Scrimmage Insider: Defense stands out, receivers inconsistent


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Swinney talks to the media after practice
Swinney talks to the media after practice

CLEMSON – The Tigers held a situational scrimmage Wednesday afternoon on the practice fields, and it sounds like the defense controlled the day.

The wide receivers are also alternating between “wow” and “crap” moments.

“Good little situational half scrimmage, half practice,” head coach Dabo Swinney said. “Then, the last half of practice we just did some good-on-good situational work just trying to get them to really think - first down, first down play second down, second down play third down. Sometimes when you scrimmage you don’t get all of the situations that you want. Then we did a third-down rack and a four-down end of the game rack. We put them in a lot of different situations to see where we were after five days.

“We’re repping a lot of guys and have a lot of guys who could truly go play today, I don’t have any doubt about it. We’re trying to give everybody an opportunity and mix and match some of these guys. I threw a curveball to some of them and put them in a couple of different situations that they didn’t think they were going to be in. You’ve got to be ready. I thought we got a little something out of that today just teaching a little bit the mindset that you’ve got to have. If you’re a young guy, you’re not always going to go against a young guy. You might go against Mitch Hyatt.”

Swinney said the Tigers are maybe a little ahead of where they should be.

“We’ve got a lot of things that we’ve got to get better at, but after five days we’re probably where we should be, probably a little ahead, actually,” he said. “Some good and bad on both sides. We missed too many tackles today. We were in good position but just didn’t wrap up. Not enough finishing plays on the outside on some competitive plays. We didn’t block very well on the perimeter. Good things to get on tape that now you can coach.”

No player stood out above the rest.

“Not really. We’ll see the tape. There was good and bad,” Swinney said. “There were some guys that I kind of always know will do good that did good and there are some other guys that I expect to do good that maybe didn’t do as good today. We’ll see the tape and I’m sure there will be a couple of guys who will be graded up a little bit.”

The coaches have concerns about depth in the secondary – Kyler McMichael and Mario Goodrich will add depth over the summer - but Swinney said that group had a good day.

“I think our corners have been exceptional through the five days. If I had to ‘ding, ding, somebody is a winner after five days, ’ I think our corners have won the day.,” he said. “The receivers have been a little inconsistent. You’re playing a lot of guys and you’ve got four different quarterbacks, but I think our corners have had a really good edge to them. I love what I’ve seen out of Trayvon Mullen, A.J. Terrell, Mark Fields. All three of those guys are really progressing and very focused. Making plays on the ball. That group, you better have the right mindset when you line up against that group. I think LeAnthony Williams is making some strides. Then, Brian Dawkins, Jr. is our fifth guy. As a group, they’ve been very solid these first five days.”

He did say the running backs had a good day.

“I really like how we ran the ball today. Adam Choice was exceptional,” Swinney said. “I thought Tavien Feaster had a good day. They all three had some really good runs. That was bright spot today.”

The receivers have to step up.

“Just inconsistent. You go ‘Wow’ and then you go, ‘Crap’. We’ve got to get a few less ‘craps’ and a few more ‘wows.’ Just too inconsistent,” Swinney said. “I love their work ethic. I love their want to. It’s a highly competitive play every single play when you’re going against A.J. and Trayvon and Mark. Those guys want to win every play. Diondre had a big play today - great job, great release, great throw and catch for a touchdown - and then he comes back and doesn’t make the next play. Just consistency. That’s what we’ve got to develop - maturity, confidence. Tee had a great day the other day and not as good of a day today.”

The quarterbacks were just "fine."

"They were all fine today. It was a little windy out there today, but I thought they all had their bright spots and all had some they’d like to have back. That’s a fun group to watch," Swinney said.

John Simpson, Sean Pollard, Gage Cervenka, Matt Bockhorst and Cade Stewart are all working at guard.



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