Dabo Swinney had mixed emotions coming out of the team’s second and final scrimmage Thursday at Memorial Stadium.
The Clemson head coach said both the offensive and defensive first teams dominated the day and their depth is not in a good place with just two weeks before the season opener against Georgia Tech.
However, Swinney was complementary of many freshmen and sophomores, including tight end Jaelyn Lay and left tackle Jackson Carman. He is confident his team has the pieces to put together a successful run this season.
Swinney on what he was pleased with on defense during today’s scrimmage
“(Justin) Mascoll got banged up early and Justin Foster was out today, so we didn’t have a lot of depth at defensive end. I thought those guys showed up. K.J. (Henry) made a couple of plays, Xavier Thomas made some plays, Logan (Rudolph) was active until he got banged up and was out, so just not good depth. I thought Nyles (Pinckney) and Jordan (Williams) won the day. They gave up a few plays, but then they dug in and (the second team) couldn’t finish. It was good to see the defense get settled in and make the plays that they needed to make to stop the drive.”
Swinney on who impressed him on offense
“Our one offense, the orange team, had some big plays and the swarm had them a couple of times but just couldn’t hold them. I think our first group up front has the chance to be pretty good. I’m really pleased with them all-around. We have some backup guys that are really going to be able to help us too, but that first group has really done a nice job. Travis Etienne probably had his most extensive day today and he really needed a good workday like today. He made some nice plays and had a couple of touchdowns. Lyn-J (Dixon) had a good day and it was good to see him make a few nice cuts and progressing.”
Swinney on Freshman Jaelyn Lay
“Probably the most-improved player from the spring that we haven’t talked a whole lot about is Jaelyn Lay. That doesn’t mean he’s Dwayne Allen just yet, but from where he was in the spring, he’s definitely going to be able to help us. I’m really pleased with him. He’s playing with confidence, catching the ball, has made some tough catches, and is playing fast. He’s still a work in progress and that’s a very difficult position in our scheme, but he is much, much improved, which is a big shot in the arm for us because we are going to need him.”
Swinney on Jackson Carman’s progression
“He has had a great camp and has really matured and grown up. It’s amazing what a difference a year makes for some of these people. Young people just transform when they get serious about it and he’s just a different guy in every aspect. He’s worked really hard over this past year and I’m really proud of him. He’s just showing up on time and early, doing the extra, is strong, and is probably one of the smartest players we have on this team from a football IQ standpoint.”
Swinney on Freshman Davis Allen
“We’ve been waiting to get Davis [Allen] back. Davis has been doing everything mentally and has been able to walk through stuff but is just waiting for them to cut him loose to where he can physically go do it. It’s a shame he had to miss camp because he’s probably a guy that’s going to have to help us and I’m hoping that he can. Until we see him do it full speed, it’s going to be hard to be sure, but I think he’s got the right mindset and we will see.”
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