Swinney recaps first scrimmage

by - Senior Writer -
Swinney recaps first scrimmage

CLEMSON – The Clemson Tigers held a two-hour scrimmage inside of Death Valley Wednesday afternoon, a scrimmage that head coach Dabo Swinney Dabo Swinney
Head Coach
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says shows the improvement of the defense as it enters the second year under coordinator Brent Venables Brent Venables
Defensive Coordinator / Linebackers
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“This was our first full scrimmage, and we will have one more full scrimmage a week from Monday,” Swinney said in the tunnel outside of the locker rooms. “I expect to see a lot of improvement between this time and then. This was a big day to see them. This is kind of the halfway point. I was pretty anxious to see them play. There were a lot of good things. I saw some guys make some nice plays, and I thought our quarterbacks were solid. I thought Cole [Stoudt] was incredibly confident. The backs ran hard.

“But the thing I was most pleased with is defense. We get thin quickly when we get into the second group. We had some guys out today. We were real thin in a couple of areas, but the guys I know could play I thought did a really good job. The thing that is most exciting is how much further along this first scrimmage than we were last year at this time defensively. In particular up front. Just night and day from where we were last spring.”

Swinney said that one player that has stood out is freshman tight end Jordan Leggett continues to impress.

“I would say that Leggett is one guy that has caught my eye,” Swinney said. “Not that I didn’t expect him to be a good player. But he has some poise to him for a high school senior. He is really big – bigger than he was when we recruited him. He made a couple of nice catches today. And he has just been really consistent. Still has a lot to learn, and it’s the same thing with Jay Jay {McCullough]. But Leggett doesn’t look like a guy that’s just got here.”

On the defensive side of the ball, Swinney lauded the play of linebacker Kellen JonesKellen Jones
So. Linebacker
#52 6-1, 215
Houston, TX

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“He is a good football player,” Swinney said. “He is explosive. He plays with a violent edge to him, and he has very good instincts for the ball. He can play either the WILL or the MIKE. He gives us some flexibility there and you can play him at both spots. But all of the linebackers have responded – we have a really good group. But Kellen just shows up, somehow. He has a little bit of that Tig Willard in him in that he can slip through some cracks you don’t think he can get through. But plays like somebody just stole his last $100 bill. That is how he plays and that is a good thing.”

Swinney said the team has put in extra work this spring on special teams in order to shore up a unit that must replace punter/holder/kickoff specialist/tackling machine Spencer BentonSpencer Benton
RS Sr. Punter / Kicker
#13 6-1, 195
Myrtle Beach, SC

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, find a viable second option behind starting kicker Chandler CatanzaroChandler Catanzaro
RS Jr. Punter / Kicker
#39 6-2, 195
Greenville, SC

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and get better in both kickoff returns and kickoff return defense.

“We were inconsistent in our kickoff coverage and it hurt us,” Swinney said of lasts season. “And we weren’t the type of return team that we need to be. In fact, I think it was the first time since I’ve been the coach that we didn’t take one to the house. We want to improve in those areas.”

Swinney said that Bradley PinionBradley Pinion
Fr. Punter
#92 6-6, 230
Concord, NC

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has been working as the backup kicker, has looked good on punts and kickoffs and is practicing as the holder. Corbin JenkinsCorbin Jenkins
RS So. Kicker
#32 5-10, 175
Conway, SC

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has stepped in at kicker and is holding, and receiver Daniel RodriguezDaniel Rodriguez
RS Fr. Wide Receiver
#83 5-8, 175
Stafford, VA

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is also holding.”

Other notes

*The offensive line is missing the stability of right tackle Giff Timothy-who suffered an injury in the bowl game- but Swinney said Timothy was close to being able to contribute.

“Giff, he’s going to be okay. He’s fine,” Swinney said. “He is pretty much able to do everything and stuff like that. Giff doesn’t get the credit that he deserves. He really brings some stability to us and today was a perfect example. We just don’t quite have the continuity on the offensive line.”

*Swinney said that offensive line transplant Eric Mac LainEric Mac Lain
RS Fr. Tight End
#88 6-4, 260
Hope Mills, NC

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is a work in progress but has improved since bowl practice.

“The thing about Mac is that he’ll do some really good things and then take a step back,” Swinney said. “He’ll take four steps forward and then take a step back, but the thing you’ve got to remember about this guy is that he got moved to the offensive line in the middle of the season. He had never sat in a meeting with them because he was a tight end. His whole world changed. His first opportunity to be trained as an offensive lineman was in bowl practice when he really got a lot of work. He’s a really good work in progress.”

*Wide receiver Martavis BryantMartavis Bryant
So. Wide Receiver
#1 6-5, 200
Calhoun Falls, SC

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is holding himself accountable on and off the field, and Swinney said that it shows in his grades and on the football field.

“We did an accountability run after practice today, and his team didn’t have to run today,” Swinney said. “That’s a long way of giving him a compliment. I’ve had nothing on him- January, February and we’re almost out of March. It’s been almost three months and I have not had boo from him- not one thing in any area. I’m proud of him. He’s never been this consistent and it’s showing up on the field as well.”

*Swinney said offensive lineman Spencer RegionSpencer Region
RS Fr. Offensive Guard
#74 6-5, 360
Cullman, AL

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has stagnated and needs to recommit himself if he wants to see playing time.

“Just stagnant. He’s just stagnant,” Swinney said. “He has plenty of ability. That’s not an issue. It’s just a matter of him being fully committed. That’s just the bottom line. That’s another good kid. He’s a good kid with a lot of ability, but he just has not quite made the full commitment to be a consistent player and win the opportunity that he wants.”

*Following the scrimmage, I heard that Mac Lain and Patrick DeStefanoPatrick DeStefano
Fr. Offensive Line
#71 6-5, 275
Roebuck, SC

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spent a good deal of time at left tackle, instead of Isaiah BattleIsaiah Battle
Fr. Offensive Tackle
#79 6-6, 280
St. George, VA

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. I also head that both centers – Ryan NortonRyan Norton
RS Fr. Offensive Line
#58 6-3, 270
Mauldin, SC

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and Jay GuillermoJay Guillermo
Fr. Center
#57 6-3, 290
Maryville, TN

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– acquitted themselves well.


Boyd 5-11 55 yards TD,INT

Stoudt 6-9 113 yards 2 TD, INT

Kelly 8-14 71 yards 2 TD


R. McDowell 5-58

D.J. HowardD.J. Howard
RS So. Running Back
#22 5-11, 195
Lincoln, AL

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Z. Brooks 8-39

C.J. Davidson 7-70 TD


S. Watkins 3-25

G. Hopper 2-24

M. Bryant 3-46 2 TD

J. Leggett 2-44 TD

S. Seckinger 2-12

S. Cooper 1-25 TD

Andrew MaassAndrew Maass
RS So. Wide Receiver
#82 6-4, 185
Ridgeway, SC

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4-75 TD

Defense (tackles)

Taylor WatsonTaylor Watson
RS So. Safety
#47 5-11, 205
Simpsonville, SC

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Shuey 5

R. Smith 5

D. Stewart 5

M. Bullard 5


Jarrett 1

Shuey 1

Jones 1


Shuey 1

Blanks 1

C. Watkins 1

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