Offense takes a step forward

CLEMSON - As spring practice begins to wind down, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney saw something Wednesday he has been waiting for all spring.

He saw his offense shine.

"We really took a step forward today," he said. "We ran the ball extremely well, threw the ball well, caught the ball well and had a bunch of big plays."

The Clemson offense had several big plays in the mini-scrimmage, including a 50-yard touchdown run from Rendrick Taylor after he broke a few tackles up the middle, while wide receivers Terrance Ashe, Jaron Brown and Kyle Johnson also recorded long touchdowns.

"We made some strides and we threw and caught the ball," Clemson offensive coordinator Billy Napier said. "We made some plays and we converted some third downs. We kept some drives alive."

Napier, like Swinney, says he has seen a lot of growth in the offense over the last couple of weeks and as the Orange and White game approaches on Saturday, he feels it is starting to find its rhythm.

"I see guys that want to compete and want to be good players," he said. "I see young players though and experienced players. At the same time I'm pleased with their attitude and their work ethic.

"As an offense as a whole we made strides physically just from a toughness standpoint and the ability to play hard and practice hard on a consistent basis. We still have a ways to go, but when it comes time to put our best 11 out there and go play, we will be in good shape."

Swinney says from a system standpoint, in addition to a tempo a toughness standpoint, his offense is getting where he wants it to be.

"We have taken steps forward in all of those areas," he said. "We have gotten great work from the quarterbacks and I'm excited about what we have there. I think we have gotten some answers at running back. It has been good seeing all of those young guys get that work.

"Up front, offensive line-wise, we are much improved. Much much improved. I'm very proud with what Coach (Danny) Pearman and Coach (Brad) Scott have done with those guys. All of those guys are buying into what we want to do."

Overall, Swinney says the offense has built a good foundation for the offseason before getting back together to potentially be a good football team in the fall.

"The good thing is we have created a lot of competition this spring," he said. "It has kind of been an open house out there this year and we are looking for winners and we are looking for players. We are looking for guys that want to play the right way with the right mentality and I think we have a lot of guys that are buying in to that."

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