Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney thinks his team is right on schedule as the Tigers approach the end of the first half of spring practice.
When Clemson scrimmages on Wednesday, it will mark its eighth of the spring, leaving seven of the required 15 practices the NCAA allows remaining, including the Orange & White Game on April 8. After Wednesday’s scrimmage, the Tigers will depart for spring break and will not return to the practice fields until March 27.
“We have laid a really good foundation,” Swinney said following Monday’s practice. “We spent this whole first half installing, really going back and reteach a lot of things, fundamentals, techniques and what we do. Studying ourselves from last year and transferring that knowledge to our players.
“Though we have not played a lot, the second half will be more evaluation.”
Swinney said they have been able to get a lot done in these first seven practices and he is anxious to see the team when they come back from spring break.
Kelly is doing well. Swinney bragged a little bit about the progress of quarterback Kelly Bryant. The Clemson coach said the junior has looked well through the first seven practices and has good command of the offense.
As for some other players on offense, Swinney has been pleased with the leadership of guys like center Justin Falcinelli, left tackle Mitch Hyatt, running back Adam Choice and tight ends Milan Richard and Garrett Williams.
Defense is doing well, too. Before the spring even got started, Swinney already saw how good the defense was going to be. So far they have not disappointed.
“I knew they would be a good defense before they even took a snap this spring,” he said.
Swinney thinks the linebackers and secondary are as good as they have ever had at Clemson.
As for leadership, Swinney says there are a lot of vocal guys on the defensive side of the ball and it starts with Clelin Ferrell and Christian Wilkins. The coaches also like the leadership they have seen from linebacker Kendall Joseph and Dorian O’Daniel.
Secondary depth chart. Speaking of the secondary, Swinney had high praise for the play of sophomore K’Von Wallace who is competing for the starting job at boundary and field side corner.
“He has done a nice job,” Swinney said. “He has great feet and is a physical guy. He is doing well.”
Another guy who is doing well is cornerback Ryan Carter. Swinney said Carter can play anywhere on the field outside of the linebacker position.
“He can play safety, corner and nickel and can play them all well,” Swinney said.
Swinney went on to talk about how much Carter has matured since he got on campus and how he has grown into a well-respected man on the team.
“When I talk to him, it is like talking to a man,” Swinney said.
As for the depth chart, Van Smith has been moved to strong safety and Denzel Washington and Nolan Turner are playing behind him. Tanner Muse is at free safety and he is being backed up by Korrin Wiggins and Isaiah Simmons.
At the corner positions, Carter is playing the boundary, along with Trayvon Mullen and Wallace, while Marcus Edmond and Mark Fields are on the field side, but Wallace is also helping out there.
Injury report. Swinney says left tackle Mitch Hyatt is banged up but it is nothing serious, while left guard Taylor Hearn rolled his ankle last week. Both will sit out Wednesday’s scrimmage and will return to practice when the team returns for practice on March 27.
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