Following last Saturday’s scrimmage, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney wished things were a little more balanced. The offense owned the day and that is not always a good thing for a head coach.
However, on Thursday, Swinney was much happier with what he saw, especially with his first-team offense and defense. This was the scrimmage where the coaches had the first-team offense go against the second-team defense and vice versa.
“Both sides had really good days,” Swinney said. “The defense was tackling, they did not give up any touchdowns. The first offense, I think they scored every time. There were a lot of guys from the second group that can grow a lot from this scrimmage.”
Co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said there were a couple of turnovers from the young players that came as a result of mis-communications. Two of those were interceptions by reserve quarterback Chase Brice.
“There are things we have to clean up, but overall the effort is good,” Elliott said. “They are competing, but we just have to get that second group to step up a little bit when they get their chance versus the ones.”
Elliott said all three of his quarterbacks—Kelly Bryant, Trevor Lawrence and Brice—looked good from his point of view. He called the plays from the press box. He said they are all competing, and it is hard for him to see any separation.
“For me being up in the box, you don’t even worry about which one is in there,” Elliott said. “They are all making throws and they are giving our guys opportunities on the deep balls.”
Though Elliott did not see much separation in the scrimmage, Swinney did. The Tigers’ head coach raved about incumbent Kelly Bryant.
“I thought Kelly had his best day,” Swinney said. “He had a great day. He had multiple touchdown throws. He had a really, really good day.”
Lawrence also had a good day. Swinney said the freshman missed on a few throws, but for the most part he was solid. He was especially pleased with how Lawrence handled the two-minute drill.
Brice did not have his best day and Swinney felt sorry for him a little bit. Brice threw one interception when a lineman missed an assignment up front and Brice’s arm got hit throwing the ball. The other came when a receiver ran the wrong route and the ball was picked off.
“I felt a little bad for him today,” Swinney said. “He made a great third-down throw that was dropped. It was kind of that day today for Chase.”