Wednesday’s second scrimmage of the spring was a mixed bag for Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney. On one hand, the Clemson offensive played well, while on the other hand the defense did not.
Though he wants to watch the tape before he puts a stamp on it, Swinney feels there was not much improvement from the first scrimmage of the spring on March 14 to Wednesday’s 91-play scrimmage in Death Valley.
“I think the intensity was not what it needed to be today,” he said afterward. “I did not think the body language was not quite what it needed to be.”
On defense, the Tigers were not quite where they need to be.
The defense gave up eight plays of 20-plus yards, while also having mental breakdowns which led to penalties and other things.
Offensively, there were a couple of turnovers, the quarterbacks hung onto the ball too long and were sacked seven times. There were also penalties.
Swinney blamed some of the miscues and the lack of execution on the Tigers’ long spring break.
“I think some of that is a product of them being off for nine days and kind of getting back in,” he said. “That is probably the biggest thing. But it is what it is. You have to be ready to go.
But (the scrimmage was) just okay. It was okay. It was not terrible.”
There were some good things in the scrimmage. Quarterback Kelly Bryant threw four touchdown passes, and the offense had seven overall. Bryant hooked up with Amari Rodgers for a 65-yard score, while Rodgers also had a long kickoff return and a 20-yard punt return as well.
Running back Travis Etienne rushed for 81 yards, while his backfield teammate, Tavien Feaster, had three total touchdowns.
Overall, Swinney felt the offense’s tempo was better than their previous practice.
“Today was a little better than Monday, but today the tempo was at times better,” he said. “We are just getting that ingrained in these guys and just coaching it every single day. There were some moments where we had two really good two-minute drives, which were good to see with the first group and the second group.”
As for the defense, it gave up a lot of big plays. However, there were a few bright spots, too. Seven different players recorded a sack, and redshirt freshman cornerback LeAnthony Williams had a 30-yard interception return, two passes broken up and three tackles.
“It was good and bad,” Swinney said. “We had our ebbs and flow. I think the offense came out and started fast and I thought the defense finished better than they started. There were a lot of big plays today. It was kind of feast or famine that way.
“We either did not do a lot or it was a big play. We did find the end zone today probably more than we have in quite a while in a scrimmage. It is just consistency. It is the same thing defensively. We come out of the gate and line up offside and then we jump offside and give up a free play, a big play for a touchdown. There is a lot to evaluate.”
Clemson has five spring practices remaining, including the Spring Game on April 14 at 2:30 p.m. at Memorial Stadium. Admission is free.