Above is the new videoboard installed over the Hill, which will not be surrounded by sponsor ads. The two smaller boards across the field will not be surrounded by ads either.
Clemson had the first scrimmage of camp today and as I had hoped, the defense was ahead of the offense. This is the way it should always be for the first scrimmages. If it isn't, then the defense is going to suck hard. They still have given up too many big plays for comfort, but its correctable. What was disconcerting was the continued lack of success in short-yardage situations, which Dalton Freeman spoke about:
"I'd rather have third-and-7 than third-and-2 right now. I don't think it's the weakness of our offense. It's the weakness of our team. We've got to get it corrected. Schematically, we don't know what's going on."
"If you were to put our team on paper and just look at it and say, 'OK, this is the area we have to improve to be a championship-caliber team, I think that's the one area we lack more than anything else -- more than ball security, defense, whatever it is. I think short yardage has to improve for us to be a championship team.
"Some of it isn't our fault. They're going to shift over if we have a heavy formation and we might not have enough guys to block. But that's what I'm saying: We have to understand the big picture. Our guards and tackles and tight ends, everybody needs to understand the big picture. They can't just say, 'I'm going to have to step here and block this guy.' We've got to understand how the play develops, where it's going to hit. We've got to understand the big picture. I think that's all it is right now is just knowledge."
Sounds pretty damn familiar to me. Maybe the defense should remember that they're supposed to tell Dalton what they're going to do before they line up. What is also interesting is that Dabo said that Freeman did not play today in scrimmage so they could look at Norton, but both Freeman and Boyd said that DF did play, which Bourret and others have confirmed. I don't think they are just taking a longer look at Norton. Something is up. DF did not get time at RT.
- Much of the scrimmage was Pistol-formation, but was limited in the playbook. There were some wrinkles unveiled that i will not be publishing here, including usage of some things that were lightly ran last season.
- The 2nd team OL group was pretty bad as a group, but the tempo of the offense was good. No one I've talked to today was impressed with the OL.
- Tajh has some issues feeling pressure coming and threw one pick to Breeland on an underthrown ball to Nuk. His stats for today: 5-10 105 yards, 1TD 1 INT, 32 yd TD run, 56 yd TD to Jaron Brown. Chad Kelly 4-7 28 yards 1 INT, and really had more success tucking and running with it. Cole Stoudt 3-6 40 yards 1 INT. Morgan Roberts 3-3 56 yards
- Charone Peake looked good, running very nice routes and his speed has improved due to some offseason work. He finished with 3 catches on the day and 2 TDs.
- Lateek Townsend had a big day with 3 sacks from the SAM spot. He's still a bit reckless when he's not blitzing though. Some of that may have contributed to Joe Gore's bad day at RT. Timothy should be able to play in a month.
"Lateek made some plays," Venables said. "He’s not lined up right half the time, but we’re getting him squared away. He can be a problem for people."
- Interior DL has looked pretty good so far. We don't have depth, and maybe not enough mass on the starters, but so far it appears we'll be fine here. Jarrett's and Williams' motors are making up for a good bit. I'm not sure Crawford is really putting it all together just yet however.
- Oklahoma transfer Kellen Jones had 6 tackles and has looked really good so far. Its a shame he has to sit all year. We could use the depth.
- Venables on Steward today
"He feels comfortable in the defense, and I can probably say that from the first day. That’s a very positive thing. Taking reps for the first time, I thought he’d be super rusty. He’s been a little bit slower, probably, with top-end speed and being sure to take the run through and burst through blocks, stuff like that. But now you’re seeing that show up as well."
- Overall, the tackling was good and everyone seemed to know what his responsibility was on D. Tackling drills have taken up more time than before to stress this. In the Friday practice video at the 1-min mark you can see cut-blocking drills being performed.