Off to a good start

CLEMSON - The first of three spring practice scrimmages is now in the books. Dabo Swinney breaks down what he saw on Wednesday afternoon.

"A lot of good things, a lot of good things," Swinney said. "I saw some guys make some nice plays. I thought our quarterbacks were solid. I thought Cole [Stoudt] was incredibly confident. Chad Kelly made some nice throws.

"I think the backs ran hard. Zac Brooks, D.J. [Howard] and Hot Rod [McDowell] all had some flashes."

The Clemson offense has gotten most of the glory over the last two years, and for good reason. School and conference records have been broken, shattered and torn to pieces since Chad Morris brought the hurry-up, no-huddle offense to town.

As for the Tigers' defense, things haven't gone as swimmingly during that time. But Swinney did see some progress on Wednesday.

"The thing I was probably most pleased with was defense," he said. "We get thin quickly as we're rep them -- we rep three groups -- a lot of guys are going. We get thin real quick when we get into the second group."

Swinney added, "The thing that's most exciting is how much further along we are this first scrimmage than we were last year at this time, in the first scrimmage, defensively, in particular, up front.

"Night and day, just night and day, I mean, just night and day from where we were in the first scrimmage last spring."

Handing out grades…

Swinney was asked how he would grade the team's performance through the first half of the spring. He gave the coaching staff an A.

"The work ethic and toughness that we're coaching with, I'm very pleased with all of that," he said.

No letter was assigned to the players.

"I would give our team a very, very high grade, too, in that they're responding," Swinney said. "You're a mixed bag when you don't have the continuity. We're mixing and matching on the offensive line, a lot of different guys in and out. The quarterbacks are mixing and matching. We're doing a lot of different things.

"From an execution standpoint, we're nowhere near an A. But, as far as the process that we're in, halfway through, I'm very pleased. I think the guys have come everyday with a good attitude, a good work ethic. That's all you can ask for, at this point."

Up next…

The team will be off on Thursday before returning to practice on Friday. Next week, they'll practice on Thursday and Friday.

The second spring scrimmage is scheduled for a week from Monday, on April 8. Like Wednesday's, it will be held inside the stadium and closed to the public.

Saturday, April 13 the annual Orange and White spring game is scheduled for a 4 p.m. kickoff. Top Stories