Defending national champs start fall camp

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Friday, Aug. 2, 2019

CLEMSON, S.C. — Less than four weeks away from its season opener, Clemson hit the practice fields at the Allen N. Reeves Football Complex on Friday for its first practice of fall camp.

Per program custom under Head Coach Dabo Swinney, players and coaches were greeted by the sound of Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back In Town” over the speakers as practice commenced. The soundtrack was befitting a group excited to return to work and take the next step in its 2019 journey.

“This is always just so much fun to get back on the field doing what we love to do,” Swinney said.

Clemson enters the season ranked atop the Coaches Poll released by USA Today on Thursday, a first in program history. But for those claiming that Clemson has now become “the hunted” in college football, Swinney contends Clemson has been targeted for opponents’ best shot for a while now.

“That’s just kind of business as usual. We’ve had eight 10-plus-win seasons in a row. Every time we show up to play, that other team wants to beat us,” Swinney said. “That’s not anything new this year. So for us, we have a process we go through every year, and it doesn’t start now, it started back in January. We’re just entering a different phase of our journey for this 2019 team.”

Clemson opens camp with freshmen and sophomores comprising 80 members of its 120-man roster. But though Swinney has called his 2019 squad young, it’s a group that received the benefit of quality experience a year ago as Clemson led all AP Top 25 squads by averaging 72.5 players per game.