Johnson’s, Turner’s improvement allow Tigers to have more flexibility in secondary
Through the first 10 practices of fall camp, reserve safeties Denzel Johnson and Nolan Turner have really come on. In fact, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney says the two have done so well, it has allowed the Tigers to try some personnel changes in the lineup.
Coming into camp, safety, especially its depth, was a major concern for the Tigers. And though it still is to a certain extent, Johnson and Turner have at least eased the coaching staff’s worries somewhat.
With Johnson and Turner both gaining some trust, Clemson’s defense coaches can now cross train K’Von Wallace at the nickel position, allowing Isaiah Simmons to drop back and play safety, giving the Tigers a fifth safety.
“It gives us a lot of flexibility, just like we have up front,” Swinney said following Tuesday’s situational scrimmage at Death Valley. “We have multiple guys that you are confident in. That is the biggest thing. Denzel and Nolan are just playing with more confidence.
“They are just earning trust.”
Swinney says Turner is a fast, athletic safety that has great instincts for the game and physically is in a good place as well. It’s the same thing with Johnson.
“His confidence has grown,” Swinney said. “He just keeps playing faster. He is a very fast, athletic, young guy. He is strong. Now, the game has slowed down a little bit for him too.”
The Clemson coaches are really excited with what they have seen thus far from all of their safeties, but with Johnson and Turner now elevating their play, the secondary has gotten a little bit stronger.
“I feel really good about what I have seen there,” Swinney said. “And then, adding Isaiah that gives you five guys that legitimately can go play safety for you. That’s not moving somebody else. If you had to, we can always take a corner to get through. I like what we are doing right now.”
Clemson will continue practice today at Jervey Meadows in Clemson.