Swinney loves the offense, says the defense
Swinney says it was good to see the offense bounce back

Swinney loves the offense, says the defense "just didn't bring the juice"

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – The offense was clicking on all cylinders during Saturday’s scrimmage, and even freshmen Chase Brice and Will Swinney got in on the action.

The Tigers scrimmaged for over two hours inside the stadium Saturday, and several offensive players had good days.

Kelly Bryant completed a 28-yard pass to Tee Higgins and a 40-yarder to T.J. Chase. Zerrick Cooper threw a pair of touchdown passes, one to Trevion Thompson and one to Tee Higgins. Hunter Johnson had a scoring pass to Chase, and Chase Brice had a 31-yard completion to Will Swinney.

Tavien Feaster was the top rusher with 105 yards on nine carries, including an 80-yard touchdown run. Tee Higgins had five receptions for 76 yards and T.J. Chase had four for 79.

The top tacklers in the scrimmage included Jalen Williams with eight, while Chad Smith, Dorian O’Daniel, and Tanner Muse had five apiece. The defense had six sacks, two by Chris Register, while Isaiah Simmons had the only takeaway with an interception.

“As a head coach, you are never happy on this practice fields when you feel like one side has really won the day. I always like to see us be a little more balanced,” head coach Dabo Swinney said after the scrimmage. “The offense got the win today and pushed them around all day. In two-minute drills, the offense had way too many big plays. It didn’t really matter who was the quarterback, running back or receiver. It’s kind of the opposite of what we said last time y’all were here for a scrimmage.

“It was great rhythm throwing and catching. We didn’t have a drop until the very end. It was very encouraging from that standpoint, but I have not seen us have a day like that defensively here in a while. We just didn’t bring the juice. We just didn’t have it. When you don’t bring the juice on this practice field, you get exposed. Hats off to the offense because they were tremendous today. We still had a few illegal procedural issues and a few things that cost us, but all in all just throwing and catching the football with consistency in all three groups really won the day.”

The team also worked on overtime situations.

“We also did overtime today. I put our two’s versus the one’s to play overtime. The positive in that is that it shows the depth that we have. That is something that we have worked really hard on in camp. Despite not having our best day defensively today, it has been a good camp.”

The coaches will spend the weekend looking at tape and making personnel decisions.

“We have to turn the page now. We have big personnel meetings this weekend to try and make some decisions and start really working towards our season prep and game prep on Monday,” Swinney said. “I know they are excited to start looking at opponents. Our focus needs to be getting our personnel the way we want it exactly going into game one.”

On Edmond and Smith missing the scrimmage

“We did hold a few guys out, but not a lot of them. Shaq was not able to go today and Marcus Edmond was out, too. We did limit a few guys on offense and defense, but it was good because a lot of guys got the opportunity to take some confidence from today and get better. We’re really trying to evaluate everyone individually on tape. We worked a lot on special teams today. Will Spiers was tremendous punting the ball. I have been pleased with all the kickers.”

The running backs

“We had a lot of big plays today. All the running backs had big plays. Tavien had a 3rd-and-1 and took it the distance and showed his speed. Travis (Etienne) has a big play every day. It was just another day for him. I thought Milan (Richard) made big plays, Tee Higgins made big plays, (Diondre) Overton had big plays, TJ Chase had a big play. All of them. Cornell (Powell) had a big play, Ray-Ray (McCloud) had a big play, Deon (Cain) had a big play. Will Swinney had a big play and I am getting deep now. It was across the board. Amari (Rodgers) shows up every day. I think he kind of rolled his ankle a little bit.”

Quarterback battle

“We are going to watch the tape. If anything, it just continues to be a tight race because they really performed well. I think the first three guys all had really good days. All three also had a couple plays they would like to have back, but I was not disappointed at all. Chase has a little further to go from a owning the offense standpoint. He hasn’t had as much work, but the progress he has made, the swagger. He’s got some gamesmanship to him. He makes plays. I am pleased with all four of them and we are going to talk personnel and make some decisions, but at some point you have to say ‘hey, this is how we are going to go play.’ There are no lifetime contracts for anybody.”

T.J. Chase continues to shine in camp

Will the defense bounce back?

“They will bounce back. I have been around too many camps and have done this too many times. I don’t see it often where it is all three groups pretty consistent. That was just the day. We’ll be alright over on defense. Coach V might not be real happy for a couple of days watching the tape. The offense had a really lousy day a couple of days ago and these guys have pride. They come back and they want to do well. If you don’t’ bring it on this field, then it is going to be a rough day for you. That is why we have been successful because of the high level of competitiveness on the practice field helps us be competitive on game day. This is just one of those days where it just went the offense's way.”

Pass interference calls

“We’re better. One thing that I will say that I am very pleased with is that we have worked really really hard to get rid of some of these pass interference calls. I think we led the world last year in PI’s. In the three scrimmages that we have had, we have used ACC crews. We ask them to call it just like it is a regular game. Our guys have really responded and have had a nice camp. I think we only had one today and that was on Ray-Ray. He probably had 10 snaps or so. He is playing about 15 percent over there.”

Tavien Feaster had an 80-yard run Saturday

Defensive backs using boxing gloves

“They have had to learn, win with their feet and clean up on their technique issues. One-on-one is the hardest for a DB when you have no pass rush and it is just you and the receiver and the quarterback can just hold it with no fear. It has helped us and I really believe that. They have had to gain more confidence and technique with their feet. Hopefully, that will carry over for us in a game situation. If we can go from last in the world to the middle of the pack, then we won't be a 503c charity organization anymore.”

The camp had by Travis Etienne

“He has probably been the biggest surprise to me because I obviously have not coached these guys. He is a guy I didn’t get to know very well until late in the process. His natural running ability, explosiveness, ability to break tackles and make people miss and then he is so fast. He is going to be a dynamic player for us. Amir Trapp is another guy if I had to name one guy. We got some corners that can play, but he is going to be that Ryan Carter of the group. He’ll be a sophomore and he will have a role. Those are two guys that are under the radar that we a re really impressed with.”

Battle at right tackle

“The offensive line is moving everywhere. Robbie is moving them all over the place. He’s got (Sean) Pollard at left tackle and (Tremayne) Anchrum at left and then over at right. Our guys up front have a lot of flexibility. We have never had this much versatility on the offensive line where guys can just go play. We have a lot of answers. We want to get the best five in the game at any given time. It is great competition and all of those guys are going to play. We are probably going to play 8-10 linemen a game.”

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