Clemson Holds Stadium Scrimmage


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AUDIO: Dabo Swinney after scrimmage

CLEMSON - Tajh Boyd threw two touchdown passes to pace the offense and Corico Hawkins had eight tackles to lead the defense during a two-hour scrimmage for the Clemson football team in Memorial Stadium on Saturday. It was the final stadium scrimmage prior to next Saturday’s Orange & White Game. That contest will kickoff at 4:00 PM on April 9 at Memorial Stadium.

“It was a very competitive scrimmage,” said Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney. “It was our best day of the spring. I saw positives on both sides. The offense did well in terms of running the ball, but the defense only gave up one touchdown when the offense had to go more than 25 yards. The kicking game was improved also.

“Tajh Boyd has continued to improve, and the game is slowing down for him. He has a bit of false security when wearing the purple jersey (quarterbacks are not tackled), and I need to break him of that, but he is improving. He made some very good decisions today.

“Overall the tempo on offense was good. We are improving in that area.

“The defense really competed today. Corey Crawford had an 87-yard fumble return, and caused and recovered another fumble. He really played well.”

Crawford’s playing time increased this week when Andre Branch returned to his home to be with his family after the death of his grandfather.

Hawkins led the defense with eight tackles, while Rashard Hall added seven. Tig Willard had six tackles, a pass broken up and an interception. Josh Watson had two tackles for loss, while Crawford had a tackle for loss and a pass deflection to go with his two fumble recoveries. Justin Parker had five tackles, including a sack.

Boyd completed 8-16 passes for 129 yards and two scores. He completed a 20-yard scoring pass to DeAndre Hopkins, a pass that culminated a seven play, 65-yard scoring rive. He also completed a three-yard touchdown pass to red-shirt freshman tight end Sam Cooper in a goal line situation. Boyd also had 10 rushes for 14 yards.

Swinney was asked if the offensive personnel were finally grasping new offensive coordinator Chad Morris’ tempo, and he said yes.

“The tempo is excellent,” Swinney said. “Yesterday's practice was probably the best tempo we've had on spring. It's really good in this setting today because you have the officials and it's game-like. I think we had only one substitution issue today. The guys are doing a good job in picking everything up. Tempo-wise they understand what we have to do. Same thing with our defense. They are doing a really good job playing at that tempo and that's the hardest thing for a defense to do. I'm pleased where we are from that standpoint.”

The top receiver in terms of catches was senior Marquan Jones, who had four catches for 44 yards. Jaron Brown had two rushes for 26 yards, a 30-yard reception and a 20-yard punt return. Hopkins finished with two catches for 43 yards.

The ground game was strong as D.J. Howard (19-85), Demont Buice (13-59), Rod McDowell (8-36) and Brown (2-26) combined for 206 yards in 42 attempts.

Rod McDowell has had two or three good days in a row,” Swinney said. “Buice had some big runs. D.J. Howard is really, really improving. I think he's going to be one of those guys we look up a few years from now and say 'man this guy is a really good player.' He's got all the tools you like to see and he's really fast. We are doing a good job but they are all rookies basically. They play with all the groups and they have a good competition. They did a good job handling the ball. Rod turned one over today but D.J. and Demont did a good job handling it.”

Chandler Catanzaro had a strong day kicking as he connected on four of five field goals, including a 40-yarder at the end of a two-minute drill that culminated a simulated game winning drive situation.

Swinney said that with a week left in spring practice, there is still plenty of competition for starting spots.

”There's a lot of competition going on. I don't know who our backup right tackle is. Competition at left tackle. [Mason] Cloy is competing with those centers and guards. He wants to be a starter. You've got backs competing. Wide outs competing. Competition at linebacker. You've got some of those guys trying to compete to be the backup defensive tackles. Competition in the secondary.

“We've got more than four guys. There are a bunch of guys that are going to play and that's a good thing. And then at kicker- Catman had a good day out there today. He's had one really poor day and that was our last scrimmage before the break but he came back and had a really good day today. The backup kicker - who is that going to be? Competition at long snapper. We don't have a lot of guys feeling a lot of comfort out here, that's for sure.”


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