With the conclusion of Wednesday’s scrimmage, Clemson has now completed eight spring practices and will take a week off for the Tigers to enjoy their spring break. Head coach Dabo Swinney and some of the coordinators addressed the team’s progress through the first half of spring after the scrimmage. While they have seen some promising skills emerge, there is a ton of room for growth and improvement.
Here is what we heard:
Swinney was thankful to be able to see his players in a scrimmage situation, and he said the defense came out on top if he had to choose a winner of the day.
“It was fun. First of all, it was fun to just go play. I like the way we have been able to get deep into the playbook on both sides. The downside of it is that we went really fast for some guys. In the past, we have gotten a few days to take a break and then they’ve got a little chance to process and catch up a little bit, but it is good,” Swinney said. “There were a lot of good things I thought, defensively not a big shocker for me for a first scrimmage. I thought they were really mentally ready to go.”
One of the positives for the day was giving opportunities to a lot of different players to go out and get reps. Swinney even said that redshirt freshman Isaiah Simmons stood out to him from the start of the scrimmage.
“You are repping a lot of groups, a lot of guys, and a lot of young people getting some opportunity which is good to see,” Swinney said “Right out of the gate in kickoff coverage, Isaiah Simmons, he set the tempo for the day. Really great job on the kickoff coverage, big hit.”
Defensive coordinator Brent Venables likes the fundamentals that he sees from his defense so far and the effort that they are putting forth to continue to grow.
“They had a good attitude and gave a good effort,” Venables said. “Guys were not already checked out for spring break.
Venables also noted that he enjoyed seeing the leadership and chemistry emerge throughout spring practice and in the scrimmage. One player that has been taking on more of a vocal role is defensive end Clelin Ferrell.
“I think he is getting more and more confident in his role as a player and the success that he has had. He is a humble guy. He knows how to work and appreciates his opportunity. I think that transcends as a leader. He is not Ben Boulware yet though, but those are the stripes you earn, and you earn it over time,” Venables said. “I think he is one of those guys that has natural leadership traits, and he will continue to develop in that role.”
While the defense may have performed better, Swinney was encouraged by some of the aspects on the offensive side of the ball as well, especially in the run game. Co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott was pleased with what he saw from running backs C.J. Fuller and Adam Choice in Wednesday’s scrimmage.
“We did some good things. They all ran hard at times. I’d say that today, Fuller and Choice probably took a little bit of a step ahead. I think Tavien, even though he is still making progress, things started moving fast for him today. You saw a couple flashes, but still would like to see him be more consistent,” Elliott said. “It is a long way until we figure out who is going to be the guy, but I thought that Fuller had a decent day as well as Choice.”