Aug. 17, 2011
CLEMSON, SC – Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney looked at Wednesday’s situational scrimmage in Death Valley two different ways.
First, he said his offense looked good. Especially quarterback Tajh Boyd, who completed 10 of 15 passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns.
“Offensively, things went really well,” the Clemson coach said. “That is probably as clean, crisp and well executed offensive scrimmage I have seen since I have been at Clemson. I’m just very, very impressed with what we did on offense today.”
Swinney says the offensive focus was outstanding. There were very few penalties, and Boyd managed the offense the way he and Offensive Coordinator Chad Morris want him to at this point.
“That is the second scrimmage in a row in which he has had no turnovers,” Swinney said. “He is doing a great job of taking care of the football and managing the game. We really threw and caught the ball well also.”
Clemson center Dalton Freeman said it was nice to have a bounce back practice after the bad outing they had on Tuesday.
“We came out and had a really good practice. It was probably our best practice of the year,” the All-ACC candidate said. “Everybody was very focused. It was probably the most focused I have seen out of us – throwing and catching and we did a great job up front.”
Running back Andre Ellington had another solid performance, as did tight end Brandon Ford, who for the second straight scrimmage caught a touchdown pass.
“Everybody picked it up today and it seemed everyone was more focused,” Ford said. “We came together as an offense in the locker room and said `We have to pick it up today.’
“We knew we had to bring it. We had to do better than what we did last night and even on Saturday.”
Freeman credited Tuesday’s subpar practice as getting over the hump of fall camp. With just one day off since practice began on August 5, he said the squad lost focus for a day.
“We are right in the middle of camp, and we have been on the grind for what seems like two years,” he said. “Everybody is kind of hitting that wall, but we have to push through it.”
The defense hit that wall for a second straight day according to Swinney, who says a product of a good offensive day in practice is a bad defensive performance.
“That usually means things weren’t very good defensively,” he said. “And that is the case. We had a few guys out today. Brandon (Thompson) could not go today, and Rennie (Moore) didn’t go either. (Bashaud) Breeland was out and Quandon (Christian). Those are some of our energy guys. They bring a lot of energy to practice.
“What was disappointing is that some of our depth did not pick up and that is one of the biggest challenges we have as a team right now. We have depth, we can line them up. We have a bunch of names, but dependable depth is a whole different deal. That’s the challenge right now, building that dependable depth.”
Besides the offense, Swinney was once again pleased with his kickers, especially Chandler Catanzaro.
“He continues to really be money,” Swinney said. “We had a two-minute situation, and he hit the game-winner there.”
Breeland missed the practice with a neck strain, while Thompson was out after a hard hit to the head on Tuesday. Christian has a sprained ankle and Bellamy a shoulder injury. None of the injuries are considered serious.
The Tigers will practice tonight and then again at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday. Practice is closed to the public. Clemson will host Fan Appreciation Day on Sunday from 4:30-6:30 p.m.
By Will Vandervort, IPTAY Media
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