When TCI spoke to Clemson’s Head Football Coach Dabo Swinney after the Tiger’s first scrimmage Wednesday, Swinney started off by telling us that the team had a long way to go before they’d be ready for the 2011 season, however he praised his players on their ability to pick up where they left off each practice.
The Tigers have had seven practices so far this spring, and Swinney is pleased with the way the team continues to improve each practice.
“I saw a lot of good things today” Swinney said. “On both sides of the ball I saw a lot of encouraging things, but we still have a lot of work to do.”
Swinney was very pleased with the efforts given by sophomore DeAndre “Nuke” Hopkins, redshirt freshman Joe Craig, and several others in the Tigers first full scrimmage.
Swinney was also impressed with the Tiger’s starting quarterback Tajh Boyd and the way he performed with the first team.
“Tajh had an excellent day today,” Swinney said. “He completed 7 passes for 104 yards so he definitely stood out among the quarterbacks.”
As of right now, Coach Swinney believes that the defense is ahead of the offense for several reasons.
“The defense is ahead of the offense right now as they should be,” Swinney said. “Mainly because they’ve been going at it for two years and the offense has only had a week.”
Swinney feels that the linebackers really seem to be picking things up as well. Vic Beasley was a player that really caught Swinney’s eye throughout the scrimmage.
Although Coach Swinney was pleased with Wednesday’s scrimmage overall, he believed that the biggest disappointment of the scrimmage to be the kicking.
“We did not kick the ball well at all today,” Swinney said. “We’ve kicked well coming into today, so that was disappointing how we’re performing in that area.”
Swinney saw a lot of good things from the First Team in particular, as they start to grasp the new system and begun putting things into place.
“I’m starting to visualize what this system is going to look like once we get it all together,” Swinney said. “And I’m very encouraged, we have the second half of spring and all of summer to get the pieces of this puzzle put together and I’m very encouraged by what this system will bring to our offense.”
Swinney knows that some of the young guys are not ready to win for the Tigers yet however he believes they’re on their way.
“Players like Corey Crawford, Tavaris Barnes, Vic Beasley, are some guys that I can’t help but notice out there and are going to be very good for us.” Swinney said.
Swinney was also very impressed with the way the tight ends, Brandon Ford and Dwayne Allen performed.
“Both Dwayne and Brandon have had a very good seven practices for us,” Swinney said. “Allen had a few touchdowns for us today, I’m very proud of the way that both tight ends are playing.”
As for the new starter Tajh Boyd? Coach Swinney is very excited to continue to watch him progress.
“He has a good command on the offense,” Swinney said. “It’s fun to see him run, he’s going to be a real factor for us, making defenses have to defend the width and length of the field.”
Boyd took several deep shots in Wednesday’s scrimmage, which is something that Swinney hopes he will be able to continue to do in game situations.
Overall, Swinney was encouraged by the way his team performed during their first full scrimmage. Now the Tigers will have a week off for Spring Break and will resume practicing on March 28th. Swinney only hopes that his players will do their homework and learn their plays over spring break so that when they return to practice on the 28th the coaches will not have to start from the beginning.