First-Team offense, defense dominate scrimmage
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney changed things up for Clemson’s final full scrimmage of fall camp on Thursday at Memorial Stadium in Clemson.
Wanting to get more of a sense of where his depth was at from a competitive standpoint, the coaches had the first-team offense go against the second-team defense, while the second-team offense went up against the first-team defense.
The result? Clemson does not have the depth it desires at this point.
“Right now, we just don’t have enough functional depth,” Swinney said. “We are talented. We have some good-looking guys getting off the bus and some talented guys that can run around, but just dependable, functional, accountable football players … We have two weeks to get ready, but right now, today, we would not play a lot of people.”
Swinney said his first-team offense and defense really exposed the Tigers’ backup players and let them know where they are and where they need to go.
“I always tell them that when we put a guy in, they don’t call timeout to take Travis Etienne out,” he said. “It does not work that way. You have to be able to go in and be able to play to a standard. We have a Clemson offense and a Clemson defense. So, when you go into a game, you have to be able to do your job.
“Today was a day when the first defense really dominated the second offense and the first offense dominated the second defense. So, the good news is our first groups had a really good day. The bad news is our depth did not perform like we needed to.”
Some of the standouts from the scrimmage was Etienne, who Swinney said had two touchdowns. He said quarterback Trevor Lawrence was Trevor Lawrence, the wide receivers again made big plays and tight end J.C. Chalk had four catches in the scrimmage.
On defense, Xavier Thomas and K.J. Henry both made plays at defensive end and Jordan Williams and Nyles Pinckney continued to make plays at defensive tackle. Outside linebacker Isaiah Simmons and cornerback A.J. Terrell also had good scrimmages.
On special teams, Swinney was pleased with kicker B.T. Potter who again had another good scrimmage and has been the most consistent kicker all through camp.
From an injury standpoint, Swinney said linebackers Baylon Spector and Jake Venables both missed the scrimmage with hamstring injuries. Tight end Davis Allen again missed the scrimmage with a foot injury. Defensive end Justin Foster did not play, while Justin Mascoll was injured during the scrimmage.
Backup center Cade Stewart (ankle) also missed the scrimmage, while reserve left tackle Blake Vinson returned. Cornerback Derion Kendrick missed the scrimmage to attend the funeral of a high school teammate.