Notebook: It was a tough day for Clemson’s freshmen

Notebook: It was a tough day for Clemson’s freshmen


Notebook: It was a tough day for Clemson’s freshmen


Clemson co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott spoke to the media following Thursday’s second and final full scrimmage of fall camp at Memorial Stadium. The Tigers’ coach was pleased with his first team offense but was a little disappointed with the way the second offense played.

Of course, the second unit went up against the first-team defense, which meant they had to deal with linebacker Isaiah Simmons, safeties K’Von Wallace and Tanner Muse, corner A.J. Terrell and defensive ends Xavier Thomas and K.J. Henry.

“One thing we have prided ourselves on in the past is having quality depth and it can’t drop off,” Elliott said. “It does not matter if you were the first one to run out there or the second one, the standard is the same. The second group did not have the consistency and the execution that we wanted to see.”

Here are few offensive notes from Saturday’s scrimmage.

*Young guys on the offensive line got a lot of reps due to some injuries. There was a lot of mixing and matching with some of those young linemen. Freshman Hunter Rayburn struggled at times going against Clemson’s first-team defense.

*Backup quarterback Chase Brice made a couple of bad decisions and had his worst day of fall camp. Elliott said the coaches are used to him making better decisions than he did on Thursday.

*There were a couple of drops by the wide receivers. The receivers also were part of Brice’s struggles. He missed a couple of throws because some of the receivers’ legs just were not into the scrimmage.

*Running back Lyn-J Dixon played fast and made a couple of good cuts. Elliott was pleased with the sophomore’s performance.

*Elliott said they still have no set third running back. Freshmen Michel Dukes and Chez Mellusi are starting to figure out what college football is all about and are struggling with fatigue and with all the installation that is being thrown at them right now.

*Overall, Elliott was pleased with reserved running back Darien Rencher. The Clemson coach wants him to just play within himself and try not to do too much. He said the junior flashes potential and has made some good plays. Elliott said he is very trustworthy in pass protection.

*Freshman tight end Davis Allen (foot) still is not ready to go in practice, but the coaches have been pleased with how engaged he has been on the sideline. Elliott said he has been able to go through the walk throughs in practice. They’re getting him lined up and put him through some fits. He comes from a really good football program and has a good football IQ. From a mental standpoint he will be where he needs to be, they just have to get him physically ready now.

*Freshman tight end Jaelyn Lay continues to have a good camp. Elliott and head coach Dabo Swinney both said he has made the biggest strides in camp. Lay had a good scrimmage on Thursday and understands all the different run fits. He is a lot more confidence and is catching the ball well.

*Tight end Luke Price, who moved over from linebacker in the spring to help out, can fill a position for the Tigers, Elliott said. He can catch the ball and he brings an element of toughness to the group.

*Freshman quarterback Taisun Phommachanh struggled with the motions and the protections in the scrimmage. Elliott said things are piling up on him. “Physically, he is gifted. He is very, very smooth. One thing you can tell when you look at him, he reminds you of Deshaun (Watson). He has a cool, quiet demeanor. Also, you can see he is a freshman too because the inconsistency of the offense is there,” Elliott said.

*Freshman Will Putnam has had to play some guard and tackle on the offensive line due to injuries and the same thing with fellow freshman Kaleb Boateng, who has also played guard and tackle.

Clemson will have an easy day of practice on Friday before getting the weekend off. It will come back Monday and start game planning for Georgia Tech, who comes to town on Aug. 29 at Death Valley. Kickoff is at 8 p.m. on the ESPN Network.

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