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Penalties big issue in Clemson scrimmage

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney left Wednesday’s scrimmage feeling pretty good about his football team after 10 practices this spring, but he did indicate there were a few things they still need to get corrected.

“There was a lot of good,” he said. “I saw some individuals step up and make some plays. I saw some young guys do some good things, but I was a little disappointed in some veteran guys I was counting on that I did not think performed like I think they needed to. They know who they are.

“Overall, we saw a lot of good things. The defense had another solid day except for coming (off the goal line). We did another poor job with our coming (off the goal line) defense, but outside of that I thought they had a pretty consistent day. They did give up some big plays, but all and all, it was decent.”

Swinney said the offense had a pretty good day as well, but he was disappointed in the two-minute drive at the end because they had a chance to be in position to kick a field goal at the end to win it, but they gave up a sack-fumble instead.

Defensive end Clelin Ferrell recorded the sack and defensive tackle Christian Wilkins recovered the Kelly Bryant fumble.

“It was very competitive on both sides,” Swinney said.

Clemson also did a lot of special teams work. They did live kickoff return as well as punt returns and field goal work. He also put the team in situational areas like goal line going in and going out, short yardage and two minute.

The biggest disappointment to Swinney was the penalties on both sides of the ball. He said the procedure penalties were so bad on the offense, that he stopped counting. The defense also jumped offside a few times and was flagged for roughing the passer and a late hit. They only had one pass interference penalty called.

“Those are the types of things that cost you ball games,” Swinney said. “They cost you momentum in ball games. Those are definitely some things we can learn from and teach from.”

Swinney was also disappointed with his wide receivers. He said they had way too many dropped passes.

Wednesday’s 100-play scrimmage in Clemson Memorial Stadium was the second of three spring scrimmages for Swinney’s team. The final scrimmage will be the annual spring game on April 8 at 2:30 p.m.

Cornell Powell was the top receiver with five catches for 78 yards, while red-shirt freshman T.J. Chase had five catches for 41 yards. Powell had a 38-yard reception from Bryant coming off the goal line.

Diondre Overton finished with two catches for 51 yards to rank second in yardage. Trevion Thompson had three catches for 35 yards, but two of the catches went for touchdowns, one from Hunter Johnson for 31 yards, and one from Cooper.

The Tigers had some strong performances from the running backs, too. Tavien Feaster was the top runner with seven rushes for 54 yards, while C.J. Fuller had eight carries for 48 yards and a touchdown.

On defense, linebacker Dorian O’Daniel stood out, again, as did the defensive line. Defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence had a tackle for loss on the first play of the scrimmage, while Ferrell and Wilkins both had sacks.

Redshirt freshman Isaiah Simmons, a safety, led all tacklers in the scrimmage, while O’Daniel and fellow linebacker Chad Smith had five apiece. O’Daniel also had two sacks and a pass broken up.

Clemson will practice again on Friday.

 

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