A Look at What Clemson's Non-Conference Opponents Did In Shortened Spring Football

Brad Senkiw

Clemson's non-conference opponents, like their ACC foes, didn't get much football in during the spring before the COVID-19 outbreak shut down collegiate sports earlier this month. 

Here's a look at what those four teams did, or did do, with their shortened spring football sessions:

Akron Zips

What they accomplished: The Zips had just finished winter workouts and had not even begun spring practice before the shutdown. Akron, which was supposed to play a spring game on April 18, comes to Clemson in Week 3 this fall.

Spring impact: This was the worst team in FBS a season ago, finishing with an 0-12 record and dead last in scoring offense nationally. The Zips were 122nd in scoring defense, so Akron needed a spring practice just to wash away such a poor season.

The Citadel Bulldogs

What they accomplished: Clemson’s lone FCS opponent completed nearly all of its allotted practices complete, including its annual spring game. That was played March 7 under XFL rules. It made for a different kind of game but one that the Bulldogs greatly enjoyed. The White team beat the Navy team 13-12 on a two-point conversion stop.

Spring impact: Citadel head coach Brent Thompson had over 90 players practicing, so developing depth was the primary goal. Thompson hopes that will lead to a run at the Southern Conference title in 2020. Starting quarterback Brandon Rainey was purposely limited so other young players could work on their games.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

What they accomplished: One practice. That’s is. The Irish’s only team workout came on March 5, right before spring break. By the time they were supposed to reconvene March 17, they weren’t allowed back on campus. They had planned to end with the Blue-Gold Spring game on April 18.

Spring impact: The Irish offense greatly needed time to break in new offensive coordinator Tommy Rees and develop playmakers in the passing game. The defense, meanwhile, has to replace four captains on that side of the ball, and spring is a good time to build leadership. Notre Dame, a preseason top-15 caliber squad, will have to play catchup in key areas.

South Carolina Gamecocks

What they accomplished: Will Muschamp and several new staff members got on the practice field five times before spring break came. They were scheduled to start back right before the SEC canceled spring activities, leaving a team that went 4-8 a season ago with a lot of unfinished work.

Spring impact: Clemson's in-state rival went into the spring looking to develop an offensive identity behind new OC Mike Bobo. Even without a 100-percent healthy QB room, the Gamecocks needed more practices to install Bobo’s plan. The defense is looking to replace three starters up front and break in two new coaches at D-line and linebacker. Some work is better than none, but the Gamecocks are certainly behind schedule. 

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