Clemson, SC—Kavell Conner and Brandon May each had eight tackles to key the defense in Clemson’s first scrimmage of the preseason on Tuesday morning. The Tigers held the scrimmage in Clemson Memorial stadium, the first of three preseason stadium scrimmages for Dabo Swinney’s Tigers.
Four quarterbacks worked in the scrimmage that was 87 plays in length before the team went into a short-yardage situation drill. Kyle Parker completed 8-18 passes for 97 yards and a touchdown, a 39-yard scoring pass to tight end Durell Barry. Willy Korn was 4-9 for 41 yards, while Mike Wade was 4-7 for 49 yards. Freshman Taj Boyd, who worked with the third offense against the third defense, was sharp and completed 7-10 passes for 70 yards.
Two red-shirt freshmen were the top receivers on the day. Brandon Ford had five catches for 60 yards and Jaron Brown added 3-48. The tight ends were prominent during the scrimmage catching a combined eight passes. Michael Palmer had four catches for 33 yards, while Barry finished with 2-60. Drew Traylor had two catches for 13 yards as well.
C.J. Spiller was the top rusher with 10 carries for 60 yards and he also added a seven yard pass reception. Jamie Harper had three rushes for 18 yards, while Rendrick Taylor added 4-17.
The defense played well, allowing just one touchdown all day, the 39 yard scoring pass from Parker to Barry. Conner had a tackle for loss to go with his eight tackles. Jarvis Jenkins was the top tackler up front with five stops, including a tackle for loss. Ricky Sapp had two sacks to pace the defensive ends. There were two interceptions by the defense, one by Xavier Brewer and one by Carlton Lewis.
Richard Jackson had the best day among the placekickers. The former Parade All-American was 4-5 on field goals, including a 50 yarder. He did miss an extra point, however.
Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney gave mixed reviews in his post practice press conference. “We did some things well, but we still have a long way to go,” said Swinney. “The defense is definitely ahead of the offense that this point and you see that at this point in preseason. But, we had way too many penalties and mistakes on offense.
“This was a day to evaluate personnel and that had something to do with our problems. We wanted to look at a lot of film on these players to make evaluations.
“We have a chance to be pretty salty on defense. The defense has really bought into what Coach (Kevin) Steele is trying to do. When I look out there I don’t see a lot of difference between the “Swarm” and the “Attack” defenses. That is a good sign, it shows we have some depth on that side of the ball.
“One of the highlights for the offense was the play of freshman receivers Jaron Brown and Brandon Ford. They are improving. The tight ends did well today also.”
There were no new injuries reported after the scrimmage. Receivers Brandon Clear and Jacoby Ford missed the scrimmage with injuries. Offensive tackle J.K. Jay will have season ending surgery on Wednesday.
Clemson will be back on the practice fields for two practices on Wednesday.