As of right now, the Clemson coaches don’t see an Isaiah Simmons on its defense, but then again, they will tell you they didn’t see the Isaiah Simmons Clemson fans have come to know early in his college career, either.
“We don’t yet, and we didn’t know that with Dorian [O’Daniel] or Isaiah, either. Sometimes, it just takes a little while,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. “I think we have a lot of candidates that we have to figure out and how it is all going to work out.”
So far Mike Jones has been one of the bright spots in camp. Swinney indicated the redshirt sophomore looks different this year in the way he moves, his confidence, his awareness and is playing really fast.
The coaches have also been pleased, though it is still early, with freshman Trent Simpson (6-3, 225), too. He is still trying to figure things out, but they like the way he moves and how is responding to all the information that is being thrown his way.
“So, we just have a lot of guys that we have to navigate. That is part of our job this spring, too, as we try to figure some of these guys out,” Swinney said. “Right now, I don’t see an Isaiah Simmons, but again, I did not see him early, either. We had a long way to go with him and Dorian. Dorian did not start until, what, his fourth year? Redshirt junior? It took him a little while to become that, but, I think, we have plenty of talent and we will figure it out. That is what we do.
“Ultimately, no matter what, we are going to have to get that third corner guy. I think that is an area we can get a little bit better as a team and have a true third corner guy that can get in there and play some nickel. Like we did with Ryan Carter and some of that. We really didn’t feel like we had that last year and we really did not have to, but I think that’s an area [we can get better]. But right now, we are trying to get a second corner, but we got a MASH unit going on. They are just kind of all [banged up].”
Swinney is of course speaking about how Mario Goodrich (ankle) and Andrew Booth (knee) have both missed practice due to injury.
The Tigers return to the practice fields for practice No. 8 this spring today and Wednesday before taking off for spring break.
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