Dabo Swinney's mind is in the trenches as Tigers tackle first major scrimmage

'This film is going to be really critical for us and critical for a lot of these players as far as the depth chart and where they are now'

Clemson Football - Marion Hobby

Photo by Mark Crammer

Clemson Football - Marion Hobby

Dabo Swinney will have his mind in the trenches today when the Clemson football team holds its first full-scale scrimmage of the spring.

Rebuilding the Tigers’ offensive and defensive lines is the No. 1 priority for spring drills, and Swinney is anxious to see if the progress he’s seen during various workouts over the Tigers’ first eight practices will translate into consistent performance in a live game setting.

Asked where his focus will be when the Tigers line up Monday, Swinney answered simply, “the trenches.”

“Is (left guard) Kalon (Davis) going to perform the whole day or is he going to be an every other series kind of guy?” said Swinney. “Is he going to endure and be the consistent player that we need him to be? He’s a player that I’m really anxious to see.”

He said that developing reliable depth on the offensive front is a priority, as well.

“I want to see those back-up guys,” Swinney said. “Is Ryan Norton ready to be a viable player for us? Shaq Anthony and Isaiah Battle are two players that need to get better so it’s going to be a big day for them. The trenches are going to be a big day in my eyes.”

Swinney said it’s “the same thing on the defensive line.”

“Who’s going to separate: Josh Watson, Tavaris (Barnes), DeShawn (Williams), Grady Jarrett?” said Swinney. “Those are four guys that have kind of emerged as the top four. Are any of those guys ready to separate?”

At defensive end, Swinney said he’s looking for Corey Crawford to show that “he’s going to have his motor running every play and become a dominant guy? He’s been the back-up to the guy (Andre Branch) and now he’s the guy. Is he ready to be the guy?”

Swinney said that everything the Tigers have done on the practice field over the past three weeks has been pointing toward Monday.

“I’m really excited,” he said. “This whole spring has been building toward that first big scrimmage. Monday will be the first time that it’s not a situational type deal and you just play. You play ball. Everybody is off the field. You get a good gauge of where they are.

“There are six practices left, and this film is going to be really critical for us and critical for a lot of these players as far as the depth chart and where they are now.

“Right now it’s a moving chart. Sometimes it changes daily and it even changes during practice. That’s good in that we’ve got a lot of competition. Now I’m anxious to see us play.”

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