Swinney recaps first scrimmage

by - Senior Writer -

AUDIO: Dabo Swinney on the scrimmage

CLEMSON – Clemson head football coach Dabo Swinney’s team had its first scrimmage last Saturday, a nearly-two hour affair in Death Valley, and he said that right now he has 16 players on both sides of the ball that “get it.”

“It was good,” he said prior to Monday’s practice. “We did a lot of good things and we did a lot of bad things on both sides of the ball. The first groups have a chance to be pretty good up front, and then there is a drop-off. It’s not that we don’t have talent – but we just have a lot of coaching to do. They have to learn to play. But overall it was encouraging.

“The first group on offense did a nice job, and they showed they are really starting to grasp it and that they are learning different things. The defense did a lot of nice things from a call standpoint. I thought we got off to a good start. We did a lot of second-and-long and third-and-longs, and today we will work on goal line and short-yardage and be ready to cut it loose on Wednesday.”

Swinney then mentioned that he has 16 players on both sides of the ball that are on schedule.

“They have got it and they are giving it,” he said. “They are right on schedule and we have a chance to win with those guys. Then we have a group of guys that are progressing and getting better, we just have a lot of coaching to do. Then there is a group that is kind of stagnant, and we have to figure out a way to get something different out of those guys.”

*Swinney said quarterback Tajh Boyd has shown a lot of poise and leadership, but leads the team in the “ball in jeopardy” category and needs to work on his ball security.

*Phillip Price continues to separate himself from Brandon Thomas at left tackle.

*Wide receiver Nuk Hopkins suffered a concussion in practice last Wednesday and missed the scrimmage, but should be back at practice today.

*Linebacker Justin Parker has impressed early in spring practice, and Swinney said that Quandon Christian has been the best linebacker so far, with Tig Willard a hair behind. He also said Vic Beasley has shown flashes, but has a lot to learn.

*He said the three running backs are getting better, but are nowhere near as physical as he would like. Rod McDowell turned a short pass in the flat into a long touchdown in the scrimmage Saturday. “None of them are tough enough and disciplined enough to win for us today. I thought Rod ran his best on Saturday. But they are improving.”

*Andre Ellington is still limited to straight-ahead running.

*Out of the two freshmen quarterbacks, Swinney said Cole Stoudt has performed a little bit better than Tony McNeal, but said that is splitting hairs. “I have been pleased with both of them, and they will be much better in fall camp. And Tony is very poised and responds to coaching. But if there is a tiny bit of difference, Cole is a little bit ahead.”

*Swinney said that redshirt freshman Tavaris Barnes, who came to Clemson as a defensive end, will probably move inside to play the “3 technique.”

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