Signs of progress

CLEMSON - There aren't many cornerbacks in the country that will receive a positive review from their head coach after facing Sammy Watkins.

Dabo Swinney had some good things to say about Martin Jenkins after Friday's practice.

"[Jenkins] looked great today. Really, I thought, did a good job of matching up with Sammy two or three times," Swinney said. "We all know what Sammy is capable of doing, so it was good to see [Jenkins] back out there."

Jenkins has been limited for most of preseason camp while dealing with an arthritic pain in his rear end. It's unrelated to the sports hernia that forced him to sit out the entire 2012 season.

"He's been pushing really, really hard, getting a lot of competitive work, gt some scrimmage work," Swinney said. "But today was probably his best day. He did a little bit of everything. I thought he looked great in 1-on-1s, skele and team pass. I'm very encouraged by what I saw today.

"But how's he going to respond tomorrow? We'll see. But, again, the big thing with him is where he is mentally. Right now, he feels really, really confident, because he's physically feeling better."

Defensive coordinator Brent Venables weighed in with thoughts about players at each position on his side of the ball.

Defensive Tackle

"I like the group. I think it's a pretty solid group. Those five guys have shown that we can with. You'd like for some guys to really separate. Grady [Jarrett] has been the most consistent. It's a good group of guys that have kind of proven their mettle. It's probably the deepest position that we have."

"We don't have that big-time 3-technique. We're still trying to develop that, but I think we're really solid inside."

Defensive End

"I think there are a number of guys, including Shaq Lawson and Kevin Dodd. Ebenezer [Ogundeko] is fighting to get into that top four or five d-ends as well. That competition is still playing itself out."

Linebacker

"Out of the reps we've taken [Stephone Anthony's] probably been the most consistent guy [at middle linebacker], for sure. He's had a very good fall camp."

"It's been a maturation that you saw happen in the out of season, going into spring and coming out of there through the summer and fall camp. [Anthony] picked up and continues to show improvement."

Safety

"I wish we had some more quality depth there, with experience. We've got young guys. [Robert Smith and Travis Blanks] have been pretty consistent."

Cornerback

"Bashaud [Breeland], Garry [Peters] and [Martin] Jenkins, those guys have played well, and Darius Robinson. Some of the young guys -- Adrian Baker has been banged up, so he's been out. Marcus Edmond has done some good things. He's going to be a good player, in time."

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