This morning marks the first time this summer the Clemson coaches will get an in-game look at their 2017 football team as the Tigers’ host their first stadium scrimmage at Clemson Memorial Stadium.
This is the first opportunity where the coaches get off the field and see how the players play. How will they react? How will they communicate? How will they adjust to the speed of the scrimmage? There is no one telling them what to do.
“You are lining up and you are playing,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said.
It’s a different process for the coaches, too. They get to evaluate for the first time in fall camp how their players react to real-game situations. For them, it is a totally different situation than what they evaluate from a practice.
“Now you have to play the game and you have to react. It’s faster,” Swinney said. “Then we are working on our processes, the communication, the substitutions, the signaling and getting everybody off the field. You are not in a team-segment period where you are saying ‘get a little wider, do this, put your eyes here.’ Now they have to make all of those decisions on their own.
“Coaches are off the field. You kind of find out who is processing things the right way and who is not. Then you have an opportunity to try and push them.”
This is when the coaches also find out who is ready and willing to work.
As for the quarterback situation, Swinney said his quarterbacks will likely not be tackled in today’s scrimmage. Of course junior Kelly Bryant and freshmen Zerrick Cooper and Hunter Johnson are in a three-man battle to see who will replace Deshaun Watson as the starting quarterback this fall.
So far through the first week of practice, Bryant has held on to his spot as the No. 1 quarterback, though Swinney feels all three of them have done a good job and they can win with any of them under center.
However, Bryant currently has the lead because he is a little older, wiser and has been in the system the longest.
“He has been sitting in that meeting room for two years and he has been on the sideline,” Swinney said. “He has been on the head sets. He just has a lot of knowledge and because of the work he has put in his confidence is at an all-time high.”
Swinney said Bryant is very confident right now, and it has been showing in practice.
“He is doing what he needs to do,” the Clemson coach said. “There are a lot of things that he brings to the table. His strengths are really shining through right now because he is not making a lot of mistakes.
“He is making the plays that are there. He is very confident and he is pulling the trigger on time. He is doing a good job.”
After today’s scrimmage, the coaches will find out how good of job he and everyone else is doing.
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