Under scorching, humid conditions, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was not impressed with his offense following Tuesday’s practice. The Tigers seemed to give into the heat, which therefore effected their mental toughness and effort in practice.
It only took a day for Clemson to respond. On Wednesday, the Tigers held a situational scrimmage in Death Valley, bouncing back from their down day with a newfound competitive edge and focus.
Following Wednesday’s practice, the media spoke to head coach Dabo Swinney and select players including offensive tackle Mitch Hyatt, cornerback Trayvon Mullen and linebacker Kendall Joseph about their post-scrimmage thoughts.
Here is what we heard:
A much happier head coach spoke to the media on Wednesday. Luckily, Swinney was satisfied with his player’s responses.
“The offense was much better today,” Swinney said. “Still sloppy. But making progress. They were competitive, but we came together as a team.”
A much better day, but still filled with technical mistakes. During Wednesday’s practice, numerous situations came up that assured Swinney his team would get better from the tape.
“One of the things I love about this scrimmage here is when we do the situational scrimmage, we get a lot of work. We need the work on these situations and you get exposed. Because you have to process, you have to think,” he said. “But it was good. We got better as a team today. We have a lot we can teach from and learn from on this tape.”
After talking to many players, one thing was very clear. A much more competitive atmosphere was felt all through the offense.
“I definitely think it went a lot better than yesterday’s practice,” Hyatt said. “Definitely more competition today. Finally being back full-go was a lot nicer, being able to be out there and lead from out there, instead of on the sidelines just watching them.”
Throughout fall camp, the defense seems to be a steady unit. Returning seven starters from last year’s National Championship team defense, they are expected to have one of the best defensive units in 2017. Some speculate that this will be defensive coordinator Brent Venables’ best defense yet.
Some players are buying into the hype.
“People wouldn’t be saying it for no reason,” Mullen said. “It’s up to us to prove them right. Like I said, we all just go out there, listen to what he says, be attentive to the details, and do everything with technique and physicality.”
Thinking realistically, Joseph knows that this defense has the potential to be one of the greatest to come through Clemson. But he also understands that in order to make it to that point, you have to put your head down, work in the off-season, and prove it on the field.
“It could,” Joseph said. “It always could be every year. So we have to go out and prove it.”
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