Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney praised his cornerbacks after the Tigers’ half scrimmage Wednesday, saying the position group has been “exceptional” in the opening five days of spring practice.
On the flip side, Swinney said the wide receivers have “a long way to go,” citing their inconsistency early in the spring.
“Just inconsistent. You go ‘wow,’ and then you go ‘crap,'” Swinney said. “We’ve got to get a few less craps, and a few more wows.
“So, just too inconsistent. But I love their work ethic, I love their want-to. It’s just a highly competitive play every single play when you’re going against A.J. (Terrell) and Trayvon (Mullen), Mark (Fields).”
Swinney used rising junior Diondre Overton and rising sophomore Tee Higgins as a couple of examples.
“Diondre had a big play today — great job, great release, great throw and catch for a touchdown — and then he comes back and he doesn’t make the next play,” Swinney said. “Just consistency, that’s what we’ve got to develop. That’s just maturity, it’s confidence. Tee, he had a great day the other day and not as good of a day today.”
Clemson’s coach is looking for the receivers to step up moving forward.
“We’ve got a long way to go, for me, for those guys to be what I know they can be,” Swinney said. “They’re special, special talents, but we’re not anywhere near as consistent as we need to be at that position.”
Tigers where they should be, if not ahead. The second half of Clemson’s practice Wednesday featured a situational scrimmage during which the Tigers did good-on-good work and practiced third- and fourth-down as well as end-of-game situations.
“We put them in a lot of different situations to see where we were after five days,” Swinney said. “Repping a lot of guys… We have a lot of guys that truly could go play today. I don’t have any doubt about it.
“But trying to give everybody the opportunity, trying to mix and match some of these guys. I threw a curveball to some of them and put them in a couple different situations that they didn’t think they were going to be in. You’ve got to be ready.”
Swinney likes where his team is at through the first five days of spring ball.
“After five days, I think we’re where we should be,” he said. “Probably a little ahead, actually, in some areas.
“But there was some good and bad on both sides. We missed too many tackles today. We were in good position, just didn’t wrap up. Not enough finishing plays outside on some competitive plays. We didn’t block very well on the perimeter. But again, some good things to get on tape, and now we can just coach. That’s the only way you’re going to get better in football is you just have to go play.”
The Tigers will hold their first full scrimmage of the spring next Wednesday.
“Today was a good step toward that,” Swinney said.
Quarterbacks were ‘fine.’ Swinney said the quarterbacks played “fine” during the mini-scrimmage.
Kelly Bryant, Hunter Johnson, Trevor Lawrence and Chase Brice all made some good and not-so-good plays, according to Swinney.
“It was a little windy out there today, but I thought they all had their bright spots, and they all had some they’d like to have back,” he said. “But that’s a fun group to watch, no doubt.”
Running backs a bright spot. Swinney called the running backs the bright spot of Wednesday’s scrimmage.
Adam Choice shined, while Tavien Feaster and Travis Etienne each performed well also.
“I really liked how we ran the ball today,” Swinney said. “Adam Choice was exceptional. All three had really good runs. I thought that was a bright spot for us today.”
Swinney updates status of Williams, Huegel. Swinney has loved what he has seen from tight end Garrett Williams, who suffered a torn ACL last spring and missed all of the 2017 season.
“I’ve been incredibly pleased with Garrett Williams,” he said. “He’s made some nice plays in the passing game. He brings a presence physically. He’s been a bright spot for us at the five-man. I’m very encouraged.”
Huegel, meanwhile, has progressed to doing one-step field goal kicking as well as one-step kickoffs after tearing his ACL in practice last September and missing the rest of the season.
“The ball was popping off his foot,” Swinney said. “He did some one-step kickoffs, and he’s back kicking some field goals. So that’s really good to see that as well. Very encouraged.”