Clemson defense picks six in back-and-forth scrimmage

The Clemson defense forced six interceptions, while safety Rashard Hall recorded three during the Tigers’ situational scrimmage at Memorial Stadium Wednesday morning. The two-hour practice was the first of two practices for Clemson on Wednesday.

“As the head coach you are never 100 percent happy when you walk off the field from a scrimmage,” Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney said afterwards. “If the offense does really well, it’s probably because your defense stunk and vice versa.”

Swinney says Wednesday was one of those days when there was a lot of good on both sides. Reserve running back Roderick McDowell continues to have a good camp as he rushed for more than 100 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown run.

“Our playmakers made some plays on the offensive side today,” Swinney said. “I thought we did some good things in the running game and all the quarterbacks had some hot moments and some cold moments.

“Today was a situational scrimmage. We were really trying to teach those guys and create that awareness.”

On the offensive line Brandon Thomas had one of his best practices of camp according to Swinney, while David Beasley, who played left guard most of the day, also had a good scrimmage.

“I was happy to see some guys respond and compete like I know they can,” Swinney said.  “They did not feel sorry for themselves. They went and really were accountable to their teammates.”

But as much improved as the offense was today, Swinney continues to be impressed with his defense. Besides Hall’s big day, Vic Beasley continues to impress at defensive end, while the defensive line as a whole was solid.

“Defensively, I continue to be impressed with what we are doing there,” he said. “We created turnovers today. Our secondary is very active and is getting their hands on balls. They are breaking on balls and we are tackling better. I’m impressed with that.

“We have a lot of competition at linebacker, and the area I’m mostly encouraged with is the defensive line. There is a ton of competition and a ton of hunger in that group. There are a lot of guys making plays at defensive end and at tackle.”

During the situational scrimmage, Clemson worked on short yardage, goal line, third-and-long, first-and-long, third-and-three, first-and-goal from the nine and the two-minute drill to name a few of the things.

“We are making sure that we are covering all the areas that we need to and getting enough reps out of them,” Swinney said. “I thought they competed hard.”

Swinney said the two minute drill is something they have to work on and improve upon offensively.

“We just started it a couple of days ago and we really worked it in three or four different situations today,” the Clemson coach said. “We just have to continue to work that. You just can’t get enough of that pressure and that situational thinking and understanding the timeouts, the clock and having that sense of urgency.

“We play fast all the time so it is not really an adjustment from a tempo standpoint, but from a management standpoint, coaches and players, you can’t get enough of that work so that is something we will continue to do because we have to improve.”

Photo courtesy of CU Athletics

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