Clemson opened up the first few periods of practice to the media Monday, showing off one area in particular.
The Tigers worked on kickoff returns and coverage on two fields simultaneously, giving a glimpse of the extra focus promised on special teams. Clemson was a middle-of-the-road 52nd on return yardage average last season, and haven’t scored since 2011 with Sammy Watkins. The coverage unit gave up a Power 5-high three scores in 2015.
Running first-team on kickoff returns were sophomores Ray-Ray McCloud and C.J. Fuller. McCloud averaged 31.9 yards per return in seven chances last season, while Fuller mustered 16.9 per in 14 chances. Second-team returners were junior Artavis Scott and redshirt sophomore Adam Choice, while third-team was junior Wayne Gallman and sophomore Mark Fields.
Sophomore Greg Huegel handled first-team kickoffs with sophomore Alex Spence next in line on a coverage unit that struggled a bit still against the return team.
Elsewhere, the Tigers showed off their speed in the tempo drill.
The first-team O-line was comprised (left to right) of sophomore Mitch Hyatt, sophomore Taylor Hearn, senior Jay Guillermo, junior Tyrone Crowder and sophomore Jake Fruhmorgen. The second-team OL was redshirt freshman Noah Green, redshirt freshman walk-on Seth Penner (6-3 320), sophomore Justin Falcinelli, junior Maverick Morris and mid-year freshman Sean Pollard, who was wearing a green jersey for a more limited role in practice.
Zach Giella, a redshirt freshman lineman, and Korrin Wiggins, a redshirt junior DB, were in yellow jerseys for a much more limited practice role.
Kelly Bryant took all of the second-team reps early in practice, which Swinney said afterwards was due to senior Nick Schuessler being in class.
In the running back race, redshirt sophomore Adam Choice and junior Tyshon Dye both got a crack at second-team reps in drills.