Wednesday Scrimmage Insider: Defense wins the day over mistake-prone offense

by - Senior Writer -
KJ Henry had a good day during Wednesday's scrimmage
KJ Henry had a good day during Wednesday's scrimmage

CLEMSON – Clemson’s young defense won the day in Wednesday’s stadium scrimmage over the veteran offense.

The Tigers scrimmaged for over two hours inside Death Valley Wednesday, the last practice of the spring before next week’s spring break. It was a day won by the defense.

“It was good in parts. This is the first time we've had a full scrimmage,” head coach Dabo Swinney said. “We've had some situational work and had a half-scrimmage Saturday, and I thought defensively they had a really good energy today and I thought they won the day. Good to see some guys with a little different mindset than I've seen in some of the past competitive situations.

“The flip side, offensively, I just didn't think they had great energy today. I think some of them were already in Cabo or Cancun or whatever cruise boat they are going on. That was the mindset of the offense today. Sloppy. Bad snaps. Drops. Fumbles. Missed throws. Penalties. Just a sloppy day offensively, which is not indicative of how they've practiced.”

Swinney said the bad day was not typical of how the offense has performed this spring.

“It's been a really good eight days leading up to today, but offensively I thought they were way below average,” he said. “And give the defense credit for that. Their energy, the offense didn't match it. It wasn't as competitive as it should have been. Except the offense won the day on short yardage, and they won the day in the red zone. But overall, nowhere near what we've gotta be able to do or what we're capable of doing and what we've done most of the spring. Just a very average day on offense.”

Field goals are also an issue.

“We're not very consistent on field goals right now. We are way too inconsistent,” Swinney said. “You can't be a 50-percent free throw shooter, we've gotta be a whole lot better. Still a work in progress in a lot of areas. It's amazing when you get in this stadium how all of a sudden things can change. It's a different deal when you get over here and get out of everybody's way. But there were a lot of good things. We looked like a sloppy football team today.”

The coaching staff worked wide receiver Derion Kendrick at cornerback.

“We worked DK over there today. We have a bunch of corners down,” Swinney said. “We always take somebody and cross-train them and get them ready. We started him over there Monday, and then today he got the scrimmage work and did a good job and had a big interception and competed and did a really nice job. AJ (Terrell) had an interception. I really enjoyed watching the guys inside compete.

“Ruk (Orhorhoro), ET (Etinosa Rueben), Darnell (Jefferies), Tyler Davis, Xavier Kelly - just seeing that group compete better. They just looked more functional today. KJ Henry made some nice plays today. I thought (James) Skalski stood out. He was a guy. Shaq (Smith) made some really good plays. He's really made some improvement. There were some positives on the offensive side as well. Lyn-J (Dixon) continues to splash. I thought (Tavien) Feaster ran the ball well, and I thought Chase (Brice) made a couple of nice plays. But overall not a lot of highlights on the offensive side. “

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