skills, a hitter and highly competitive," Swinney said. "I think his future is very bright -- a good start for him."

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