Besides the offensive line, which was penalized a countless number of times for procedural penalties in Wednesday’s scrimmage, Clemson’s wide receivers had the worst day of any of the position units.
“I was very disappointed in the amount of drops we had,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said.
It also doesn’t help the head coach is a former wide receivers coach and played the position when he was in college.
The Clemson quarterbacks, Kelly Bryant, Hunter Johnson, Zerrick Cooper and Tucker Israel, combined to complete just 24-of-48 passes for 269 yards. But not all of those incompletions were on the quarterbacks. Three of Bryant’s 14 passes were dropped as were a couple of Hunter Johnson’s 11 passes.
Deon Cain dropped one long pass from Kelly early in the scrimmage that Swinney said was a great throw from Bryant. Clemson co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott also shared his displeasure for all the drops when speaking with the media.
However, things were not all bad for the skill players in the 100-play scrimmage at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Cornell Powell was the top receiver with five catches for 78 yards, while redshirt freshman T.J. Chase had five catches for 41 yards. Powell had a 38-yard reception from Kelly Bryant coming off the goal line.
Diondre Overton finished with two catches for 51 yards, and Trevion Thompson had three catches for 35 yards as two of his catches went for touchdowns, one from Hunter Johnson for 31 yards, and one from Cooper.
“We had a couple of bright spots, too,” Swinney said. “T.J. Chase caught my eye today, he made some nice plays. I thought Cornell … he showed up and made some nice plays. Ray-Ray (McCloud) was in position to do what he needed to do.
“Deon probably had his worst day and Trevion probably had his best day.”
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.
“There were some good things,” Swinney said. “I thought the backs all ran the ball real hard. Choice, Feaster and Fuller all had some bright moments.
Johnson started the scrimmage by completing five of his first six passes, including a 48-yard pass to Overton. He finished the afternoon 5-of-11 overall for 110 yards with a touchdown pass to Thompson. He did not throw an interception.
Bryant was 8-for-14 for 94 yards. He also had a rushing touchdown in the scrimmage and a long run on a fourth-down play, while Cooper was 4-for-10 for 28 yards and a touchdown. Israel was 7-of-13 for 37 yards. None of the quarterbacks threw an interception.
Clemson will return to practice on Friday. It will have three more practices next week before concluding the spring on April 8 at 2:30 p.m. with the annual Orange & White Spring Game in Death Valley.
We are taking orders for our limited edition magazine Mission Accomplished. Remember Clemson’s championship season with this great magazine from the staff that covers Clemson football 365 days a year. Order your’s today to make sure you get a copy!