Clemson's defense steals show in first scrimmage

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Clemson's defense steals show in first scrimmage

Postby Chief Whoa » Sun Mar 28, 2010 3:46 pm

CLEMSON — The first-team quarterback was hundreds of miles away, playing baseball.

His replacement was playing his first scrimmage in Memorial Stadium.

And it was the first full scrimmage of spring practice.

Given those conditions, you can probably guess the results of Clemson's football scrimmage Saturday morning inside Death Valley.

The Tigers' defense dominated, holding the offense to two touchdown drives — neither longer than 25 yards — on a cool, windy day.

“We lacked effort at some times, we didn't play as hard as we could have,” said tight end Dwayne Allen, whose 23-yard touchdown catch was the day's highlight. “Defense definitely won the scrimmage. And it's the first scrimmage; the defense will normally have the upper hand.”

With No.1 quarterback Kyle Parker in Virginia with the Tigers' baseball team, Dabo Swinney and Billy Napier handed the offense's keys to redshirt freshman Tajh Boyd. Boyd has been the No. 1 while Parker concentrates on baseball.

He is considered the program's quarterback of the future, but Saturday he looked like the freshman he is, completing 7 of 14 passes for 52 yards and the touchdown pass to Allen. Early on, Boyd forced passes into double and triple coverage and had several near-interceptions.

As the scrimmage wore on, he settled down, completing his last four passes.

“He's a freshman, the first time out here in this environment, going with the first group, against the first group he pressed a little bit early,” Swinney said. “He's got to trust what he's coached to do, not just pick a guy out and throw it. He's got to read, get his eyes on the right things and understand progressions.

“But he got better as the scrimmage went, settled in a little bit, and he's just going to get better. I'm not worried about Tajh Boyd.”

Boyd said he wasn't awed by the stadium environment.

“It was OK, for the first scrimmage,” he said. “I'm starting to see a lot of improvement in myself. And we've got a lot of time till the first game.”

Clemson's defensive line consistently got penetration into the offensive backfield; Andre Branch and Kourtnei Brown combined for five “touch” sacks (quarterbacks were off-limits).

Three lost fumbles by tailbacks didn't help, either.

“The guys in the orange jerseys were prepared and mentally ready to go today,” Swinney said of the defense. “They just showed a little more toughness and executed a little better than we did offensively in the white jerseys.”

Defensive familiarity made life tough, too, Allen said.

“We used our motion to confuse the defense, and the defense motioned with us,” he said. “That had us confused and it went along with us not giving as much effort. If you don't know what to do you can't play hard.”

Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele sounded far tougher to please than Swinney. The defense made three of four red-zone stops, but Steele seemed more focused on the one offensive win.

“You can know what's coming and you still have to execute,” he said. “I thought for the most part we wanted them to be nastier and to play tougher and hard-nosed. We have to consistently do better there. Learn to dominate your opponent every snap. We made some progress there. We tackled well for the most part, had three poor leverage angles on tackles. As a whole there was pretty good tackling and we were very efficient in third down.”

With Parker away, senior Michael Wade — who has spent time at safety this spring — ran the second team offense. He was solid, completing 8 of 13 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown, a 22-yard scoring strike to Xavier Dye, a former Byrnes standout.

Dye hauled in another 32-yard catch from Wade, leading all receivers with 54 yards. Freshman Bryce McNeal had three catches for 44 yards, and Allen had 37 yards receiving.

Jamie Harper led the ground game with seven carries for 44 yards; Roderick McDowell had 14 carries for 28 yards and Andre Ellington had nine carries for 17 yards. ... -scrimmage
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Re: Clemson's defense steals show in first scrimmage

Postby Total Dominance » Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:58 pm

The defense better carry their weight because I will be shocked if Mr. Parker is back for another season. With his baseball ability, it will be hard to turn down the kind of money his talents will demand.

10 state championships (’71, ’81, ’91, ’96, ’10, ’11, ’15, ’16, ’17, ’18)
and counting...

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