CLEMSON FOOTBALL

Dabo Swinney disappointed with the defense, expects Adam Randall to play this week

Dabo Swinney disappointed with the defense, expects Adam Randall to play this week


by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – Clemson heads into another game week relatively healthy, with two players possibly expected back soon, something that pleases head coach Dabo Swinney. What he’s not pleased with is the play of his defense against Furman.

Swinney held his Sunday night teleconference a short while ago and said that while he was pleased with having two wins, his team needs to put four quarters together.

"I am proud of our guys on a short week, playing two games in five days. We did a lot of good things individually but we still have a lot of work to do,” Swinney said. “We have to put four quarters together, that's for sure. If we are going to compete for this league (title), we have to do better and play more complementary football. Hopefully we will have a good full week of practice and make some strides.

"Four or five drives to start the first half were touchdowns. We kind of stalled there in the second half. We had penalties, big drops, an interception and the time of possession with the other team defensively we did a poor job of getting the ball back. We had 59 plays, so we were efficient (5.2 a carry and 10.5 a completion).”

He was pleased with the play of quarterback DJ Uiagalelei.

“DJ took another step forward. We had three drops,” Swinney said. “We did some good things and missed some things, too. No sacks on the offensive line. We only had three negative yards. We just have to keep building.”

The defense allowed the Paladins to convert on third down too often for Swinney’s liking.

"Defensively just disappointed. They were 2-of-16 on third down Monday night and 10-of-18 yesterday. Obviously we did not play screens and the quick game well at all,” Swinney said. “Just a poor start. I did not like how we played defensively at all. We were outstanding in the red zone and goal line. We did create two turnovers, so there are some positives. We did compete, but a tale of two games defensively. We didn't play with the juice that we did Monday night. I'm thankful we have a good week to coach and teach.

"A lot of good individual things but still a lot of room for improvement. And we'll need to do that going forward. We want to give Furman a lot of credit, too. They had a good plan. We didn't do the little things right. We didn't hold leverage and compete and challenge the receivers like we needed to. We turned some guys loose and busted. It'll make us better. I know who we are. I saw it Monday night. We did not play anywhere near what I expect and what I know we are capable of. That was disappointing. Too many easy throws and easy access. Nothing that we cannot fix."

Swinney said there were a few guys banged up but nothing serious. He then said that defensive end Xavier Thomas is in a good place but doesn’t know if Thomas will suit up this week. Freshman wide receiver Adam Randall, however, should be cleared to play.

“I think he is going to be green-lighted and ready to go. It will be good to get him back,” Swinney said of Randall. “We'll have him on some type of pitch count, I'm sure. He will be cleared to play this week. I'm excited about getting him back in the fold. He's tough. He's a big, strong, body. I'm thankful he was able to get a lot of spring practice in. He does have a visual of what it looks like and what he can do. He just has to work his way back into good playing shape. He brings a great competitiveness. He's a big, strong, body who can run. He's not going to make us worse, that's for sure. I don't expect him to show up and be in midseason form either. We have to be smart with him."

On the play of Uiagalelei and if it was his best game since freshman season

"Probably. Statistically. He finished well last year. He did some good things down the stretch last year. He is making plays with his legs, too. Just confident. Good poise in the pocket. We had some good plays down the field, which is a part of our offense we struggled with last year. Nine of our last 11 drives from Georgia Tech (second half) to begin yesterday's game we scored, so that's a positive. I like what DJ is doing. Definitely super proud of D.J. in how he is competing and leading."

On what the offensive line has to do to get better

“They took another step this week. We were 5.2 a carry. We just have to keep playing. It will be nice to have a full week of practice this week. The more tape you have of live action, you can improve. We've given up one sack in two games. We've done some good things there. DJ has gotten more confident in the pocket. We have to keep playing and working together."

On if freshman right tackle Blake Miller improved

"Yep. He did. He's not going to win the Outland Trophy just yet but he played better. I was proud of him. He made some really good strides. That's what I wanted to see. He's a very talented young man and has a lot of bright days ahead. He cares a lot. A really good, winning performance."

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