Thoughts from Saturday's 2nd Scrimmage

Full 2nd Scrimmage Audio

By all accounts today the offense lit up the defense pretty soundly and exposed problems with depth in the LB corps and tackling. The offensive line pushed people around for a change and Hot Rod continued having his electric fall camp with 130 yards rushing. Looks like we'll have 3 solid backs to run with in a couple weeks, if the OL keeps it up. After the scrimmage McDowell really praised his linemen for opening up the big holes and getting him those yards. He has definitely responded to Swinney's challenge after Spring ball.

Steele did say that the D allowed only 2.3 ypc aside from two long gains, and was happy with the first string. 2nd team needed to show significant improvement and had serious problems getting off the field on 3rd downs. At least DMac is ready: he knocked Ashe out and Clear last week.

Kyle Parker threw three touchdowns passes, two to running back Andre Ellington, in Clemson's two-hour scrimmage in Death Valley on Saturday morning. It was the second major scrimmage for the Tigers, who open against North Texas on September 4.

Parker completed 10-14 passes for 170 yards and three touchdowns. He led the first-team offense to four touchdowns overall. Red-shirt freshman Tajh Boyd completed 9-17 passes for 63 yards and two scores. Senior Mike Wade was 2-3 for 85 yards, including a 45-yard touchdown to freshman wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.

Roderick McDowell led the rushers with 12-127 on the ground, including a 12-yard touchdown run and a 53-yard run early in the scrimmage. Freshman Demont Buice had 10-36 on the ground, while Ellington had 5-24 rushing and 2-46 receiving.

Terrance Ashe led the receivers with five catches for 76 yards, including a 44-yard completion from Parker. Hopkins finished with 4-52 receiving and Marquan Jones added three catches for 52 yards and a touchdown from Parker. Freshman Joe Craig had one catch, but it went for 40 yards. Tight end Drew Traylor had two receptions for 15 yards, including a touchdown pass from Boyd.

 

The defense was led by Brandon Maye, who had six tackles, including a tackle for loss and a diving backwards interception from his linebacker position. Jonathan Meeks, Marcus Gilchrist, Quandon Christian, Tig Willard and Daniel Andrews all had three tackles apiece. Kourtnei Brown and Miguel Chavis had the only two sacks, while Mallicah Goodman had two pass deflections at the line of scrimmage.

"The defense gave up some big plays. It looked like there were some busts on defense, but good offenses will make you do that and I think we have a good offense. The defense got much better when we were in the redzone part of the scrimmage and they defended the two-minute drill well. They also stopped the offense on a fourth-and-inches situation."

The defense played without starting cornerback Byron Maxwell, who was in Bamberg, SC to attend the funeral of Dennis Bowers, the father of Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers. Maxwell is Bowers roommate at Clemson. Bowers is expected to return to Clemson on Monday. The defense was also without the services of linebacker Scotty Cooper, who has a shoulder injury.

Bryce McNeal, who had suffered a sprained ankle in Friday's practice, played in the scrimmage on Saturday. Coty Sensabaugh was also back after missing Friday's practice with a sprained foot.

Paul Strelow suggested his top 3 stockrisers so far in camp were Hopkins, Traylor, and either Darius Robinson or McDowell. It is really Traylor's improvement that should be praised, as we need a dependable 2nd TE more than the other guys. Still, we've heard many stories of Spring/August successes before. Like most of you, I will believe it when I see the production in 3 weeks.

The biggest worry that hasn't been talked about is the kicking game. Richard Jackson still can't get his head on straight and Chandler Catanzaro, who may have the weakest leg, is the one hitting the kicks so far. None of the 3 competing did a good job today, missing 5 of 6 (Benton and Jackson mostly). Yay Andre Powell. Catanzaro seems to be pretty straight inside 40-45, which is enough for me to give him the job.

As far as what to think here about the offense whipping the D, theres not much you can say definitively. In the first scrimmage the defense should always whoop up on the offense. Defense is more intuitive and players can just play rather than worrying about where they are and what to do, but offense requires repetition to get execution down. The offense should be able to hold its own by the 3rd scrimmage for sure. The fact that they did so well today could be because the defense had tired legs (as Steele suggested), the loss of Bowers and Maxwell, or because Parker and the OL just had it this weekend. The problems with tackling and depth at certain positions is very concerning but tackling can get fixed, and only experience can help with the depth.

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