Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was a little more pleased with the overall performance of his defense in Tuesday’s situational scrimmage at Death Valley.
He reported the Tigers’ run defense was better, the secondary played better overall and they got pressure to the quarterbacks and had more sacks and tackles for loss than they did in last Saturday’s scrimmage.
The defense forced two turnovers, one which was returned for a touchdown by safety K’Von Wallace.
However, they are still not where they need to be in order to be a championship team and right now, with 16 days to go before the season-opener against Georgia Tech, no one has earned a starting spot.
“Right now, we don’t really know who are (number) one defense is,” Swinney said afterward. “So, we kind have a lot of different combinations and we are also experimenting ourselves as coaches and trying to challenge ourselves to a few things.”
Swinney said the unit overall is solid, but he will not say they are the 1985 Bears just yet.
“We are progressing,” he said.
Swinney said there are position battles all over the defense right now. There are battles at safety, battles at corner and battles all across the defensive front.
“We got battles everywhere,” he said. “Nobody has a job.”
DK likely to be punt returner. Swinney confirmed after the scrimmage that Derion Kendrick will likely be the Tigers’ punt returner when they start the season against Georgia Tech.
Kendrick, who is playing cornerback, has missed the last week of practice due to a hamstring injury. He is expected to practice on Wednesday.
“Again, we need to see him a little bit more, but most likely it will be him,” the Clemson coach said.
Swinney said Will Swinney has done well, but freshman running back Michel Dukes had caught his eye with punt returns in practice. Senior safety K’Von Wallace has also worked out at punt return.
Freshmen decisions. Swinney said they will likely not make decisions on redshirting freshmen players or not, or at least with some of them, until the season starts.
“There are a few guys when we come out of it where we say, ‘Okay, these guys are going to be on the bubble for a little while,’ and then we will go from there,” Swinney said. “We will know exactly who is going to play. We will have some guys we know we are going to redshirt and then we will have some other guys that ‘Hey! Let’s just try to keep bringing them’ and let’s see what happens here in a few weeks in.”