What Are We Hearing: Camp Day 1
One player whose weight stood out Wednesday was star running Travis Etienne, who dropped a few pounds and raised a few questions with his 199-pound physique. Swinney said Thursday that was one of his goals, to trim down. Not being able to have access to the full offseason workout plan because of COVID-19 shutdown also played a role in Etienne's weight.
However, when Swinney spent time watching the school's and the ACC's all-time leading rusher, he said he saw a fast, explosive and knowledgeable Etienne who's primed for another big season.
In video provided to the media by Clemson Athletics, Etienne looked 10 pounds lighter and hit the holes awfully quickly. For the Tigers, it's a great sign that he was there considering the number of stars opting out in college football. Etienne will have one less regular-season game to play out his career, but he's going to still leave numbers that might never be caught.
"He looked unbelievable today," Swinney said. "He's in a good place. I like where he's at."
As is tradition, the first meeting with the media following the opening of fall camp for head coach Dabo Swinney always involves one staple question: What group do you expect to be a surprise this season?
Last season, it was the back seven — namely, the linebackers and safeties. Two years ago it was the running backs. This year it is the cornerbacks — in part due to sophomore Andrew Booth, who's most famous play last season came as he was ejected in the fourth quarter of the Tigers' win at Louisville for throwing a punch. And was forced to ride the equipment truck back to Clemson instead of flying back with the team.
This season, Booth has showed up to camp focused, ready to go and in the best shape of his career.
"We've got maybe the best group of corners we've had since I've been the coach, you know, as far as just, you know, length and speed and now having some experience and the knowledge," Swinney said. "I mean, it's a really, really functional depth. Really, really good group. Yeah, they're healthy and ready to roll and all a great man. I mean, it's, it's a group that I think is going to be one of the real bright spots.