Tiger Defense Dominates Scrimmage

Joe Robbins

Clemson conducted their 2nd scrimmage on Monday, and by all accounts the defense dominated the show. Some folks are going to worry that the offense isn't clicking at all, but note that Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins both played sparingly and the offense was led primarily by Stoudt and Kelly. Even with that in mind, it's still encouraging that the defense won. Usually defenses will win the first scrimmage because offense is based on rhythm and timing, while defense is more intuitive. That they won this one gives me hope for serious improvement next season on that side of the ball.


Stats are inflated in scrimmages, and sacks are touch-only, but here is the release from CUAD:

Vic Beasley had four quarterback sacks and Grady Jarrett added three to highlight the play of the defense in Clemson's stadium scrimmage on Monday afternoon. The Tigers are preparing for the annual spring football game this Saturday at 4 PM at Memorial Stadium.

Beasley has been a dominant force from the defensive end all spring after collecting eight sacks in just 288 plays as a reserve during the 2012 season. But, he is first team player now and put pressure on the quarterbacks the entire day.

ne of the quarterbacks he did not pressure was All-American Tajh Boyd, who played just the first four snaps of the scrimmage. Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney decided to give Cole Stoudt and Chad Kelly the majority of the work on Monday.

The defense had 14 sacks and 18 total tackles for loss to go with seven pass deflections and an interception. It should be noted that quarterbacks could not be tackled and quarterbacks were considered down when just touched by a defender.

Still, Head Coach Dabo Swinney was pleased with what he saw. "I know I have a good offense with good players and good coaches, so to see the defense play as well as they did today was good to see. I will sleep tonight. The defense played with a fire and intensity today, really the entire scrimmage. Our defensive line was dominant from the first player to the last."

In addition to the performance by Beasley and Jarrett, D.J. Reader had a strong scrimmage with five tackles, including two sacks and three total tackles for loss. DeShawn Williams had two TFLs and a blocked FG. Linebacker Kellen Jones had five tackles, including three tackles for loss. Garry Peters had the only interception of the day and returned it 21 yards. Spencer Shuey was the top tackler with six. Linebacker B.J. Goodson had three passes broken up.

Cole Stoudt completed 10-18 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown. His touchdown pass was a seven-yarder to freshman Germone Hopper. Kelly completed 7-15 passes for 78 yards. He threw a 49-yard touchdown pass to Charone Peake, who turned a screen pass into a big play. It completed a 99-yard drive for the offense, the only long drive of the day.

Freshman walk-on Nick Schuessler of Grayson, GA completed 4-9 passes for 72 yards, including a 40-yard completion to Daniel Rodriguez. That play set up a five yard touchdown run by George Johnson.
D.J. Howard was the top rusher in the scrimmage with 5-39, while Zac Brooks had 11-24. Howard also had two touchdowns in the short-yardage portion of the workout. Rod McDowell had 4-17.

Jordan Leggett, a 6-6 tight end from Navarre, FL who entered Clemson in January, had four catches for 56 yards. Stanton Seckinger had 4-42, and Martavis Bryant had four receptions for 28 yards. Sammy Watkins played sparingly and had just one catch for five yards, as Swinney gave most of the action to younger wide receivers. Adam Humphries had two receptions for 32 yards, including a 27-yard reception from Boyd on the second play of the scrimmage.

Swinney:

"That was just a butt kicking today. It really was, I wish I could paint a more balanced picture, but the defense was pretty dominant. To be honest with you, that's good. I know our offense is going to be outstanding. I don't have any doubts about that. To see our defense line up and perform consistently and do it with three different groups was equally impressive. From my perspective, that is good. I know our offense is going to be fantastic. I was pleased with consistency, and I was pleased in particular with our defensive line."

On Boyd playing so little

"That was the plan, we wanted to hold Tajh back and let those other guys get the majority of the work, and I don't think we responded it very well. I think defensively we wanted it a little bit more, and they even blocked a field goal. We will have another scrimmage on Wednesday, and I am sure this offense has a lot of pride and we will see how they do."

Venables:

"I liked our attitude that we came out with today. They played with an edge, toughness, played with effort. The first three-fourths of the scrimmage was pleasing from an effort standpoint and attitude. Then it was pretty inconsistent after that in some situational stuff. I like the direction that we're heading."

On Vic Beasley, who is not yet an every-down End

"We'll see. It's still a process. I think he's getting better, he needs to continue to add weight and strength, but I think he has shown that he's capable of making some plays. It's [run defense] good. It has been solid. He still like everybody has to continue getting better. He plays with good leverage, knows how to use his hands, and understands gap control. If he can play with discipline that way- that's the biggest thing- not getting nosey and putting his head where it doesn't belong. He's making improvement."

Steward was given a crash course at SAM with QC out sick

"Quandon didn't play because he was sick so we had to move Tony out there. Some of our non-scholarship guys that are backing up there aren't there because they are injured. We moved Tony out there and he did pretty good. I didn't find out about Quandon not practicing until this afternoon so we kind of gave Tony a crash course about the strong-side position. It was good."


Hopefully Steward can stick here and make a serious push on Christian, making them both much better.

Clemson's offense has been tweaked in the offseason, though I don't see this as a cause for the problems in this scrimmage. We know that Clemson's offensive staff went to Arizona State to collaborate on the offensive systems during the last week of February. The Chad has taken on some different nomenclature than we've reported here in the past on his offense. No longer are plays given easy names, but now numbers. For example, he would call the 42 Counter Trey something like "Colorado" before and now it's just given a single number, "42". Chad thinks this will speed up the offense even further, giving us an additional 5-7 plays per game over the 2012 average of 81.69.

Chad: "We want to go fast with it, we want to cut the verbiage down, and it will make us less predictable. If you do the same thing over and over, you won't get the same results because you become predictable. It will also help out with the way people scout us. The way this business works, it will take some of that away. People will have a hard time keeping up with us."


"I want to mix things up and keep them on edge a little bit. It keeps guys on their toes and they are forced to learn a little bit. I think it is something you have to do. They need to think out there"


"It's really hard to explain without giving too much away. Guys are forced to learn that one thing they have known, it may still be that but it is also something else. It allows me as a playcaller to go faster, and force these guys to go faster."


This is not something new, just new to Chad Morris, and I know that Malzahn has done similar in his system. I can't confirm that Arizona State does it, or if Oregon does it, but I know that high tempo systems in general have low verbiage and simple nomenclature to make it easier for the players to pick up.


- CU will host a the 3rd and final Jr Day at the Spring game, and it's a tiny group so far for 2014. The headliner would be DT Dexter Wideman, who at this point is a sign-and-place at best. WR Trey Quinn, RB/Ath C.J. Fuller, RB Adam Choice (cousin of Tashard Choice), LB Korie Rogers, and RB Stanley Williams will all be in attendance. In addition, commits DeShaun Watson, Oglesby, Smith, and Hearn will all be there

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