Q&A with Dabo Swinney
We caught up with Clemson wide receivers' coach Dabo Swinney after practice on Monday to get his thoughts on a number of topics, including how he's handling a number of new faces that should make an impact for the Tigers this spring.
What are some of your early impressions of Chansi Stuckey at wide receiver?
Swinney: I've been very pleased with him. Obviously he's got the tools that you'd want him to have as a wide receiver. The thing with Chansi is that he's got a real advantage because he knows the offense. So that part is real helpful from a coach's standpoint. He doesn't look at you like a deer in the headlights. He knows the offense; it's just learning the position part. He's coming a long good, and I think he's really going to be a special player for us before he leaves.
Are you surprised at how quick he's been able to make that transition?
Swinney: No, not at all. If he was moving from corner or some other position and didn't know the offense, it would be a little more difficult. But the fact is he understands the offense and what we want to do in the passing game. It doesn't surprise me at all.
Is the guy that really has to step in for Derrick Hamilton?
Swinney: Yes. Him and Baham are going to have to do that. Baham- his role is going to increase drastically. He's probably our best technique guy. Chansi will be a guy that has to touch the ball a lot of different ways like Derrick did. He'll bring a lot to the table as far as yards after catch, running with the ball, reverses, screens, and making plays downfield. He'll have to be the whole package by the time we play in September.
You've got Curtis Baham and Airese Currie coming back this year. Who do you view as the leader of this unit right now?
Swinney: Airese is a quiet leader. He had a great spring last year and a good summer, but he's not a vocal guy. He'll speak up every now and then, but Baham is very vocal. He's more of the vocal, get in your face kind of guy. They are both really good leaders I think. Curtis has a lot of confidence, he feels like he's the best player on the planet and that's good. That's what you need at this position. He brings a real dynamic to us.
Your thoughts on Chris Jefferson right now. Is he a guy that you feel like is ready to play?
Swinney: "I'm not ready to give him my endorsement yet, but I've been pleased with him. He's been working real hard in the weight room. Frankly, he doesn't even look like the same guy as did a year ago. He's going to have to play inside and out for us and I think he's going to be able to do it. He's getting stronger and he has really good feet, and that's one thing that is really important. It's been hard for him to play consistently fast simply because he's trying to learn so much at once."
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