Dabo had this to say in his presser before Napier's interview with the media.
"We did some good things in the scrimmage in spots but as I told the team afterwards, it was real obvious we've got a long way to go. There's a lot of work that's got to be done. We're plyaing a lot of people and there's not a lot of continuity yet because we've got a lot of competition going on. That's what today was about - personnel. We wanted to focus in on who's our first and second group. We play three weeks from this Saturday, so we still have three and a half weeks to go.
"We're pleased with a bunch of things that I saw. I thought effort was good for the most part. We did get a little tired at the end and I thought it was sloppy. But we had some flashes of some good things on both sides of the ball, but the biggest thing that was most evident is that we've got a lot of work to do, no doubt about it.
"The defense is definitely ahead of the offense, which isn't that surprising this time of year. This could be a pretty salty bunch. You put the attack defense out there and the swarm defense out there and sometimes I can't tell the difference between the two. And that's a good thing. There's not a lot of drop-off with whomever's going out there first and second. I was scratching my head a couple of times. We've got good personnel on the defensive side.
Remember ATTACK and SWARM are the names he has given the 1s and 2s respectively.
"I think they've bought in to what we're trying to do defensively. Coach Steele and the rest of the defensive coaches have done a great, great job of coaching details and effort and getting those guys to pursue the ball. I just think they're a little bit ahead right now. They've got an expansive package from a blitz standpoint and so forth. We saw a lot today and I thought the defense looked like they were a little further along.
"Offensively we mixed and matched the personnel a little bit. At all positions we had some guys take some reps with the first and second-team offensive line and same thing at quarterback and running back. We didn't have the continuity we wanted but did show some flashes. Kyle Parker made a good TD pass earlier in the scrimmage to Durrell Barry off of play action.
"I'm pleased with C.J. and what we got out of him today. The same thing with Rendrick. He ran hard today and did some good things at tight end. The effort was great. Jamie Harper, again, I think he's going to be a special player. Those are the guys who kind of jumped out at me. And Thomas Austin and Chris Hairston, those two guys are pretty good football players for us up front.
This seems to indicate that Hairston is having a much better august than his spring.
"I'm still a little disappointed in our snapping. We had a bad snap in the red zone area where you just can't have things like that happen. We had some really poor penalities and misalignments and off-sides. I think guys got tired and got sloppy towards the end. We'll have to definitely improve from that.
Nothing pisses us off like a F'd up snap. Its fundamental.
"At wideout, first of all I'd say Michael Palmer - and I know he's a tight end - had several good catches today, really nice catches. Durrell Barry had a couple. The guy that jumped out at me at wideout was Jaron Brown. He's just getting more confident every day. He looks like the guy we thought he'd be when we recruited him. I'm really excited about him. Brandon Ford made some good catches today. Now we did have some drops, unfortunately. We've not been having a lot of those in practice. That was disappointing.
"Overall, a lot of work to do. It was our first scrimmage. We'll grade the film right now. We've got a lot of mistakes to correct. If we'll come back Saturday and improve upon what we did today, we've got a chance.
"Richard Jackson kicked the ball well today. I think he was four or five, but he missed an extra point. That's very frustrating. Spencer Benton did not have a very good day, so it has kind of been up and down with our kickers. I'm just looking for someone to be consistent day in and day out. Right now we're not quite there. Richard had the better day today. Tomorrow it may be Spencer.
"Kyle executed with the ones and twos when he was in there. Tajh Boyd came in and did a really good job with our third group. He's still got a lot to be able to process to where he can play faster as far as managing the game, but man, he's really got some tools. And I think all those freshmen - as I look at them - I think we hit on every one of them. Obviously we didn't sign but 12 guys, but I think we hit on all 12 of those guys. All of them have bright futures here at Clemson. I'm excited about that whole group."
Q. Talk about the lack of focus you're referring to.
Dabo. "Pure mental mistakes. Early in the scrimmage we were okay, but we're playing a lot of guys. We've got to give guys an opportunity to compete this year. Some guys can handle more and some can handle less. All of a sudden penalties start mounting up when you have three different units that are playing. From a head coaching standpoint, heck, it's hard to ever be happy. If the defense plays really good, you feel good about that, but then your offense didn't play well. Toward the end we mixed it up a little bit. We went with the attack defense against the purple offense. The biggest thing I would say is mistakes, stupid penalties. We had a couple of guys with their heads not in the game, a tackle line up in the backfield, a young player, a couple of off-sides, we had a couple of holds, we had a penalty in the kicking game, just some things like that. Defensively I think we were off-sides twice but did a good job with the pressure today. I've got a quick whistle out there when it comes to blowing it on sacks, but some of those you take away. We've got to cut down on mistakes and be more efficient on both sides of the ball and try to start focusing in on our personnel a little bit more.
