Tanner Muse has a good explanation as to why Clemson’s offense got the best of its defense in Saturday’s first stadium scrimmage of fall camp.
“I feel like we weren’t as aggressive as they were today and hats off to them,” the safety said.
Clemson’s offense scored a lot as Kelly Bryant, Chase Brice and Trevor Lawrence each threw touchdown passes. In all, the Tigers had 13 explosive plays—play of 20 yards or more—in the 106-play scrimmage. Of those 13 plays, nine came by way of the passing game.
Wide receivers Tee Higgins, Amari Rodgers, Diondre Overton and freshman Justyn Ross all made big plays in the passing game.
“They were just getting up and making plays,” Muse said.
To top it off, the defense did not force a single turnover on Saturday. Not the kind of start they were hoping for.
“Everything was clicking like it should but we were just hurting ourselves,” Muse said. “If it was third-and-long we would jump offside. We were just hurting ourselves today, that was the main thing.”
Of course part of the problem can be contributed to the secondary’s lack of depth in the scrimmage. Starting boundary cornerback Trayvon Mullen was absence from the scrimmage as he had to attend a funeral, while freshman cornerback Mario Goodrich sat out the day due to a groin injury.
Up until Saturday, Muse said the secondary has played well in practice, especially at cornerback.
“We’ve done really well as corners in the spring. I think we had three or four guys that were go-to guys and now we’ve got five or six which is really good to see,” he said. “We’re putting more guys in the first group. We are such a downfield team so guys get burned out and then they have to go again and again, so we really needed that depth.”
Before getting hurt, Muse says Goodrich has been impressive. The same was said for freshman Kyler McMichael. The coaches were hopeful the two corners would be ready to go when they got on campus last month and so far that has been the case.
“They have a lot of speed and they’re physical,” Muse said. “Trayvon Mullen and A.J. Terrell are really physical guys, too. That is something you can’t really teach. You can teach and help with the footwork and help with the eyes, but if they are physical, you really can’t teach that and it is good to see.”
Muse was glad to be back playing at Death Valley Saturday, but he knows the defense needs to be more consistent and perform better when they play in the stadium again this coming Thursday for the second big scrimmage of camp.
“It’s kind of the elephant in the room though, everybody knows that we did bad today,” he said. “But, it was good to just get out here and do some different things situationally, and just get a feel of the new guys and how they are going to react.”
Clemson will resume practice later this afternoon on the practice fields behind the Allen Reeves Football Complex in Clemson.