Swinney says depth his key concern heading into fall

by - Senior Writer -

The Clemson football depth chart was released by the school’s athletic department early Thursday, but head coach Dabo Swinney said on his Thursday conference call with the ACC media what we already knew – that depth chart is going to look a LOT different once September rolls around.

The Atlantic Coast Conference held a teleconference for the 12 head coaches Thursday, and Swinney said that as many as 26 first-year players could find their way onto that depth chart by September, including a up to a dozen of the true freshman from the recent recruiting class.

“I think we’ve got a good, genuine enthusiasm amongst our team right now and high morale,” Swinney said. “The big thing, though, is bringing the rest of these guys in this summer. We probably had about 31 scholarship guys that were not on the field this spring. We’ve got a lot of guys that will be joining us in July and August before we can really complete our team.”

Swinney mentioned two or three times on the call that he is excited about the possibilities with his frontline players, but at this point, depth is a concern.

The Tigers signed 29 players in the 2011 recruiting class, and Swinney said he expects that group to combine with last season’s redshirts to form the core of the backups.

“We’ve got to have some younger guys that are going to have to play,” he said. “We redshirted, I think, 15 guys last year and we played four, so we’ve got all those redshirt guys that will playing for us this year, and I would say probably 10-to-12 true freshmen. So you’re looking at 26 or 27 freshmen on the field this fall for us who will be out there for the first time. So I think that’s the bigger concern for me. Our first-line group, I think, we’re going to be okay on both sides. It’s just the majority of our depth is going to come from inexperienced guys. Talented - but inexperienced.”

Of the 29 signees, Swinney said they are tracking the progress of the 25 who are not yet on campus – quarterbacks Cole Stoudt Cole Stoudt
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and Tony McNeal Tony McNeal
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Chester, SC

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and defensive ends Corey Crawford Corey Crawford
Defensive Line
#93 6-5, 275
Chatham, VA

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and Joe Gore Joe Gore
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# 6-6, 262
Lake Waccamaw, NC

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entered school in January and participated in spring drills.

“We had four guys come in January,” Swinney said. “We’ve got 25 guys that are out there. We’re tracking and following their academic progress, to get them all here by the end of the summer. I think we’ll have one, for sure, that will probably be a prep school guy. The rest of them, they are all on track. Hopefully, they’ll all make it and be very successful student athletes here at Clemson.”

Swinney told the media that he was pleased with what was accomplished during spring practice.

“I’m real pleased with what we got accomplished this spring. The biggest thing for us this spring was trying to reestablish ourselves on defense, as far as filling a few holes,” he said. “We’re two years into our system there and have played pretty good, but we’ve lost some good players. I really like what we have, from a frontline standpoint. The biggest thing for us, defensively, is creating a little bit of depth.

“Offensively, we installed a new system, had some coaching changes this year, and brought in Chad Morris to be our offensive coordinator here, and I really like what we got done from an installation standpoint in 15 days. We really didn’t try to get it all in. We were just trying to get good at what we were doing. I thought that the team responded well.”

Swinney mentioned the incoming freshmen again when he was asked what led him to Morris.

“I felt like we had the personnel here and the personnel that we were recruiting,” he said. “I thought it would really fit this system really well. It’s what I wanted to do. I thought we would be able to be a little unique within this conference. Play at a fast tempo, spread the field and make people have to really defend every patch of grass that’s out there. When I talk about spreading the field, I’m not talking about four and five wides [receivers.] We’re two backs and two tight ends. We mix it up with our personnel.

“The main thing, though, I felt like we would really be able to accentuate the skills of Tajh Boyd Tajh Boyd
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Hampton, VA

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. I really think Tajh Boyd is a dynamic young player that can really do some things throwing the football, but also running the football. I wanted to involve every ounce of his skill set. I think this system will do that. Playing at the tempo that we play at, hopefully we’ll put a lot of pressure on defenses and be a tough team to defend. “

He was asked about how he expects to continue the success of the defensive line after the loss of junior end Da’Quan Bowers to the NFL and the graduation of tackle Jarvis Jenkins Jarvis Jenkins
Defensive Tackle
#99 6-4, 315
Clemson, SC

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, and he said he’s excited about the chance to develop depth along the line, albeit with younger players.

“Our front four are very experienced guys,” he said. Malliciah [Goodman} has played a lot. I think Brandon Thompson Brandon Thompson
Defensive Tackle
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Thomasville, GA

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can be as good a d-tackle as there is out there. Rennie Moore Rennie Moore
Defensive Tackle
#94 6-4, 270
Saint Marys, GA

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has played a lot and really came on this spring. I think he’ll be the athletic-type, like Jarvis. Over on the other side, Andre Branch Andre Branch
Defensive End
#40 6-5, 260
Richmond, VA

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has been a starter for us. Kourtnei Brown Kourtnei Brown
Defensive End
#90 6-5, 250
Charlotte, NC

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, a senior, is backing him up. We’ve got a pretty good frontline group. The biggest issue is our depth.

“It’s going to come from young players. Corey Crawford is a guy that came in January, who I think has a great, great future. He’s going to be a freshman backing up Branch. Tyler Shatley Tyler Shatley
Defensive Tackle
#43 6-3, 295
Icard, NC

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, inside at d-tackle, is a young guy that’s played some, but not a lot. Tavaris Barnes Tavaris Barnes
Defensive End
#6 6-3, 265
Jacksonville, FL

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is one of those redshirt guys that’s going to be a backup 3-technique. We’ve got to create the depth from young players. That’s going to be the biggest difference from last year where our depth was experienced.”

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Subject (Replies: 31) Author
Swinney says depth his key concern heading into fall
Depth concerns, as in, "I'm in over my head"?
Re: Depth concerns, as in, "I'm in over my head"?
If talent alone won games we'd have a better record the last
Re: If talent alone won games we'd have a better record the last
Re: Depth concerns, as in, "I'm in over my head"?
Re: Depth concerns, as in, "I'm in over my head"?
Re: Depth concerns, as in, "I'm in over my head"?
Elephant is to food as Dabo is to head-coach.***
Re: Elephant is to food as Dabo is to head-coach.***
But is elephant meat any good? No. So nobody eats it.***
Great post Forest
Re: Depth concerns, as in, "I'm in over my head"?
I hope Dabo has adjusted to the speed of the game.***
Re: I hope Dabo has adjusted to the speed of the game.***
Everybody who questions Dabo's ability is a loon? Too funny***
Maybe, maybe not.***
Smiling Tiger®
Who's not going to qualify?***
Re: Who's not going to qualify?***
Negativity = Coot!!!
kevin dodd***
its actually Battle...Dodd still has a chance to make it in***
Can we please not start the negativity now,........
NewsFlash. Our starters were 6-7 last year. Many of this
Re: NewsFlash. Our starters were 6-7 last year. Many of this
Re: NewsFlash. Our starters were 6-7 last year. Many of this
Re: NewsFlash. Our starters were 6-7 last year. Many of this
you're talking about the difference between
Hopefully Dabo learned from his mistakes & Morris is good.
Excellent post and you are 100% correct
Re: Excellent post and you are 100% correct
Re: NewsFlash. Our starters were 6-7 last year. Many of this

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