Swinney can't hide his smile after scrimmage in Death Valley
Swinney talks to the media Saturday.

Swinney can't hide his smile after scrimmage in Death Valley

by - Staff Writer -

Any day in the Valley is a good day.

The Clemson football team scrimmaged for two hours inside Death Valley Saturday, and head coach Dabo Swinney couldn’t hide the smile on his face after watching a few hours of college football.

“It was fun to get in the Valley today and play some football. It's something we've all been looking forward to for a while, just being able to get out there and let them play and it was a great day,” Swinney said. “The Good Lord gave us unbelievable weather. It was cool, actually very cool when we got started this morning. Just really proud of the team.”

The coaches went to the bench and let the players have the field.

“We've been going for two weeks on Tuesday and just really proud of how they've worked. Today was the first time that we got everybody out of the way and let them play,” Swinney said. “We got all of the field zones worked and created a couple of situations that I wanted to get some work on. As far as the day, I thought our second defense was very consistent and really won the day on the defensive side of things and then our first offense - the orange group - dominated the day. We did pretty much good on good, but as far as the day went I thought the first offense was very, very good, and very consistent. (B.T.) Potter finished with a nice day, kicked field goals, and ended up 4-of-5.

“Will (Spiers) did a good job punting. Proud of Jack Maddox, who is the snapper and he's been very consistent for us. He's positioned himself to be the starter for us. Saw some flashes from some really good young players. I thought we were pretty good early but the longer the scrimmage went, we got sloppy in some areas - had a couple of holdings, too many offsides defensively. We had a couple of interceptions, which was good to see. Fred Davis had one and Joseph Charleston had one off a tipped ball for the second day in a row. Lyn-J (Dixon) had a really, really good day. (Darien) Rencher did some good things. Cornell Powell had a tremendous day. We had a bunch of guys out, which was kind of encouraging with our first offense.”

On the offensive line

“We've got a very experienced group. Our first group is going to be outstanding. I don't see any dropoff at all. That's a credit to Robbie (Caldwell) and how we play. We played a lot of guys. This year is a little different for us. That first offensive line is going to have to play more snaps because we're very young behind them but those guys are all getting better. Cade (Stewart) got a ton of experience last year. He's a really, really good football player. He can play center and guard. He's done a great job with his snaps to this point in camp. Jordan McFadden, I think is a special talent. Jackson Carman, I don't know that there's anybody better in the country than him. Matt Bockhorst, we've got the state of Ohio on the left side. Will Putnam got good experience last year. That first group is as good as we've had.”

On the first group

“I thought Cornell was the best player on the field today. He had three touchdowns and had a great, great day. He's a fifth-year senior and that's what it's all about. It's so good to be able to see him hang in there and be able to grind. The other kid that had a great day was (Brannon) Spector. Spec has had a couple of really good days in a row. I'm super proud of him. Spec, Cornell, Will Brown and Will Swinney worked with the first group. E.J. Williams played our 9-man in the second group. Cornell played the 9-man with first group.”

Backup QBs

“Both of them did some really good things. It's as good of a quarterback room as there is in the country. Great people, first of all. Hunter Helms is our preferred walk-on guy that we brought in and he's our fourth guy. He's doing a really nice job, as well. They all got work today. Trevor (Lawrence) was outstanding. Trevor had a couple of touchdowns today with his legs. Just making good decisions, very accurate with the ball. What I love about what I've seen with our quarterbacks — with all of the transition at wideout, those guys are building great chemistry with the whole group. Taisun and D.J. are doing well.”

Demarkcus Bowman and Kobe Pace

“They did good. Neither one of them really got any work with the first group. I hate to say it but it's what you think about — it's like Thunder and Lightning all over again. You've got Kobe Pace, who is this big, strong, powerful runner and then you've got Bowman who can just absolutely fly. They are completely polar opposites but both really, really good football players, so I'm excited about what they both bring to the table. They've both got a lot to learn but saw both of them today and they caught my eye. The guy that is having a great camp is Chez Mellusi. He got a helmet on the shoulder the other day, so he's been out. He's having a great camp as is Mikey Dukes. Rencher is just Steady Eddie. Lyn-J is just a special player and is at a whole other level.”

Second group defense

“There were several guys. Joseph Charleston, Fred Davis, Malcolm Green is another guy that catches your eye. Ruke (Orhorhoro), I saw him a few times inside. He's a big load in there.”

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