How did the quarterbacks perform in Clemson's final scrimmage?

How did the quarterbacks perform in Clemson's final scrimmage?

Football

How did the quarterbacks perform in Clemson's final scrimmage?

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Clemson’s quarterbacks weren’t perfect today, but head coach Dabo Swinney was generally pleased with what he saw out of his signal callers in another game-like setting.

With the Tigers holding their second and final full-scale scrimmage of preseason camp inside Memorial Stadium, Clemson saved the bulk of the reps for their top three quarterbacks. Hunter Johnson rotated in at times as the Tigers’ No. 3 quarterback, but it was another important evaluation of D.J. Uiagalelei and Cade Klubnik on a day when Swinney said the passing game was purposefully emphasized.

“I thought they both did some really good things, and then they both missed a couple of plays, too,” Swinney said.

Swinney didn’t share any statistics from the scrimmage but praised Uiagalelei’s overall execution as well the 6-foot-4, 230-pounder’s mobility. Swinney said Uiagalelei made “a couple of plays with his legs,” adding he’s making the kinds of plays in the running game that he wasn’t capable of making a season when he was roughly 30 pounds heavier.

“D.J., I  thought, played pretty clean procedurally and played pretty clean with his decision-making,” Swinney said. “He had one play he’d like to have back, but procedurally and all of that, he did a good job.”

As for Klubnik, Swinney said the true freshman had “a really nice big play” but also made one critical mistake without getting into specifics. He said Klubnik also held the ball too long at times, once when he took a sack in the red zone. Swinney chalked that up to what he called “purple-jersey syndrome” since Clemson’s quarterbacks aren’t live during scrimmages.

“Once he gets lit up a couple of times, he’ll get rid of it,” Swinney said.

But Swinney is learning to take the good with the bad when it comes to Klubnik’s athleticism at the position, which can also lead to the 6-2, 195-pounder either extending plays or making something out of nothing with his running ability.

“Cade, he’s a problem in the pocket because he’s really, really fast,” Swinney said. “And it’s just awesome because he can really create. It’s good for Clemson, but it’s also good for our defense to see some speed like that because he can really, really run. Thought he made a couple of nice plays with his legs today.”

The defense notched two interceptions that Swinney noted, one by Nate Wiggins and the other by fellow cornerback Toriano Pride Jr. One of them was thrown by Johnson as a result of miscommunication with a receiver, Swinney said.

But Swinney was largely pleased with the limited reps the Northwestern transfer got, too.

“Just him and the receiver not on the same page, but he has been really, really good all camp,” he said. “This is, top to bottom, the best (quarterback) room we’ve had of guys who can go play and win, so I’m really excited about the group.”

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