During Dabo Swinney’s tenure as Clemson’s head coach, the defense will usually have the upper hand in the first scrimmage of fall camp
While that was the case a season before, it wasn’t on Saturday.
“Honestly, I kind of saw that coming,” Swinney said following Saturday’s scrimmage at Memorial Stadium. “It was very competitive. The defense did a lot of good things…but good on good. It was incredibly competitive.”
On the day, Wesley Goodwin’s unit created a few turnovers with both sophomore Andrew Mukuba and junior R.J. Mickens coming away with an interception. Throughout all three groups, Clemson’s defense had a few sacks, but Swinney was very encouraged by what he saw upfront from the offensive line.
“I definitely think the offensive line won the day in the trenches — which is good to see,” he said.
That paved the way for Clemson’s backs to have a good day. Clemson’s head coach said that he loved the way that his backs ran as they — Will Shipley, Kobe Pace and Phil Mafah — presumably made some big plays.
Clemson also had some big plays in the passing game, as Swinney was pleased with DJ Uiagalelei’s performance. The junior quarterback had one mistake, while Swinney said that Cade Klubnik also had one “critical mistake.”
All in all, Clemson’s skill players made plays when they needed to, with Swinney estimating that there was only one dropped pass during the two-hour scrimmage.
Swinney was encouraged by what he saw during Saturday’s scrimmage, but he described the feeling as a “double-edged sword” because Clemson played against itself in what has pretty much become a preseason game for college programs around the country.
“Very competitive day,” Swinney said. “I’m really pleased with the efforts. A lot on tape we can teach from if we can get better from it.”
Swinney wishes that the Tigers played someone else Saturday, but that won’t come until Monday, Sept. 5, when Clemson travels to Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta for its season opener against Georgia Tech.
Three weeks from Sunday, Clemson will be on the bus to Atlanta.
“We’re not ready to play right now, but I do think we’re headed in the right direction,” he added. “A lot of positive things. I feel really good about what I’m seeing in all areas. This is a bunch that’ll compete. It’s a physical group, but we gotta clean up some discipline things.”
While Saturday was “good on good,” there are still some things that Clemson needs to clean up.
There were a couple of penalties in the red zone. There was a big completion on third down that was nullified by an ineligible receiver downfield penalty and was obviously called back. There was also a fourth-and-inches situation where Clemson’s defense allowed a 40-plus yard touchdown run because they were in contain.
“There’s just a lot of discipline things that showed up (Saturday) that we have to clean up,” Swinney said. “The number one thing we talk about all the time is, ‘Don’t lose to Clemson.’ We’ll have a list of those things and what that means today.”
Come out to support Clemson softball at Dear Old Clemson’s second event which is set for August 27 at the Madren Conference Center. Clemson returns as one of the top teams in the nation and adds some new talent to the mix. If you sign up for certain club levels you get free access to all Dear Old Clemson events or purchase your tickets today at Dear Old Clemson.