News and notes: This is a balanced group

News and notes: This is a balanced group


News and notes: This is a balanced group


By Will Vandervort.

When Chad Morris became the offensive coordinator at Clemson in 2011, Dabo Swinney said he almost jumped in the lake that first spring because he had no wide receivers on campus besides DeAndre Hopkins.

When Brent Venables took over as defensive coordinator in 2012, he had no cornerbacks that first spring and he was trying to cover Hopkins, Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant in practice. But through recruiting, Clemson does not have that imbalance anymore.

“This is a very balanced group,” Swinney said following Monday’s practice, the Tigers fifth of the spring. “There is about the same amount of experience on both sides with our first groups so that is really making it a lot of fun. There are a lot of young guys getting a bunch of work.”

The team did get a bunch of work on Monday as it had its first scrimmage situations of the spring. They did controlled situations where it was first-and-10, plus- or minus-four battles. They played third down based on what they did on second down as well as four-down territory where they had just two downs to get the ball in the end zone or pick up a first down.

“We tried to make sure we got enough situational work in today to coach and teach off of it,” Swinney said. “It was good. We did a lot of good things.”

Swinney says after five practices he can already tell it is going to be a fun team to coach.

“They want to be good,” he said. “We are not very good right now, but they want to be good and they are talented. That is the positive.

“It is probably as balanced of a team that I have had in the spring, competitively. We only have ten guys that are not here that will come this summer so the team is pretty much here. The first group on both sides is very balanced and the backups are very similar so it is very competitive. If you don’t come out with the right mindset and ready to compete, you get exposed really, really quickly. You can’t blend in out there so I love that part.”

Hunter Renfrow? That’s right Hunter Renfrow. Swinney says the walk-on wide receiver has come out and competed this spring. Not only is he knocking it out at wide receiver, but the redshirt freshman is also doing a great job as the second-team punter.

Swinney says he might actually turn out to be the starting punter with the way he is performing so far this spring.

“We recruited him so we knew he was a talented young man, but maybe where he is right now being just six months into our program, twenty pounds later and things like that, I’m just really encouraged,” Swinney said. “He will help our football team.”

Getting back to the basics. Both Swinney and co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said the Tigers have made more of an effort to get back to the basics this spring. They are doing a lot more fundamental stuff as opposed to installation.

With that they have slowed things down so new quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter and his two young quarterbacks can get on the same page with the rest of the offense.

“A couple of weeks before practice we went back and went play by play, detail by detail to get (Streeter) on the same page,” Elliott said. “Obviously, he is coaching the quarterbacks, which is a pivotal position on the football team and there is a lot of detailed involved with that position so we focused mostly on the basics.”

Elliott says the biggest challenge is getting freshmen quarterbacks Kelly Bryant and Tucker Israel up to speed.

“We are keeping everything as basic as possible to give them every opportunity to learn the system,” Elliott said. “You are going against a bunch of talent on defense so every day you have to come out and you have to compete. But that is going to make us better in the long run.”

Clemson will practice again on Wednesday before shutting it down for spring break.



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