Tuesday Update: Swinney comments on addition by subtraction
|Tuesday, March 14, 2017, 1:01 PM- -|
CLEMSON – Dabo Swinney used a math example, of sorts, Monday night to describe what he is seeing from his players as spring practice heats up.
The defending national champs have to replace several key players this season, and Swinney said he is seeing players who were backups last season step to the forefront as they compete for a starting role.
Swinney spoke to the media following Monday’s practice, and said now that the younger players don’t have established superstars in their way, they are beginning to flourish.
“I think some of these guys, it's addition by subtraction. That's the case a lot of times,” Swinney said. “Guys like Kelly (Bryant), he doesn't even look like the same guy since he's not standing out there next to Deshaun (Watson). He's kind of just taking it and running with it. Same thing with those backs, Wayne Gallman's not there anymore. And at tight end, Jordan Leggett's not out there. It's an eager group, these guys have been grinding and that's a bunch of ball and a lot of production that's got to be accounted for. Just maturity and experience. That's the fun part for me, just watching these guys grow up from where they were when they got here and watching them transform in every aspect.”
With Leggett headed to the NFL, Swinney is starting to see his tight ends step out of their comfort zone.
"Milan (Richard) is one of those kids who didn't know who he was coming in here, he's really done a nice job and has really worked hard,” Swinney said. “He's had a very consistent spring, as has Garrett (Williams) and Cannon (Smith). I think we've got three bona fide guys that are really good leaders and committed guys. (D.J.) Greenlee is showing some good signs too, he made an unbelievable catch today. The biggest thing with him is just the consistency day in and day out. J.C. Chalk had an excellent day. Shadell Bell is a guy that no one ever really talks about, but he's coming. He's a work in progress but if he hangs in there with it when it's all said and done, Shadell's gonna have a nice little career here, I believe that."
Wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud, plagued by inconsistency last season, is another player stepping to the forefront.
"Without question. That, and Ray-Ray's been coached hard for two years,” Swinney said. “It's like, 'This is your time.' He's got footsteps behind him in Cornell (Powell). Cornell isn't sitting over there saying he's just going to sit back there. He's trying to get out there. Deon's the same way. I've never seen Deon (Cain) and Ray-Ray work the way they've worked. It's great to see guys kind of assert themselves this way. It's everything, the demeanor, and consistency.
“They've never been bad but just taking it to another level. I think their sense of urgency is the best it's ever been here. Mike (Wllliams) isn't there, Tay (Artavis Scott) was so consistent and so reliable, he's not there. It's been good to see those two, I think they've both had really great springs. Excited for both of them and Trevion Thompson is another one, I don't get asked about him a lot. He is so improved, he's had a great spring, though. He can play all three positions which is a huge value for us. He's got a couple of years left in his career and I expect a strong finish from him."
The coaching staff moved K’Von Wallace to corner, and he’s showing signs this spring that he will contribute in the fall.
“He's physical. We really wanted to try and get him some confidence in that spot,” Swinney said. “Just really see how he would do, because we knew he could play nickel for us and that he could play safety. We wanted to evaluate those younger safeties, and we really challenged him and see how he's done over there. He's done a really nice job and he's a handful over there. He's got great feet and he's probably the most physical guy just from a jam technique that we've got. Good things from K'Von."
What he’s seen out of Ryan Carter
"He's just changed as a man. He's a man now. He was just a little kid showing up, immature and not very confident. Not really sure how to unleash and tap into that potential and now he's a full-grown man and confident and proven. Just maturity, commitment. He's a great teammate and a student of the game. One of the most knowledgeable players we have. Ryan Carter can play anywhere on our defense outside of linebacker. He can play either corner, he can play nickel, he can play dime, either safety position. He is that diverse of a player. He's going to make it at the next level. He's got the instincts and the toughness, he's become a good technician at his position. Early on, not very focused and committed. A little immature and now it's just like talking to a grown man. Everything about him is different. His demeanor, his sense of leadership."
Will McCloud get a chance to return punts and kicks?
"He's going to have that opportunity. He has a chance to be the best in the country if he can catch the ball."
Who else will be on return?
"(C.J.) Fuller works kickoff return. (Tavien) Feaster, Deon does a good bit of it. We've got some guys working at it as we go into fall camp. Ray-Ray just has to be serious about it. Renfrow would be a heck of a punt returner for us; he's working hard at it. Hopefully the maturity I've seen from Ray-Ray, he'll be kind of ready to take the next step."
"It's been good, Mitch (Hyatt) was out today. (Taylor) Hearn rolled his ankle the other day and will probably be out Wednesday. He should be back on Monday. Nothing bad with anybody."