Swinney evaluates Clemson’s spring at midway point

Swinney evaluates Clemson’s spring at midway point


Swinney evaluates Clemson’s spring at midway point


Clemson concluded the first half of its spring football slate with a scrimmage inside Memorial Stadium on Wednesday.

Both sides of the ball had their moments. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney mentioned a touchdown catch by Cole Turner on a well-placed ball by Cade Klubnik, but the defense also produced some points on freshman defensive back Shelton Lewis’ pick six.

Swinney has now had seven practices to start making evaluations on his 2023 team. So far, he hasn’t found much to complain about. Even the effort level from his players has been consistent, which Swinney said isn’t always the case when going through the grind of preparation.

“I’d say we’re ahead of where I thought we may be at this point,” Swinney said. “Going in with a lot of new people. Obviously doing some things new offensively. Not really philosophy wise but systematically a little bit and some terminology. Stuff like that. Getting everybody on the same page, and they’ve done a great job. Coaches have done an awesome job. Really, really pleased with where we are right now.”

While the defense is entering his second season under coordinator Wesley Goodwin, most of the outside attention on the Tigers has been focused on the offense. Players have spent the first seven days getting acclimated to first-year coordinator Garrett Riley and vice versa, but Swinney said he’s encouraged by the unit’s ability to pick things up quickly while keeping the mistakes to a minimum.

“I’m really pleased offensively with what we’ve done,” he said. “We’ve put a lot in. We’ve actually been able to get a lot done. And probably the biggest thing is, procedurally, we’ve been really clean.

“It’s been good just to see us get things installed, see the guys catch on to what we’re doing and having some fun. It’s been a good spring to this point.”

Swinney has also been able to get an extended look at some of the newcomers. With seven scholarship receivers out this spring as well as starting offensive linemen Marcus Tate and Walker Parks, the opportunity for some of the younger players further down the depth chart has been greater on the offensive side of the ball.

But Swinney said it’s been hard not to notice Clemson’s crop of highly touted incoming freshmen along the defensive line. Swinney said early enrollees Vic Burley, Stephiylan Green, TJ Parker and Peter Woods are “as advertised.”

“We’ve got a lot of good players out here,” Swinney said. “It’s good to get some of these young guys and get the some work. I’m really pleased.”

The team will hold meetings Thursday before splitting for spring break. Clemson is scheduled to resume practices March 27.

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