By Ashley Denny.
Clemson’s Head Football Coach Dabo Swinney left Saturday’s scrimmage very encouraged at what he saw from both sides of the ball.
“There were some really good things both defensively and offensively today,” Swinney said. “We did some coming out today, and offense did a great job there. There was a lot of back and forth all day today, very competitive day.”
In what Swinney called one of the best practices of the spring so far, starting quarterback Tajh Boyd showed coaches why he was the man for the job, although according to both Swinney and Boyd, he still has room for improvement.
“Tajh is really coming on,” Swinney said. “The next step for him is just some little things, like not taking a sack that’s unnecessary, ball security with the snap, but he’s coming along nicely. He understands what he’s doing but gets a false sense of security sometimes with the purple jersey on. Sometimes he gets a little casual, but has improved the most in his decision making and ball handling in general.”
Swinney was very pleased with freshman Corey Crawford who recovered a fumble and ran it back 87 yards for a touchdown during the scrimmage.
“Corey Crawford was everywhere today,” Swinney said. “He caused a fumble today, recovered one and picked another one up and just all in all had a big day.”
Swinney was also very impressed with the receivers in today’s scrimmage and how quickly they’ve come along this spring. Both DeAndre Hopkins and Jaron Brown have continued to perform well however Swinney cannot forget about the talented wide receivers coming to Clemson in the fall.
As for the kicking game, Swinney was very pleased with kicker Chandler Catanzaro and how well he performed in today’s scrimmage where he made 4-5 of his field goals.
“Cat-Man’s had a very good spring,” Swinney said. “He had one poor showing at our last scrimmage but other than that he’s been doing fantastic.”
In the absence of star running back Andre Ellington, running backs Rod McDowell, DJ Howard, and Demont Buice have all had a chance this spring to prove to Coach Swinney that they deserve more playing time and according to Swinney they’ve all done just that.
“The running backs are getting better,” Swinney said. “Rod McDowell’s had two or three good days, same thing with Buice. DJ Howard is really really improving, I think he’s going to be one of those guys a couple years from now that we’ll say Wow this guys a really great player, he’s got all the tools and physical stature that you look for in a back.”
Overall, Swinney was very encouraged seeing that every practice his team has improved in areas and that one side of the ball is not dominating the other.
“I think we have the opportunity to have one of the best defenses in the nation this year,” Swinney said. “And I also think we have the opportunity to have one of the best offenses in the country, and it’s been a while since we’ve been able to say that, but I really think we have that opportunity this year.”