Matt Connolly

5 observations from Clemson’s latest practice, including a key defender being out

Clemson football held its final open practice of preseason camp on Tuesday, Aug. 21, and the media was allowed to watch the first several periods of the workout. Here are five observations from the media viewing portion of the practice:

Mark Fields is banged up

The senior cornerback was in a yellow jersey and was not working out with the team. Fields has been impressive during preseason camp, according to defensive coordinator Brent Venables and head coach Dabo Swinney. He is battling with Trayvon Mullen and A.J. Terrell for a starting job, as those three have separated themselves from the rest of the cornerback group. There is no word yet as far as what Fields’ injury is.

Bryant goes first

Clemson coaches are going to set a depth chart for the opener against Furman on Wednesday, and senior Kelly Bryant appears likely to be the starting quarterback. Bryant was the first quarterback to take snaps during the hurry-up portion of the practice and went first during all drills. Freshman Trevor Lawrence did sub in with the first team halfway down the field during the hurry-up offense portion of the practice.

Kickoff/Kickoff return notes

Freshman B.T. Potter was with the first team during the kickoff portion of the practice, while Tavien Feaster and Cornell Powell were back deep to return the kickoffs. Feaster and Powell were with the first-team, but Travis Etienne, Amari Rodgers, Justyn Ross, Derion Kendrick and Adam Choice were also returning kicks. Tight end Milan Richard was banged up while blocking during kickoff return and later had ice on his left knee.

Other depth chart notes

Etienne was with the first group at running back during the hurry-up portion, while Feaster was second and Choice was third. Tee Higgins, Rodgers and Hunter Renfrow were the starting receivers. The defensive starters were Clelin Ferrell, Dexter Lawrence, Christian Wilkins, Austin Bryant, Kendall Joseph, Tre Lamar, Isaiah Simmons, Terrell, K’Von Wallace, Tanner Muse and Mullen. The only potential change there could be if Fields is healthy and is able to beat out Terrell.

Quarterbacks look sharp

Bryant was impressive, particularly on short and intermediate throws. He was much more accurate than in the first open practice, which was the last time the media really got a good look at the quarterbacks. Lawrence also had a solid day and clearly has the best arm strength. The quarterbacks were battling wind, and Lawrence was at a different level on the deep passes, effortlessly tossing the ball through the tough conditions. Chase Brice also had a good day, and while he is third on the depth chart, he also looks like a solid option.

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