The right stuff

CLEMSON - Like any head coach, Dabo Swinney just wants to see some consistency from his football team.

Though it is too early in the spring for him to expect those kinds of results from the entire team, he is starting to see some from his quarterbacks.

In a mini-scrimmage Wednesday beside the Jervey Athletic Center in Clemson, Swinney liked what he saw from all three of signal callers Willy Korn, Kyle Parker and Michael Wade.

"I thought they operated pretty good today and managed the scrimmage," the Clemson coach said. Swinney also said no quarterback stood out over the other at least from what he saw at practice.

"There is nobody separating," he said. "It is still very, very competitive through five practices. This was our first scrimmage type situation.

"You try to give them some equal opportunities. We are still in a very competitive stage at this point, but I'm pleased. We are in a very good situation. I think we have good players there."

What Swinney likes the most from the three is the intangibles each one brings to the field, especially their different leadership skills.

"I like the leadership intangibles and all the other intangibles that are present in our quarterbacks," Swinney said. "I think they have the right stuff. I'm pleased with them. They are not game-ready yet, but it is very competitive and we will see how it goes from there."

GETTING HIS KICKS: Swinney says he is still more concerned with other positions on the team than quarterback and one of those positions is placekicker. However, his concerns were eased up a little bit on Wednesday when he saw some improvement from both Spencer Benton and Richard Jackson.

During special teams drills, Benton made 3-of-4 kicks, including one from 46-yards out. Though Jackson struggled during that session of practice, he did redeem himself at the end when he kicked a situational game-winning kick.

Benton, who broke his collarbone in a snowboarding accident during spring break last week, also made his field goal in the same situation. He had surgery last week on the shoulder and Swinney joked that he was still a little bit medicated during Monday's practice.

"We had him out there Monday and we did not know the doctors had him on some valium," Swinney smiled. "We did not quite know that, but we got him off the valium today and he kicked the ball pretty good."

LOOKING GOOD: Swinney was very pleased with the play of his defense Wednesday, saying they were right on track.

He pointed how that unit forced a turnover and how safety Sadat Chambers leveled wide receiver Brandon Clear to jar the ball loose on what looked like a sure touchdown.

"That is something we like to see," Swinney said.

The coaching staff was also pleased with what they saw out of the defensive front. Swinney cited the play of guys like Jamie Cumbie, Da'Quan Bowers, Kevin Alexander and Jarvis Jenkins.

PLEASE CATCH IT: The one area of the field where Swinney was not happy was at wide receiver, where he said Clear, Xavier Dye and Terrance Ash all dropped passes. He also said tight end Michael Palmer dropped one as well.

"We have to be able to throw and catch the football," Swinney said. "We had some drops from a lack of concentration."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think we have the makings to be a good team. The other thing is we are a long way away from being a good team. We have a lot of work to do. That's very obvious." — Dabo Swinney on his squad after five spring practices. Top Stories