Swinney faces autograph questions after first full pads practice

CLEMSON, S.C. (WACH) - On a day when Clemson went to full pads for the first time in fall camp, head coach Dabo Swinney found himself fielding questions about the dangers of signing autographs.

The subject has been placed under intense scrutiny since ESPN reported the NCAA is investigating Heisman winner Johnny Manziel for getting paid to sign autographs. It has led to other schools being asked questions about whether their players were ever paid for signatures.

Items signed by the likes of quarterback Tajh Boyd, receiver Sammy Watkins, and USC star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney are up for auction and easy to find on online sites like eBay.

However, just because a player signs something doesn't mean he has violated an NCAA bylaw. Fans and memorabilia brokers can easily auction off signed items for personal gain and players never see a penny of the proceeds.

Athletics officials at both Clemson and South Carolina say they constantly monitor situations like these and have found no instances of wrongdoing by their athletes.

Still, Swinney say he uses cases like these as "teaching moments" to instruct his players on how to behave properly so they don't find themselves in any kind of trouble.

The learning process on the field amped up for the first time Wednesday as well when the Tigers strapped on full gear for the first time after four days of conditioning and system installation.

"We had some wins on both sides and some losses on both sides of the ball, but we had some consequences today for when they lost," Swinney said. "For the first day, I thought they competed hard and got better as the day went and finished really strong."

One of the early highlights of the day came in the team's Paw Drill, which is known elsewhere as the Oklahoma Drill, where a running back lines up behind three blockers, and goes head-to-head against three defenders in a confined space.

"Our practices are tough every day," said Swinney. "Regardless of what were doing from a tempo standpoint. We mentally tax these guys every single day, and they better have football focus when they step on this field because thats just our practice environment."

Clemson returns to the practice field Thursday for the sixth of its 28 preseason practices. They will practice twice on Friday before holding the first stadium scrimmage of fall camp pm Saturday morning.