Dabo impressed with Clear, defense

CLEMSON - Head coach Dabo Swinney met with the media Monday after the Tigers returned to practice.


Opening Comments: Everybody is back. That's always a blessing because you worry about that with young people riding all over the place. Spencer Benton didn't make it back very well though. He went snowboarding but broke his collar bone. He's still trying to kick but it should heal pretty quick. Everybody else made it back.

Thoughts on the wide receivers: Inconsistency is the biggest thing. It's a young group. Talented group. I'm excited about getting them better everyday- that's why you practice. Really really encouraged with Brandon Clear. He stood out today. [Terence] Ashe jumped out. Marquan [Jones] made a couple of nice plays. Pretty obvious who the senior is out there. He was pretty electric. I think he caught a touchdown pass on the second or third rep.

We are making progress but still have a long ways to go. We are committed to being a balanced football team. We have to throw and catch. There are going to be games where we have to throw it for 300 yards. There will be some where we have to run it for 300. The good news is we have good players. They are young- but that's not an excuse. [Xavier] Dye has been here for a long time. It's time for him to step up. Ashe- same thing. Marquan is an exciting player. There's no shade over in Death Valley. We'll have some guys ready to play.

Comments on Mason Cloy at center: He's gotten better. We really need him to come through for us there. First day or so he was a little inconsistent but he played center in high school and he's starting to get his groove back again. Dalton Freeman is another guy who has jumped out at me. He's got a chance to be in the mix.

Is it wait and see for Mason at center? No it's not wait and see. Now is the time to do it. He's played center and we recruited him to play center. We know he can play guard but we need him to be the guy in there. We know Thomas [Austin] can play center. Dalton Freeman is coming on. Ben Ramsey is a solid guy in there and we will get Barry Humphries back. That's a critical position for us. Real pleased with Mason at this point.

What did you see in that final day before spring break? Defense is obviously a little bit ahead. Seems to me those guys are starting to communicate really well. That's the one thing Coach Steele talks about all the time. They are starting to buy into that. Kevin Alexander is a guy that we really feel like is one of our best 11. He's been a real pleasant guy for us this spring. Jarvis Jenkins is a guy that is standing out. Very pleased with Kavell Conner. He's a football player.

We need our linebackers to multi-task. DeAndre McDaniel- tremendous instincts. Love what we are getting out of our corners. Offensively- it's a competition like we'd thought it be. Outstanding candidates, battling for a job. The offensive line- Antoine McClain- he's just a different guy. He moves like a different guy. Talks like a different guy. Much more confident. Still disappointing in our kicking situation. Now Spencer has a broken collar bone. Richard Jackson had a good day out there today.

Comments on Jamie Harper and Andre Ellington: Jamie has gotten serious about being an elite college athlete. He has gotten his body in great shape, at 224 pounds now. He's moving well and catching the ball extremely well. He's just a different breed. We don't have another guy like him. Andre is another guy who's cut out of the same mold as C.J. [Spiller], great hands, and can do a lot of different things and will have a huge role for us. He's got that homerun ability. He's on his way to being a great player. I'm so glad we red-shirted him. He's a tough, small guy who plays big.

How has Da'Quan Bowers looked? He'll be a little inconsistent at times. He's still a freshman. We're trying to coach that out of him a little bit. He had a sack out there today. He's a guy we're counting on to be one of those great players. Some guys just have God-given talent to be a great player, and he's one of them. Da'Quan has greatness in him. That's what we expect and I know that's what he wants to be.

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