At Dabo Swinney’s Media Golf Outing, both local and national media outlets had the opportunity to pick the brains of Clemson’s position coaches for the only time in the regular season.
This is what we learned from tight ends and special teams coach Danny Pearman.
When did you see the light really come on for Jordan Leggett?
“Probably last summer. For awhile, it’s like all these kids. They come in and the maturity process comes at different levels for them,” Pearman said. “Finally last year he cut the light on and said, ‘Maybe I could be pretty good at this if I work at it.’ Last year he worked extremely hard in practice and it showed on Saturday. This summer he has done the same thing.”
What have you seen from the other guys on the depth chart?
“There’s a group of guys that’s working behind him (Leggett) that really need to challenge him in a lot of ways and follow suit to him. You talk about guys like Garrett Williams who came in as a freshman last year and played, then you have Milan Richard and we’re ready to see some production out of him. Canon Smith will be coming off of a shoulder injury this spring and will be with us by August for sure, and D.J. Greenlee has had a productive last two weeks of spring,” Pearman said.
What do you want to see out of the tight ends coming into fall camp?
“I want to see consistency. I want to see there not be a drop off behind Leggett. I want to see a group of guys that really, really are team oriented,” he said.
What stands out to you as the biggest improvement from the spring on special teams?
“Our biggest thing is we have six phases that make up our special teams and in some of those phases last year, we were pretty good. Greg Huegel was pretty good at kicking field goals. We were pretty good at field goal block. We were middle of the pack in kickoff return, but there were also some glaring areas that we have to get better at as a collective group,” Pearman said. “Getting somebody to actually give us a returnable punt has been something that college football has changed more so in the last five years than anything,” Pearman said. “I think we had 113 potential punt situations where we were returning the ball, and out of those situations, I think we had actually 13 returnable punts that were punted to us.”
Is there anyone that specifically stands out to you as doing a good job on special teams?
“The guy last year who was really good for us was Dorian O’Daniel. He was a kid who has kind of been on the shelf for a year or so, but he did an excellent job for us last year,” Pearman said.
What can this team do to improve the productivity of special teams coming into the fall?
“Really it is just working as a cohesive unit just as you would on offense or defense. You don’t spend quite as much time on it as you do offensive play per say. You don’t want to spend an hour a day just using kickoff coverage, but we just have to find the right guys that want to be on it. A lot of it is want to from that standpoint and you’ve got to have some guys that would be willing to go down there and get them on the ground.”