Clemson coach says defense has a lot of work to do
The early returns on Clemson’s defense from the first scrimmage of fall camp this past Saturday were good. Defensive coordinator Brent Venables and head coach Dabo Swinney seemed to be pleased, especially with the way the defense ended the scrimmage.
However, once the coaches got in the film room their opinion changed a little. Swinney said on Monday that defensively, the Tigers “have a long way to go” before they get better.
“We have a bunch of guys that are playing hard, but there are just way too many mistakes,” he said. “It is just not winning football, right now.
“But that’s what Saturday was about. Let’s stick a thermometer in there and let’s see where we are.”
Swinney says they will turn the heat up on some players, some guys are right on schedule and some guys they need to turn it down a little bit.
“I don’t want to overcook it,” Swinney said. “So, that is kind of where we are. We needed to get an assessment and we did.”
The Clemson coaches spent Saturday night and Sunday teaching and correcting the players on their mistakes.
“There was a lot of teaching. A lot of correcting because guys need to see it,” Swinney said. “They need to see what they have to improve on. Then, they have to be coachable, and they have to take ownership.
“We are so far from winning football on Saturday, that it is not even funny.”
Swinney admitted they were playing a lot of guys and there a few players that were held out of the scrimmage.
“We are nowhere near game ready,” he said. “The effort was fine and all of that. But there were just way too many mistakes. It was sloppy football.”
Tuesday will be a big day for the Clemson football team. Swinney said the morning practice will be all situational football and there are lot of things they have to cover. He said there are about 35 plays scripted for each group to get on tape.
It will all be live work (tackle football) and then they will come back Tuesday night with a walkthrough. Wednesday will be another day of installation and then Thursday they’ll have another scrimmage, which will be their last full scrimmage of fall camp.
“This is a big week for us,” Swinney said. “We got a lot of installation we have to continue to get in, things for the big picture. But we need to get better. We have to grow our team this week and we have to get into this next scrimmage and then we have to start making a few decisions.”
Swinney’s said they will lighten things up a little bit on Friday and then the team will have Saturday and Sunday off to rest and recharge. They will then come back and begin game preparations for Georgia Tech next Monday.
“This is a big week. It is a big week,” he said.
No separation at defensive end. Swinney said there is no separation at all between his five defensive ends right now. He said they all do things well and there are things they miss. Some guys rush the passer well and others do a better job against the run.
He said a decision on who might be the starters may not be decided until they start playing games.
Right now, Swinney and Venables have both said Xavier Thomas, Logan Rudolph, Justin Foster, K.J. Henry and Justin Mascoll will all play, and they are all co-starters at this point.
Jaelyn Lay upgraded. Swinney said freshman tight end Jaelyn Lay was upgrade to a green jersey on Monday and was able to participate in individual drills. As for fellow freshman Davis Allen (ankle), he is still being held out of practice. Swinney still has no update on when he can start practicing with the team.