Q. Did any of your quarterbacks move ahead?
Dabo. "We've got to watch the film. We've got 114 snaps of football to watch. I've got to get in there and see reads and checks at the line and progressions and decision making and all that stuff. I really can't answer that right now."
Q. What were your overall impressions of the offensive line?
Dabo. "At times really good. At times, really poor. There were a couple of tackles for losses on first down where guys were not cutting off the backside, and that's just technique and effort. That was disappointing. And again, we did sub some guys with our first group just to see how some guys would respond in that environment. But I think we're going to be ok. I like the competition at center. I think we've got a good competitive situation there. Dalton got some reps with the ones today and he didn't respond well early but then came back and did a pretty good job at times. Antoine McClain is what you're looking for. I think he has had a very good camp. The same thing with Austin and Hairston. I'm just excited about that group of guys. I'm still a little concerned at right tackle. Landon is doing some good things and then Cory does some good things, so it's a competitive situation there, but overall we're getting better up front. We're trying to get that next unit a little bit better and we have a ways to go there."
Q. Did you see any big collisions or anything that really stood out to you?
Dabo. "Oh man, we had some big hits in the secondary. Sadat (Chambers) early in the scrimmage really rocked Terrance Ashe and knocked one loose. It would have been a heck of a catch but it was a better hit. He ran through him well. Kavell Conner in short yardage broke through and hit Rendrick right in the mouth and I mean it was a great, great hit. And that was a real competitive situation. We finished with short yardage today. Kavell Conner has had an outstanding camp. He has been the best linebacker over there as far as being consistent and just doing a great job for us defensively.
"All those defensive linemen caught my eye today at some point. Two or three of them caught my eye for the wrong thing too at some point, whether it was Da'Quan coming inside when he should have contained. But most of the time when I saw No. 93 it was something good happening. The same thing with No. 7. His get-off is unbelievable. There's not many wideouts who can get down in that stance he can get in and get off the ball with that explosiveness. He is set to have a great year. Kevin caught my eye a couple of times, Jarvis Jenkins made some explosive moves at times and Brandon Thompson is a load. He's a neck player. You just put him in there and then bad snaps start happening after you put him on the neck of that center. Miguel Chavis showed up. Rennie Moore showed up. I didn't know who was the first or second group. They had them playing and mixing and matching them and I couldn't see any drop-off in production. That's pretty exciting right there, but there were also some boneheaded things they did we can improve on. I didn't see a lot of loafs from the naked eye.
Q. You said that a good test for Ricky would be when you put the pads on. Sounds like you don't have any reservations about him given his performance today.
Dabo. "A+. He passed. A+. There aren't many guys in the country better than him as far as being able to rush the passer and the speed and quickness he can play with, along with the leverage he knows how to play with. He is a cat out there."
Q. Did Alexander play at linebacker today?
Dabo. "No. He played mostly all in.
"We've got a couple of packages where we'll stand him up. He has stood up at times in some of our odd-packages, but not necessarily playing linebacker. You can call it what you want, a 3-4 scheme or whatever. He's still been at the bandit. But we'll have a couple of packages as we continue our installation."
Q. You must think that each quarterback has a higher celing and you're trying to push each to that, so how and when will you know?
"That's what we get paid to do. We evaluate every drill, come in at night and watch every practice tape and we're keeping a scorecard. Everything is evaluated. Every group period. Every team period. Every scrimmage. You have to look at the big picture. You don't want to make a decision based on one setting. You're trying to give them ample opportunities to compete but I do think at some point we have to start establishing more continuity and get ready to play, but we're not quite there yet. It's still been pretty competitive. I'm anxious to see the film. But when we know, that's when we'll know.
"Instincts is a big part of this game. No doubt about it from a coaching standpoint. But I think this is a situation that's very measurable based on a lot of information, video, precise data. I think we'll be able to make a good decision. Whatever decision we make won't be a final decision. Whomever runs out there first, you still have to produce. Whomever is still on the sidelines is a pretty good player. It's just the nature of it. You can name a starter, but then that guy has to be productive and lead the team to wins."
Q. Is it in the best interest of either one of them to name one the starter now? Could they handle that?
Dabo. "I think it's best for the team and for everybody involved to know who's going to be starting versus Middle Tennessee. You want to have the opportunity to prepare as the starter and whomever is the backup has to prepare as the backup. At some point, that will have to work itself out. After one scrimmage and having not seen the tape, I'm just not ready to say this guy is ahead."
A starter really does need to be named sooner rather than later, for the sake of continuity at the position and gel-time with the 1's.