Tigers head into first scrimmage

Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables speaks to Clemson linebacker Ben Boulware (10) while the pair stretch during the first day of Spring practice on Wednesday.

Photo by Sefton Ipock

Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables speaks to Clemson linebacker Ben Boulware (10) while the pair stretch during the first day of Spring practice on Wednesday.

Clemson, S.C.— Dabo Swinney’s Clemson football program held its annual Coaches Clinic in conjunction with spring practice on Thursday and Friday. Nearly 400 coaches from South Carolina and neighboring states attended the clinic that continued into Friday evening.

Offense Practice Report - 3/28

Good eight days go into scrimmage

“This is a great opportunity for high school coaches to learn about the game and our program, but it is a give-and-take for two days,” said Swinney. “We learn from them as well.

“We have had some great speakers. Brian Billick, a Super Bowl Championship coach, did a tremendous job, as did Rich Bisaccia” Bisaccia is now the special teams coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys. He coached Clemson’s career rushing leader Raymond Priester during his Clemson stint, 1994-98.

Swinney worked his team for over two hours in front of the coaches attending the clinic. At the close of the workout he brought his team to midfield at the indoor facility and showed the group an overhead view of a pit crew from a NASCAR race on the television screen in the west end of the facility.

“Everyone has a job to do and is part of a team,” said Swinney to his team. “Everyone takes pride in what they do in that crew and it all comes together to get the car back on the track in a matter of seconds. It is beautiful to watch. That is teamwork.”

From a news standpoint, 2013 injured players Charone Peake, Kevin Dodd and Carlos Watkins have all been granted a medical red-shirt year. Clemson had filed paperwork with the ACC on behalf of the three players. Peake will be classified as a red-shirt junior, while Dodd and Watkins will be red-shirt sophomores in terms of eligibility for 2014.

Friday’s practice was the final workout before the team holds its first major stadium scrimmage of the spring on Monday. The scrimmage will be closed to the public.

Notes from the coordinators...

Defense Practice Report - 3/28

Not assuming anything with vets

- Chad Morris on reps for the scrimmage for the three quarterbacks: "They are all three going to get equal reps with the ones and twos. It’s going to be a fair assessment all the way across. We’ll come back in the following Monday and if one had a little bit more with the ones and reevaulate. Everybody’s going to get a fair shake in this thing."

- Morris said he has five guys in there on the o-line, but not five they are “solid” with. The rotations are still going on. “It can change every play.” Got nine or 10 in the mix, but is trying to develop “continuity.”

- Morris says sophomore wide receiver Mike Williams “struggled” early in spring practice, but has had a better week. “Far from” where they want him come fall. Not physical enough, “poor” in route-running.

- Brent Venables says he isn’t “assuming anything” with a veteran defense. Cited Josh Watson as an example of someone who had a great year in 2012, but not so much in 2013. One he's also looking for more from in 2014.

- Venables said he was “pleased” with senior linebacker Tony Steward’s progress. Says he’s capable of filling in for Spencer Shuey. Sophomore LB Ben Boulware is playing at MIKE and WILL and B.J. Goodson is doing the same.

- Venables identified a laundry list of areas he’s watching this spring: the secondary coming together, established MLB and WLB continuity, consistency in pressure upfront, health for Carlos Watkins and Josh Watson, improvement for the defensive ends, staying humble and overall chemistry. Says so far, “it’s been pretty good.”

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